The technology field is expansive and growing. Here are 5 top career insights collected from almost 50 professionals in this field:
- PURSUE YOUR INTERESTS
As obvious as it sounds, go after what you truly want to do. You might have doubts and challenges, but don’t let that steer you away from continuing to pursue your interests. Brian Solis, who is now a Global Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce, says “when someone says go chase after what it is you really want, the hardest part is actually getting through your own mind.” It’s easy to psych yourself out and make a million excuses as to why you can’t allow yourself to pursue what really interests you, but those excuses will never just disappear. And you’ll regret it if you don’t. So go for it.
- MAKE MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS
Jose Castenada is now a policy communications manager at Google. When he was a new grad interning at AT&T in 2015, one of his bosses gave him some meaningful advice. “There are two types of people in Washington. There’s one that knows people. And there’s another, that knows an issue more as a policy expert,” he told Castenada. “The people that succeed the most here can do both really well.” Success doesn’t come from just knowing the facts and rules, knowing how to work with people and make meaningful connections can enhance your success. You have to balance people skills with textbook knowledge and on the job training. And this is true of just about any industry.
- ALIGN PASSIONS WITH GROWING INDUSTRIES
In college Lauren Boas Hayes studied international politics, but until fall 2020 she worked as a threat intelligence analyst at Facebook. The two fields might initially seem unrelated, but Hayes found her calling after receiving some insightful advice. Someone told her “identify where those interests in human rights and social justice work intersect with a field that’s developing and changing.” Finding that intersection between social justice and cybersecurity allowed her to find a space where she can work on issues that were important to her. She believes if no one had challenged her to really examine which sectors she could make a lasting impact, she probably never would’ve gotten into the field.
- ADAPTABILITY IS KEY
As new software constantly emerges, and the digital economy we’re living in, demands new skills every day, adaptability in the workforce has become essential. No longer is there a be-all and end-all of fixed skill sets to succeed in the workforce. More than ever, your ability to learn on the job and adapt quickly to changes will be what sets you apart from other candidates. Mike Steep is the executive director of the Disruptive Technologies and Digital Cities Program at Stanford University. “Be able to adapt to change in technology,” he says. “Reassess your assumptions about what you think of how things work every couple of years. In this case, every couple of months.” In this 4th industrial revolution, leaning won’t end when you graduate. You will never be done with your learning, so Steep advises you to frequently examine your skills, what you need to improve upon and where you need to start growing.
- DON’T BE SERIOUS ALL THE TIME
While job searching and career planning can be an overwhelming and serious endeavor, CEO and founder of Not Impossible Labs, Mick Ebeling, says responsibility is overrated. Yes, think about your future careers and how you can prepare and plan for them, but if you can take a deep breath before starting your career – do it. “Cause you’re gonna wake up one day and you’re going to have a business,” says Ebeling. “You’re going to have a mortgage payment. You’re going to have a family and you can’t go back and do that again.” Your responsibilities will pile up, so while you’re looking toward building your future career, don’t forget to let yourself live in the present. And more importantly, take risks and don’t be serious all the time.
If you want to hear more career advice from these professionals or learn more about their jobs and professional journeys, visit the Time4Coffee website where you’ll find 100’s of interviews with people in dozens of different industries.