If you’ve been considering a career change and have been curious about the tech world, you’re not alone. Known for impressive salaries, excellent perks and a fast-growing landscape, it’s a booming industry that you can absolutely get a slice of. But before you shake your head and think, ‘I still need help figuring out my Apple ID (same), I couldn’t possibly work in tech’, let us stop you right there. Sarah Liu, founder and managing director of diversity, equity and inclusion consultancy, The Dream Collective, says it’s easier than you think. We picked her uber knowledgeable brain to find out five super simple ways to get the job you’ve been dreaming about.
Listen up, here’s how to break into the tech industry even if you’re not a born and bred tech expert.
#1 Think About What You Have, Not What You Do Not Have
According to Liu, when it comes to approaching where you fit into the tech world, it’s about zooming out, rather than zooming in, “Technology companies are aiming to solve big problems, so focus on their larger mission when considering a new role and assess how your current skills and strengths can help these companies achieve, or even, further their mission.”
#2 Recognise Your Outsider Advantage
Research from Glassdoor tells us that 43% of roles advertised by tech companies (around 53,000 positions!) are non-technical. “Which means you do not have to understand ‘tech speak’ or need a degree in software engineering to work in tech,” says Liu. “In fact, this could work to your advantage. Many companies we work with are interested in candidates from a non-tech background, particularly for sales teams, as they bring a different perspective to how they communicate technology.”
“Tech companies are after personable people who can communicate in easy-to-understand terms and strongly relate to other people. In short, not having the technical expertise should not deter you. An outsider’s perspective allows you to bring an innovative lens into a company, and as an outsider you approach these companies as a user, which is always a useful perspective for them. Just think, Airbnb was not created by someone in hospitality, Netflix was not created by someone in entertainment and Uber was not created by someone in transport.”
#3 Align Your Current Skills And Experience With The Segment You Are Connected To
The next step according to Liu is self analysis and seeing what you’re good at—sounds simple right? “For example, if you have a finance background, try working at a fintech company, if you have a retail background, try an e-commerce company, as a starting point,” explains Liu. “Tech permeates every industry so focus on the segment you have some experience in and research which companies are taking that segment or service into the tech space. Considering where your current skill sets and experience can be seamlessly applied is a nice way to break into the industry.”
#4 Ask For Referrals And To Be Recommended
While the tech industry is large, it’s also close knit, so a good word in your favour can go a long way when it comes to securing your dream job. “People are commonly referred by others into jobs—in many cases, even before a role is advertised,” says Liu. “It is a huge advantage to be on companies’ radars in this way, so do not hesitate to reach out to former colleagues and managers for referrals and recommendations, or even connect with new contacts at these companies and start a conversation. Get in there today, rather than wait for an opportunity to come up tomorrow—either you will be too late or you will be competing with a much larger pool of candidates.”
#5 Experience Is Not The Be-all And End-All
If the lack of tech-savvy companies listed on your resume is stressing you out—stop, breathe and relax. “Recognise that the tech industry is rapidly evolving and your lack of experience is not as big of a disadvantage to you breaking into the sector, as you might think,” says Liu. “What was relevant two years ago in tech might not be relevant now. You are never too late. In fact, you are right on time—according to The World Economic Forum (WEF), it takes as little as one to six months to develop a level of literacy in new skills (both technical and non-technical), meaning growing your skill set is never unattainable.” Now we like the sound of that!
If you’re looking for a little extra help check out SheDares from The Dream Collective and Amazon Web Services (AWS)—a free, online, interactive learning program that aims to encourage professional women to consider pursuing a career in the technology industry, help them overcome perceived barriers to seeking a job in tech, and show them the pathways to entry.
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