Looking to get started in tech but not sure how? You’ve come to the right place.
Tech is red hot right now for many reasons. For starters, it’s an industry open to non-traditional education so it’s making high-paying jobs accessible to people from all economic and educational backgrounds. And as one of the most in-demand industries, it’s safe to say tech will continue to see more growth in the coming years.
Once you’ve mastered the skills to be job-ready and truly know your code, you can prepare yourself for a long and successful career in the industry by maintaining 4 simple professional development practices. Here’s how you can set yourself up for success in tech.
1. Learn the Art of Soft Skills
Soft skills can set you up for success (and apart from other job candidates) for a few reasons. Many tech jobs are what IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty calls “new collar jobs.” These jobs are highly specialized and, instead of requiring a traditional degree, emphasize technical and soft skills.
There are dozens of soft skills to master but they all mainly fall under the categories of communication, critical thinking, leadership, positive attitude, teamwork, and work ethic. Soft skills are uber important because they make everyday office tasks like collaboration and public speaking easier. They essentially make you a more effective, sociable, and employable person.
Like we said in our piece Why Job Readiness Matters in Higher Ed, soft skills are universal across the marketplace and help foster a harmonious work environment. As hiring managers have expressed concern over the lack of taught soft skills in higher education, bringing these skills to the table (and sharpening them on your own time) will make you an attractive candidate for jobs not just in tech, but in any industry. Soft skills are transferable so even if you end up switching to another field down the road, you’ll still be set up to succeed.
2. Stay Up-to-date on New Technologies
A successful tech worker knows how to keep updated with the latest and greatest technology and trends going on in the industry. You can do this by doing your own research regularly and following a quality, tech-dedicated news source. You should also be going to conferences and attending webinars and workshops hosted by both big and small players in the game. This will help you get a wide view of who’s doing what and, more importantly, who’s hiring.
Conferences provide a great space to network and get info about new trends to pay attention to as well as new skills and programs you should be learning. Staying up to date on the latest tech happenings will make you more prepared to pivot when something new disrupts the industry, so you can rest assured you’ll be ready to make moves when new business opportunities present themselves or if your current role becomes obsolete.
Need an aggregated news source to start? Sign up for our weekly email, The Byte, by scrolling to the footer of this webpage. Every Friday we’ll send you a free update with top stories, hot takes, and viewpoints from the industry.
3. Find a Mentor
As they say, it’s not always what you know, it’s who you know. To set yourself up for success in tech, it’s essential to talk to those who are already kicking ass and taking names (and doing whatever else it is you intend to do in tech). Mentors can help you get clear on your goals and make a game plan to get them done.
Kenzie is currently rolling out the #MakeTheHire mentorship program which will pair Black students with established professionals in our field in an effort to level the playing field and make tech more diverse and inclusive. #MakeTheHire mentors will meet with Kenzie students over Zoom, conduct mock interviews, connect mentees with industry contacts, and more. Having a mentor not only helps you expand your skills, it also puts another industry professional in your corner.
4. Become a Specialist
In higher ed, there are often differing opinions on whether one should aim to be a generalist or a specialist. Opinions on this are usually influenced by the field one teaches or works in. When it comes to tech, learning specialized skills can assist you in differentiating yourself from other job candidates. This is why many are skipping the traditional 4-year math degree in favor of shorter and more specialized programs like Kenzie Academy’s 12-month UX Engineering program.
Specialists are usually set up quite well for successful careers in tech. According to Botgence Founder Trust Onyekwere, “If you specialize in one field, and become a true expert at it, it’s a good path to a successful and profitable career, and you’ll derive professional and personal satisfaction from that.” When a job is highly specialized, there will likely be a smaller supply and greater demand so those who make a point to specialize in a particular area can generally trust their jobs are secure.
Are there any other tips you use to set yourself up for success in tech? Tag or message us @Kenzie Academy on Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook to share!