What do you see when you picture a career in tech? A closed shop where only the brainiest get an opportunity? Something akin to the classic Channel 4 comedy The IT Crowd? Or the Google offices with their sleeping pods, slides in reception and driverless cars?
Truth is, it’s a mixture of all of these. Tech is now such a vast industry covering so many different companies, sectors and job descriptions that all kinds of people can now be found working in tech. And if all kinds of people can be found working in it, that means you could be too.
Here are seven things you probably didn’t know about working in tech for starters.
1. It’s easier to get into tech than you thought
As more and more of our world becomes digitised, it becomes easier to get into tech. You might think of a tech job as being the sole dominion of those who work for Google, Facebook, Uber or the like, but most businesses will now have some form of tech arm as part of their company. Even that trendy bar at the end of your road or the florists which you visit once a year when you’ve finally remembered it's February 14th needs a website at its most basic level. That means there are plenty of tech jobs out there, with the industry creeping into virtually every other area of our lives.
2. You don’t need a degree
How is this for a statistic – a 2016 survey found that 69% of all software developers were at least partly self-taught, while 13% were completely self-taught. You don’t need a multi-year computer science degree to break into the industry, just a basic understanding of coding. And picking up a basic understanding of coding is like learning how to ride a bike or speak a foreign language – as long as you are willing to put the effort in, anybody can learn how to do it and with plenty of practice, get better over time.
3. It isn’t just an industry for men
If you’re a woman and you worry that getting into tech will be difficult because you don’t have certain body parts, then don’t – the stereotypical view of tech as an industry dominated by men is an out of date one. Sure, certain sectors such as data science are dominated by the male species but when it comes to fields such as design and companies such as Groupon, eBay, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Pandorra, then around half of their employees are now female. Tech is increasingly an industry for both sexes.
4. You work in tech from pretty much anywhere
The idea that in order to work in tech you need to be in Silicon Valley or pay the sky-high rents to live in a city bursting with life such as London is false. In fact, you can work in the industry from pretty much anywhere with an internet connection. Tech is one of the top three industries for remote working and as broadband speeds and wireless networks continue to improve, it is only going to make remote working easier. Who needs to commute to an office when you can work from the comfort of your own living room?
5. Not everyone in tech plays computer games
Don’t worry if you aren’t a level 6 warlock in World of Warcraft or haven’t completed Baldur’s Gate. Contrary to popular believe, you don’t need to be good at video games to have a career in tech. In fact, outside interests away from computers can be more appealing to prospective employees than how you’ve done on Dungeons and Dragons. Working in tech can require creative thinking to solve problems and the ability to work as part of a team, so if you’ve got outside interests that can demonstrate those sorts of attributes, then that can be far more beneficial to your career prospects.
6. You’ll be counting the cash
Now we’re not saying that the sole reason to get a job is because of how much it pays – you should obviously be looking for enjoyment and the opportunity to progress – but hey, who doesn’t like seeing a pay slip that stretches further than rent, food, beer and the occasional trip to the cinema? While certain industries suffer a stagnation in wages, tech salaries across the world increased by as much as 8% over the last three years while the entry level pay reflects an industry that shows no sign of letting up in its boom.