The Not-So-Secret Passage to Your Tech Career

You hear it on a regular basis.

“Tech is a growth industry,” or, “tech is where it’s at.”

In the world we live in, the truth in these statements is so blatantly obvious that it starts to feel mundane. Tech’s dominance in the job market has become mere background noise, or an indication that we really missed the boat by getting an analog degree in a digital age. For that reason, we tend to block out “tech job talk” as a mere market observation, instead of an invitation to us.

Although this mentality is shifting, many still believe that once they turn twenty-five, they are officially locked in and committed to whatever career they’re currently entrenched in, no matter how much they hate it. Luckily, just like online dating has pushed back the average age of marriage, tech training courses and classes have made it easy for people to find new love.

Career love, that is.

So why is this expanding, employee-craving, fountain of jobs being ignored by people who wish they could jump ship? Why are skilled tech workers in such high demand? The current climate in the tech job market is the equivalent to a man standing across the street, waving money and yelling for someone to take it off his hands. The problem is: most people don’t think they’re capable of crossing that street.

False.

The overarching obstacle in that road comes from a classic, human condition.

Change is scary.

Maybe you don’t like the chair in your office, but you know it will never let you fall. Maybe you don’t like your boss, but you know he or she will keep cutting you checks as long as you show up. Maybe “Steve” in H.R. is a good friend of yours and you would hate to leave him behind. Whatever specific facet of your job you’re clinging to, it’s understandable. Stability is a great feeling, and risking its loss can seem foolish.

The risk is smaller than you might believe, though. Starting a tech career doesn’t take being an entrepreneur, working out of your garage and betting it all on the app that you remortgaged your house to fund. You’re not taking out a loan from the sharks. The only real requirements are enough time to partake in courses, and the work ethic to complete them on top of your current job, which, reminder: you get to keep throughout this process. So tell “Steve” in H.R. I said, “hi.”

The timeline for acquiring valuable tech skills is short enough to surprise most people. Many, either by bootcamp or simple research and self-teaching, have all the mental skills and certifications they need to jump ship within one year. A full calendar year may seem like a tall mountain to climb when your standing at the foot of it, but on the scale of a decades-long career, you might as well start climbing now.

While making this hike, there are a few more mental hurdles awaiting you. Most commonly, people don’t believe they have the intelligence to handle something that, from the outside, looks like an endless stream of complex, “Matrix” style codes and symbols. If you’re self-consciously thinking back to your high school report card, or feeling bad that your glasses aren’t held together with nerd tape… just throw those thoughts away. No one inherently understands coding, that’s what the courses are for. So, stop intimidating yourself over the fact that you can’t hold your own in a physics debate with Albert Einstein. By the way, he didn’t know how to code, so you’ve got that going for you.

Of course, the issue of age is mixed in with this cocktail of self-doubt. Right now, there are kids working in the tech field that grew up with iPhones almost surgically attached to their hands. This is the image that keeps many people in their 30s and 40s from attempting to make the big leap (which, again, is not that big of a leap.)

The only real issue that age poses is that the older people get, the less likely they are to try changing careers. Once that change is initiated, there is a bounty of information available to bring anyone up to speed on current job requirements. From there, though, the learning never stops. It’s no secret that technology is growing exponentially more sophisticated. That means more courses and more training await you, even after you land your first job. Good news, though: you get paid to learn.

So, we’ve talked about how you can make the switch, but what about why? As you might have guessed, there are plenty of reasons. For one, you would likely be looking at a salary that is much more like, well, an actual salary. On top of that, although its not guaranteed, you have a chance at working “remote,” or as others call it, “while in bed, still wearing pajamas.” Lastly, Tech is a cutting-edge industry, and that just sounds sexy, doesn’t it?

Perhaps most encouraging of all, tech is “technically” not a stand-alone industry, it’s an invasive species. With rising cyber threats, companies all over the world are expanding their I.T. departments. On top of that, automation is becoming increasingly common in many work places. It’s that classic case of “robots coming for your job.” Maybe the takeover not as hostile as it sounds, but it would still be better to be the person designing and programming the robots, not defending against them.

After all is said and done… the juicy job perks, the solid pay, the job security, and the interesting work, only one question remains:

Are you sure?

It’s important to remember that a job in tech is still a job. Yes, there will be work involved and yes, some of it will have to be done before you’re actually hired. That said, if you’re looking to get out of your current line of work, tech is there for you, waiting with open arms.

Software engineer at Polar Notion