In an era defined by technological innovation and advancement, digital technology has become a very important sector of modern life and an interesting sector for smart and young people seeking promising and dynamic career opportunities.
It is good to have access to and use modern technologies, but it is enjoyable and fascinating to be among the few who revolutionise the world with these technologies.
Whether you want to be an aspiring programmer, data scientist, IT specialist, cyber security specialist, system architect, game developer, or simply intrigued by the vast possibilities that tech offers, this comprehensive guide is your compass through the intricate maze of the tech landscape.
General Knowledge Acquisition
Due to the information revolution, we already passed the information age and with the very tools digital technologies created we doubled the amount of information human beings generate every day and that reduced the lifespan of valuable information.
For anyone to survive and grow in the tech world there is a need to plug yourself into information sources to keep yourself updated at any time. This is because information nowadays has a very short lifespan.
- Stay curious: You have to develop a curiosity for technology and its impact on the world. Read tech news, participate in tech discussions, follow tech blogs and internet personalities, and engage massively with technology-related content on any kind of platform.
- Books, Journals, Magazines & Documentaries: Read tech-related books, journals, magazines and watch documentaries. Invest in tech-related sources to build a strong understanding and knowledge base of the industry. You can subscribe to journals and magazines, if you cannot do that subscribe to YouTube channels to watch documentaries on tech such as DW, John Coogan, Weird, BBCClick, ColdFusion, Traversy Media etc.
- Podcasts and Webinars: Listen to tech podcasts and attend webinars to keep yourself updated and learn from industry experts, especially keeping up-to-date on current tech trends.
Choosing a Career Path
To some people choosing a career path is the most difficult task but to others is the simplest action. Nevertheless, it is the most important action and must be carefully chosen.
There are a lot of careers to choose from in tech. For some reason some people, choosing a career path is not that simple and it is not a one-day job, that is why I started with general knowledge acquisition to give you a fair understanding of the industry and how it works.
For you to choose the right career, you need to do :
- Self-assessment: identify your interests, strengths, and goals. Consider what excites you most, be it design, data analysis, coding or cyber security.
- Research: Research to explore various tech career paths and their job prospects, and look into the skills and qualifications required for each.
- Mentorship: It is imperative to seek guidance from experienced professionals in the industry, they will provide valuable insights into various and different career paths.
I made a curated list of tech sectors and careers you can choose from, click here to read.
In tech, you must have at least one skill, because in most cases is not about your certification, but rather what value can you bring to the table. To learn tech skills, you can :
- Watch tutorials: One of the fastest and easiest ways to learn a skill is to watch tutorials. There are bunches of free online tutorials on the internet, you can learn anything you want to for free on YouTube, FreeCodeCamp, W3Schools and many more.
- Read Documentation: To learn a lot about a particular skill or piece of technology, consider going to the official documentation and reading it.
- Online courses: You can enrol in online courses and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) related to your chosen career path. You can do this by applying on platforms such as Codeacademy, Udemy, Coursera, and Udacity. These platforms offer a wide range of tech courses.
- Coding practice: if you choose to go into software engineering, you have to be practising coding daily whether locally or on the internet on platforms like LeetCode, HackerRank or GitHub.
Every piece of work needs validation and it helps establish credibility and trust in the industry, but unlike other professional sectors, you don’t have to follow a normal validation process, like earning a university degree. To validate your work, you have the following options:
- Academic certificate: Academic certificates such as degrees and diplomas, are traditional indicators of a person’s education and knowledge in tech. They are just the starting point in the tech world where practical skills often matter more.
- Professional Certificate: Professional certificates like those from CompTIA, CISCO, AWS, Coursera or any other certificate from professional training, demonstrate specialised knowledge and skills in tech fields, and they are widely recognized in the industry.
- Portfolio: Your portfolio is a tangible showcase of your work. This could be a collection of projects, applications, papers/articles, or code repositories. This is one of the most powerful ways to validate someone’s work as it demonstrates what you can do and achieve.
- Github: Github is not just a code repository; it is a platform for collaboration and validation. Your Github activities can be easily validated.
- Linkedin: LinkedIn serves as your professional digital identity. It is a platform where you can express your area of expertise, skills, experiences, endorsements and connections.
Surviving in tech requires networking and engaging in communities, I can tell you from experience you need fellow techies to grow professionally.
- Community: The most important way to grow your network in tech is to engage and be part of a community of like-minded people. This will give you access to mentorship, help, resources and tons of job opportunities.
- Tech Meetups and Conferences: Attend local tech meetups, conferences, and workshops to meet people in the industry and expand your network.
- Hackathons: Participate in local and global competitions to grow your technical skills, network with other smart people, and meet influential people in the industry.
- LinkedIn: As an aspiring professional you need to create a professional profile on LinkedIn that will highlight your skills, projects and career aspirations. Use the profile to connect with other professionals, decision-makers, and technopreneurs.
- Social Media: Use social media such as Twitter, Reddit and Discord to connect with tech guys, and engage in tech discussions.
Growing Your Career
To continue to be a techie after passing stage one, or beginner level, you need to optimize yourself and follow certain standards consciously or unconsciously.
- Mindset: you need to develop a good and strong mindset especially if you are from this part of the world, where electricity and connectivity are not stable. You have to be optimistic, committed, consistent, curious, and patient.
- Continuous learning: tech is ever-evolving, so commit to continuous learning and exploring, and stay updated on new methods, concepts, technologies and tools.
- Side projects: find interesting ideas to work on, develop personal projects to apply your skills and build a portfolio. You can use these projects to build your resume.
- Mentorship: seek out experienced mentors who can guide you in your career development.
- Soft skills: learn and practice soft skills such as leadership, management, communication, teamwork and problem-solving which are valuable for your career development.
These are some of the important steps or rather a process that beginners need to follow to have a good and rewarding career in tech, regardless of your employment market.
For you to choose the career you want to embark on, I curated a list of potential areas and available careers under them. Click here to read.