Since the widespread adoption of computers in the workplace, there’s been an increasing demand for professionals to join the information technology (IT) and contemporary tech sectors. The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics posits that the computer and IT industries post an average of 377,500 openings per year. It’s also no secret that the tech and IT sectors are where some of the most lucrative career opportunities can be found.
That’s why it’s no surprise that many jobseekers, both young and old, are thinking of joining the tech or IT sectors. The lucrative pay and job security are certainly motivating factors for most workers. But what should someone know if they want to pursue a career in these competitive industries? Is it true that you need to be good at math to be able to code, and that you need a bachelor’s degree in computer science to qualify for most jobs?
If you’re interested in knowing more about careers in IT and tech, here are some facts that may surprise you and shape your understanding of your prospects:
1) IT Companies Promote a Relaxed Working Environment
Contrary to the image of stereotypical nerds hunched over their keyboards in their cubicles, dressed in stiff suits and ties, many IT companies boast relaxed and comfortable working environments. In fact, this industry is known for its laid-back culture, which is conducive to creativity and innovation.
As long as they’re not meeting with clients, programmers, web developers, and other IT workers can generally come in wearing jeans and T-shirts. Women don’t have to worry about always dressing up for the office; most of the time, outfits comprising women’s leggings or tights and some ballet flats or even sneakers are perfectly acceptable to wear on ordinary days.
Meanwhile, tech giants like Google and Facebook are renowned for their relaxed offices, complete with game rooms and lounges. Some campuses even boast on-site baristas to keep their workers caffeinated. Ultimately, the comfortable atmosphere around the tech and IT industries isn’t just for show; it’s designed to encourage both productivity and ease of mind among employees.
2) Pursuing an IT or Tech Career Is Easier Than You Think
One of the most common misconceptions about IT and tech are that they’re only for tech prodigies who seem to be born with an innate gift for all things digital. The truth is that both are accessible to anyone hungry enough to learn and willing to adapt.
It’s now even easier to upskill in preparation for a new career in tech or IT, what with the many free online resources and courses available today. It’s just a matter of narrowing down which field you want to learn more about, such as contemporary search engine optimization (SEO) practices for global companies, and looking for viable sources of knowledge.
Countless success stories exist of individuals who started with little to no IT knowledge and went on to build successful careers. You could eventually number among them if you have dedication and a willingness to extensively learn about either field.
3) Not Everybody in Tech or IT Is Good at Math
Another myth surrounding these two related sectors is that they require exceptional mathematical skills from anyone that wants to join them. But while certain IT and tech roles may involve mathematics, many do not.
Programming, for instance, relies more on logical thinking than advanced math. Moreover, various IT job roles, such as UX/UI design and project management, require minimal training in mathematics and value skills like job experience and creative skills more. If you don’t consider yourself a math whiz by nature, don’t let that deter you from exploring the vast opportunities within the IT and tech disciplines.
4) A Computer Science Degree Is Not a Requirement for Working in Tech or IT
Do you need a computer science degree to be qualified to enter the IT and tech industries? The answer is an easy no. In reality, both industries welcome professionals from diverse educational backgrounds. A computer science degree can be a prerequisite for some positions and be of great advantage for others. But it is by no means a hard and fast requirement for being admitted into the industries.
Many IT and tech professionals have taken alternative routes to immerse themselves in the fields, such as attending coding boot camps or earning certifications. A lot of aspiring coders from today’s generation learned on their own through online tutorials. This is also true for working programmers with the desire to improve or expand their programming language expertise. Ultimately, your determination and ability to demonstrate your skills matter more than the specific degree you hold.
5) Soft Skills Will Give You an Edge in Both Industries
Given how technical the job requirements often are, it’s easy to underestimate how far soft skills will take you in the worlds of tech and IT. However, skills like communication and problem-solving are prized within both industries. IT and tech professionals often work in multidisciplinary teams and interact with clients, making effective communication crucial. Meanwhile, problem-solving skills help professionals tackle complex issues with both smarts and a cool head.
Other highly valued soft skills include leadership and teamwork, since most projects are done collaboratively. For instance, an SEO specialist might require the help of a website’s web development team to address in-page optimization issues, or the content team may require the assistance of the web designer for a new ad campaign. These are just some scenarios where soft skills can significantly help you enhance your prospects and career growth in IT and tech.
6) There Are Lots of Opportunities to Exercise One’s Creative Skills
IT and tech are both associated with technical prowess, and success is often measured by hard results. But both also encourage creativity and innovative thinking from employees. IT professionals, for example, regularly find themselves in situations where they must think outside the box to solve problems and create bespoke solutions. A user experience or UX designer would have to imagine how a human user would interact with a website, and a programmer has to exercise their creative skills to envision how the code they’ve written will result in functional outputs.
Whether it’s designing interfaces or developing unique software features, creativity is a valuable asset in the IT and tech industries. Don’t be surprised about how often you may find yourself exploring your imaginative side while pursuing a career in IT or tech.
7) It’s an Increasingly Diverse Set of Industries
Movies and TV shows about IT and tech aficionados may have perpetuated the myth that the industries are dominated by young male adults only. But both have evolved quickly according to the times, and one expect to join diverse and inclusive spaces that welcome professionals from various backgrounds, genders, and cultures.
Tech and IT companies recognize the value of diverse perspectives. As such, a large number of them actively promote diversity and inclusion. This only makes sense given the industries’ common goals of uniting global communities through modern technologies.
As you can see from the points above, there’s more to the fields of tech and IT than meets the eye. Before finding a job opportunity in either field, take these facts into consideration—and proceed with an open and eager mind.