How to broaden your horizons in tech
The tech industry is so wide and vast that the potential for you to diversify your career is endless.
Feeling stuck in your career is never a pleasant feeling and it can happen in any industry. While tech may be incredibly far-reaching in terms of the possibilities of applying qualifications and experience, many people still feel trapped in their employment role. If this sounds like you, then consider making an active approach to broaden your horizons, whether that’s with your current employer or elsewhere.
Consider Your Unique Position
If you are a woman or a member of the BAME or LGBT+ community, you should definitely consider this as a political incentive for progressing your career. You may have a unique position within your company as many businesses are conscious of the inherent all-white male problem in tech. Even if you feel a position might be slightly out of your grasp, apply for it. Show your company that you are an ambitious employee and that you want to make a bit of social change too.
Despite expectations, many people get into tech via their experience — not necessarily because of their degree. Therefore, it can sometimes be helpful to add education to your experience in later life. Nowadays, it’s possible to study online degrees, such as those offered at sbu.edu from St. Bonaventure University. Cybersecurity, for example, would be the perfect degree to add to the experience in software development or coding. Any extra education is useful for your resume and potential employers, helping you to reach those more senior roles.
If you are a freelancer, then you can offer your skillset to a wide variety of companies. For example, if you fix a particular type of hardware, then conduct research into which companies also use this hardware. Once you have a list written down, approach these companies to offer them solutions. This is the most straightforward and direct way of offering your services to those who need you. Not everyone will take you up on your offer, of course, but you may just acquire a few clients who could diversify your skillset.
There are plenty of companies who want to make use of modern software and technologies but don’t have the means to apply it. For example, they may want to use the ‘internet of things’ (IoT) or geolocation trackers but do not have the expertise on their team to do so. By working with companies who are looking to expand and develop, you will immediately broaden your horizons in terms of your client base and industry knowledge.
If you want to expose yourself to as many new and exciting companies as possible, then app development may just be the way to go. Companies are desperate for software developers to design effective and appealing apps for them. This is because apps are perfect for enhancing customer experiences, but they also provide a unique gateway for large institutions. This is why banks and governments alike use them for their customers and users.
Follow Emerging Technologies
There are new technologies developing that are not only the talk of the town but are also potentially the future in terms of how we live our day-to-day lives. Self-driving cars, for example, are being developed to become safer and more reliable. By following technological advancements that are new, exciting and ahead of the curve, you will be following a more fruitful career path.
If these industries sound all well and good, but you’re worried your tech knowledge or education is too limited, then try to gain experience on the side. Freelancing for local companies and offering your time for free will help to build your practical experience.
You may have to work the odd weekend, and of course, no one likes to work for free, but it may make companies more open-minded when considering you. You are a source of free labor (only temporarily, of course) and it will expose you to new ways of applying your knowledge.
The tech industry is so wide and vast that the potential for you to diversify your career is endless. By being open-minded to new technological advancements and sectors your career could take you down new paths you didn’t expect.
On the other hand, if you are longing to try something new, but feel under-qualified to do so, consider education and work experience. You may have to reserve some time to develop your skillset, but keep your goals in mind. Set a mental end-goal and keep working towards it — you may be surprised by how quickly the time passes.
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