Breaking Into Tech (A Perspective)
Yesterday I attended a session about breaking into tech. This is a topic that I frequently see asked on Black Tech Twitter and various tech Facebook groups that I'm in. However, I've never seen it explained in the manner like I saw at this session / networking event.
The session that I attend was targeted for people that wanted to get a job or have a career in tech. After the session started and people did introductions, we found out that majority of the people that attended were already in tech including myself. The others were in Human Resources.
Personal Thoughts About Breaking Into Tech
When I get asked how can someone get into tech, I respond to their question by asking “What is their career goal or objective?”
Some have an answer to this question, but they have several options. Since the tech field is very wide, the options that the individuals that I have spoke with have different paths. Thus it is still difficult to give them a trajectory or guidance on how to progress to achieving their career goals.
Some do not have an answer to this question. They just know that a lot of people make good money in tech and they want in on the money. Problem with this line of thinking is that some want to chase the money and not have a career objective. When you chase the money and not the objective, it shows up in other areas. You lack knowledge that similar individuals have acquired and are well versed in. You lack drive to make yourself a better candidate for the job you desire. All this lack shows up in the lack of skill and experience. This why they have a hard time breaking into tech. This leads me to tell people to find out what they want to do in tech. Once you discover that, then getting into tech will be easier. Reason being is that a network engineer doesn't necessarily need to know the same stuff as a Linux administrator.
Presenters About Breaking Into Tech
One of the presenters drew the diagram on the board and elaborated on how to get into tech. He broke it down that offers a different perspective to hope to get into tech that what I had been giving to those individuals that I talk to.
On the left side of the diagram, he wrote “People”. On the right, he wrote “Computers”. In the middle, he wrote “Products”. Then he connected all three words.
He explained that in the tech field, you either work with people or you work with computers. From there the options narrow and go into the various fields of tech. In either scenario, people and computers come together to make a product. The product can be a software solution, workflow, or something that makes the business run.
Working With People
Working with people breaks down into several roles. Most of these roles considered to be "customer facing", meaning that you mostly interact with the customers, product owners, or users of the product that is to be built.
These roles would be project managers, business analysts, product owners, and similar roles.
Working With Computers
Working with computers had its own roles as well. The nature of computers is that they give a response only when action is taken. Thus roles in this category are more suited for introverts.
These roles would be software developers, front end developers, backed end developers, application testers, and database administrators, just to name a few.
People and Computers Equals Product
When the people come together and use the computers to make things happen, you get a product. The product could be a software application, business solution, automated work flow or something else. The purpose of the product is to achieve a business problem or pain point.
I will be changing the way I go about answering how to get into tech. When people ask me how to get into tech, I ask whether they want to work with people or computers. From there, I will make suggestions on roles that fall in either of the categories. Hopefully this helps people who are still trying to find their way into tech, to be able to better narrow down the role that they want to acquire and excel at.