Top 13 Myths and Misconceptions About Pursuing a Career in TechReading time 10min
There’s a lot of misconception when it comes down to pursuing a career in tech.
Some might believe it’s an environment filled with introverts, geeks, and Sheldon Coopers, where only a certain amount of people can make it.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Actually, there are no constraints around the people who work in tech — from older people to folks spread all around the world with different backgrounds and certifications.
Some of them have always had IT skills and knowledge. Others had to learn on the go. Some pursued technical formation and boast a tech degree while others are self-taught, absorbing every piece of information they could at their own pace and discipline.
This is to say that making the switch to a career in tech is A LOT easier than most people realize. So many are doing it every day. And granted, if you have zero technical skills you might need to start from a lower level and make your way up. But it’s 100% doable.
After reading this post, you’ll learn the most common misconceptions about working in tech and understand what it’s really like in this dynamic industry that seems to be attracting everyone lately.
13 Common Myths About Working in Tech
Myth #1. The tech industry is overly-saturated
When it comes to professional demand, a tech career is like free ice cream in a children’s park during a hot summer day. It’s never-ending.
Think about it. As the tech Era progresses, the more AI, computers, data, etc, surround our work lives. Every company—from the huge, established ones to smaller startups—has a website and a virtual presence.
These companies care about security, data analysis, user experience (UX), and everything in between. And tech workers are the ones in charge of ensuring this all works seamlessly.
Myth #2. You need a special degree to pursue an estimable tech career
You think you need to go to a tech school to get your hands dirty and land a reputable IT job? Think again, my friend.
Another huge myth is that you need a Computer Science (or similar) degree to get your foot in the door—let alone land a job that will pay you well (let’s be honest, you’ve heard about the prestigious salaries that people working in tech receive).
Stack Overflow’s 2016 Developer Survey report found that 69% of all developers surveyed said they were at least partly self-taught, while 13% of respondents reported being only self-taught.
Myth #3. Tech jobs aren’t creative
For some strange reason, many people still associate technical jobs with not being creative. This is wrong in so many ways. Tech jobs are dynamic and about finding creative solutions to solve problems, while having the power (ahem, knowledge) to do it yourself.
From creating websites to apps to systems that improve a company’s workflow… there are plenty of opportunities to let your creative juices flow. In fact, some tech jobs are all about creativity, such as graphic designers, who play with logos, styles, and visual representations.
Some would even argue that it’s liberating to possess tech knowledge because you can turn all the ideas stuck inside your head into reality with your own hands, not needing to hire third-party developers to get you unstuck.
Myth #4. You have to be naturally gifted at computers
I know. Programming languages—even basic ones—such as Python, CSS, and HTML might all seem as foreign as trying to understand Greek (unless you know how to speak Greek, that is). Coding and data might seem like enough reason for you to decide you’re not cut out for a tech career.
But be honest, have you ever tried to actually learn how to properly understand and use a computer?
Listen, unless you’re some sort of secret science project created by Elon Musk, no one is born knowing programming languages. But those who do have to start somewhere.
The point is: you don’t have to be naturally tech-savvy to break into the tech industry. Just like learning how to drive or speak a foreign language, you have to start from ground zero and earn that knowledge.
Trust me, you’ll get better over-time if you dedicate time to actually learning it.
Myth #5. You have to be a math wizard
There are two types of people in this world: those who are good at math, and those who, well… aren’t. But this doesn’t mean that only the people who fall into the first group have a chance to pursue a career in tech.
Besides, if code still intimidates you, there are a ton of tech jobs that don’t even involve writing code on the day-to-day.
Myth #6. You’ll spend all day locked inside an office, coding
What image pops into your mind when you think about a tech professional? Do they have big, bulky glasses, pale skin, hunched over a computer all day, every day?
Geeks and nerds are a thing of the 90s (and we’d all be kidding ourselves if we denied that said ‘nerds’ aren’t ruling the world as we know it — think about Facebook, Tesla, Microsoft, Bitcoin, etc.).
So just because you learn how to program doesn’t mean you need to spend all day hunched over a computer screen, writing code. The tech industry is much more dynamic than exclusively coding all day.
In fact, there are lots of jobs and technical skills that don’t involve coding at all. For instance design, data analysis, setting up systems and processes, project management, technical writing, etc.
Myth #7. Everyone who works in tech is under the age of 30
Sure, we live in a world where younger generations never experienced life without social media haunting our self-esteem (aaaah, the good ol’ days).
And yes, there are people in their 20s who grew up with technology and selfies being the norm. But there are also those in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and even 60s (my 89-years-old grandma is on Instagram, yo).
In case you’re 30+, this article might inspire you to understand that it is not too late to get into a career in tech.
So unless you’re a bottle of a good Merlot, age should not be important.
And if my 89-year-old grandma can post selfies and engage with me on Instagram, I am confident you can also learn how to code if you put yourself to the task.
Myth #8. The tech industry is entirely male-dominated
There’s a lot of talk in the news about the lack of women in tech and even entire communities dedicated to ‘women who code’.
Yes, tech may be a male-dominated industry but that doesn’t mean that women aren’t welcome. And as time progresses, it’s refreshing to see that not every area in tech is completely male-dominated.
In fact, some areas of tech are completely ruled by women (Skillcrush, for example, has about 90% female employees). In some fields, such as design, for example, 54% of workers are in fact women.
Myth #9. All tech jobs are outsourced
Yes, outsourcing talent is something many companies do and freelancing is becoming more and more appealing for those who work in tech.
Moreover, many large companies have offices in multiple countries. And true: it can be cheaper to hire workers abroad than back at home.
But this is not at all the norm and if you wish to work inside an office, by all means, there are thousands of companies that would love having a tech expert onboard on a daily basis.
Myth #10. You’ll need to move to Silicon Valley
Adding on to the above point, if you’re considering working in tech, there's no need to pack your bags and move to California.
Yes, Silicon Valley is home to many large tech companies—including Apple, Google, and Facebook, to name a few. But truth be told, it’s also becoming super crowded and less attractive every day. The exorbitant living expenses speak for themselves.
And tech jobs, opportunities, and demand can be found throughout the world. This means you can spin the globe and go live wherever your finger lands–even in remote islands, if that’s your thing (just be sure to check if they have a stable internet connection).
Myth #11. You’ll be a slave to your job
2020 has taught us many things. And most of the world had to learn how to work from home with a work-life flexibility.
90% of companies and workers had to adapt their everyday office lifestyles, creating improvised home office spaces, which allowed us to have (Zoom) meetings with our managers while wearing sweatpants (if you wore pants at all, that is).
Some of us loved it, some not so much. But if you fall under the category of people who esteem the freedom and flexibility of working from home, then a tech career might be a great solution. According to FlexJobs, tech is one of the top three industries for remote workers.
And working remotely means flexibility. A lot of tech jobs out there are super flexible and let you schedule your work hours around the other things happening in your life.
Beyond that, there are a ton of remote jobs that let you do things like travel while you work! US News found that web developers report high levels of work-life balance.
Moreover, unlike certain jobs such as retail where you need to be physically present, often all you need is a laptop and a working internet connection to work.
Myth #12. You’ll need to master *all the tech skills* if you ever want to grow
One of the most common questions asked is, “What should I learn if I want to start a career in tech without prior experience?”
Oftentimes people get overwhelmed with the available options that can easily get confusing. Instead of focusing on one skill (or programming language) at a time, they’ll try to learn everything.
No wonder people get confused!
But here’s the thing. Switching careers and starting from zero is already complicated on its own. You don’t need to overwhelm your brain with an unfathomable amount of information in one go (and that might not even be the smartest way to start).
What I’m trying to say here is that you’ll benefit from getting specialized in a certain skill. Don’t let the misconception of having to learn everything prevent you from getting started. Instead, specialize in one area that you enjoy the most.
“Pick something and become an expert. Don’t try to be mediocre at several things.”
Myth #13. Soft skills don’t matter
When it comes to transitioning into technology, everyone’s first concern is mastering technical skills.
But here’s the secret not many people know…soft skills in tech matter. A LOT. Maybe even more than technical know-how because soft skills might be, at times, harder to grasp.
Let me explain: Companies and clients want to hire people who are easy to work with. By easy, I mean team players, proactive, excellent communicators, leaders who can inspire, motivate and adhere to deadlines.
A successful technology worker adjusts to change easily, so continue to update and evolve your skills. So don’t be fooled that your soft skills won’t be tested when you apply for a job in Tech. In fact, many hiring managers do a screen check before jumping into the technical parts of the job.
Are you looking into starting a career in tech?
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