August 1st 2023
The ‘tech career path’ myths holding you back from living your dream
We have officially entered the technology era! Everything, and we mean everything, revolves around technology. But does that mean we all have to learn how to code? *smirks* Not at all!
As the tech industry grows, so do the misconceptions and myths surrounding careers in this field. Just like all myths, they can be misleading – not to mention discouraging!
How many times have you been ‘helpfully’ recommended to ‘just learn to code’ like it’s some golden ticket to life-long success? But guess what, the tech industry is full of golden tickets! That's why we're here to debunk those myths, so you can regain your confidence and go after that dream job.
1st Myth → The tech world is only for coders
The truth: Yes, all tech companies have a team of engineers writing code all day – but what about the dozens of non-coding roles?! You can be in the tech industry as a UX/UI Designer, an SEO Specialist, an Information Architect, a Business Analyst and guess what else… a technical writer! Contrary to popular belief, the highest paid workers in Silicon Valley are not even Software Engineers – Project Managers are the ones picking up the biggest pay checks.
In fact, Software Engineers made up the biggest portion of tech layoffs in 2023. So being a ‘coder’ is no longer shorthand for being ‘un-fireable.’ The skills required to thrive in the tech industry extend so much further than sitting at a keyboard. They also include problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking and excellent communication.
2nd Myth → Tech careers are male-dominated
The truth: In recent history, we’re talking like ten years ago, the tech world was indeed heavily male-dominated. Hell, it was a man-cave! However, significant changes have been brought about over the last few years as a result of gender inequality protests and DEI being implemented in businesses pushing the needle in the right direction.
There are tons of initiatives and organizations actively closing the gender gap and promoting diversity in tech. Girls Who Code, for instance, has over 8,500 programs nationwide which serve the sole purpose of empowering women and girls as young as 3rd grade to feel confident in their STEM abilities.
But the real history of the tech industry paints a very different picture: it used to be dominated by super-smart women! As anyone who’s watched the movie Hidden Figures knows, the world’s first human computers were almost all female!
Tasked with performing complex mathematical calculations for companies like NASA, is anyone surprised that it took a team of women to get one man on the moon? And guess what one of the first electronic computers ever built – the ENIAC in 1945 – was primarily programmed and operated by a group of six women. So, for anyone that thinks women don’t belong in the 21st tech industry – consider this a reminder that women built the OG tech industry.
3rd Myth → You absolutely need a computer science degree
The truth: Well, one thing’s for sure - you don’t need an engineering degree to become a technical writer. (Case in point: yours truly!) As outlined above, the tech industry has made major developments and is constantly shifting beneath our feet.
There are already countless jobs on the horizon that might not exist right now, but will be massive in five years time. With that said, a more diverse range of careers has brewed which has canceled out the need for a computer science degree.
Whilst having a CompSci degree might give you an edge over those that don’t, there are plenty of alternatives you can explore to give you the upper hand. For one, you can go the route of online coding courses, bootcamps and practicing through internships to build up your portfolio [link our blog post].
4th Myth → Nothing exciting happens in the day of a tech employee
The truth: from the outside looking in, careers in the tech world may seem to be monotonous and boring — same ol’ tasks, different day. But not so! Tech workers juggle a handful of responsibilities that are a lot more fun and creative than a ‘desk job’ sounds.
These range from communicating with other teams within the company for updates and requests, attending impromptu meetings, brainstorming solutions, speaking at conferences and events, experimenting with different ideas, and carefully monitoring system performance. Every day has some spice to it. It also depends on the specific tech career you are in — different challenges for different branches of the tree.
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5th Myth → You might as well forget about a healthy work-life balance
The truth: The tech industry can be super fast-paced which means that some projects may require long and extra hours. However, the idea that once you commit yourself to a tech career your life will be all work and no play is far from true.
Tech companies like MetaLab (which is currently hiring by the way) believe in ‘hiring based on talent, not time zone, so your schedule is up to you’. As work-life balance becomes a huge topic of interest, especially because it boosts employee retention, more and more companies are making it publicly known that joining the team offers you flexibility amongst other benefits.
The ultimate truth is that the tech industry offers diverse opportunities beyond coding, welcomes individuals from various educational backgrounds, promotes work-life balance, strives for inclusivity and extends beyond the boundaries of Silicon Valley. So, if you are still struggling to figure out which career path is perfect for you, there are plenty to explore in the tech industry that go beyond coding.