How to switch to a career in tech
These days, It is no longer unfashionable to stumble on job listings that reads Front-end developer needed, Senior software developer needed, Web content manager needed, with the salary attached to it probably be bigger than what a professor in a Nigerian university earns in a month. The tech evolution is currently spreading like wildfire.
Undoubtedly tech has made a positive impact in our lives. Tech has led to increased productivity and improved convenience in most aspects of our lives. Many of the things we imagined as fantasies and fictions years ago are now things that we expect to do on a day-to-day basis without hassle.
You might have come across the phrase “tech is the new oil”. The phrase is true in every sense, years ago, a career in the oil sector was seen as money-spinning and lucrative. The evolution of tech has rendered that belief obsolete.
Tech is also the fastest growing industry in the world. There is no job market in the world currently that is more lucrative than tech.
New tech innovations are built on what was existing before. The need to improve the user’s experience and also explore limitless possibilities drives innovation in tech. One can boldly assert that tech as an industry will continue to thrive as it evolves. Recently it was reported that Nigerian startups raised 60% of African tech funding in 2021. Today, Indians lead most tech companies, a situation that is not surprising given the willingness of young people in India to venture into tech even before it became mainstream.
There is hardly a week that passes these days without the news of startups raising funds for expansion. As a result, we have become familiar with words like Series A funding, pre-seeding, seed funding and other tech terms.
One of the major perks of pursuing a career in tech is that the careers in tech are abundant and massive. Tech companies are always looking to expand their operations, tech startups are willing to hire talents to give their startup the needed boost. There are roles to be filled and companies can’t wait to hire. Many believe that tech begins and ends with coding. Animation, cloud computing, advanced data analytics, data science, product management are roles in tech that don’t require coding.
Tech jobs offer you the flexibility that you rarely find in other careers. I have a friend that works for a tech company in India from Nigeria. Some situations will require your presence in the office maybe once or twice a week. Deepening on your work, you can also do another tech on the side as a side hustle too.
As a rule of thumb, it is almost impossible to be out of a job in tech because of the demand for talents. Your job security is guaranteed and even when you are a company for another one chances are that you are climbing up the ladder because of the experiences you have garnered.
It is important to note that you don’t need a degree to switch to tech. What you need is the mastery of the skill of the area you want to go into tech. Regardless of the career, you are into now, you can enter tech without any degree. Iyin Aboyeli is a law graduate, but he has pioneered tech major tech milestones in the Africa tech space, the same story is true for many other people in the tech world.
If the prospects of venturing into tech attract you, and you want to be a ‘tech bro’ or ‘tech sis’. I have outlined the steps you need to take in other to make a career transition to tech. These steps are essential as tech involves paying attention to most little details.
Acquire the necessary skills and training
If you develop an interest in tech, this is the first step you will take after getting clarity on the area of tech you want to venture into. You can buy online courses, attend boot camps; both online and offline. You can also take courses on the side without quitting your current job. Furthermore, you can also research other ways to learn. Then ensure you practice what you have learned.
Learning never ends, even as you navigate through your tech career, you have to keep learning and improving yourself.
Get a mentor
It is very important to have a mentor in tech. Your mentor has to be someone that is experienced enough to guide you, especially in the early stages of your journey in tech. The transition to tech becomes a little easier when you have someone that can give you honest feedback, and also provide support and guidance. Your mentor helps you make better decisions based on their experiences. They will also be in the best position to advise you on how to balance your personal life with tech in some situations will ensure you get the right balance. In addition to accelerating your growth as a newbie, they will also open you up to opportunities. It could be job opportunities or networking opportunities.
Get hands-on experience
Tech employers want to be sure, you can be trusted. There are instances where you are placed on probation for a while so that you prove yourself before you are hired permanently. You mustn’t learn and sit back to be employed. Put yourself out there, look for opportunities that can help you sharpen your skills and become better. If you have the means, intern, for free and look for other means of income to supplement your livelihood as you do. Those experiences are going to count in the long run. Check out internship jobs online. Reach out to people in your field and ask if they know of any available internships. Practice as you do so you build your portfolio so that as you hone your skill, you will also have a portfolio that will impress your future employer.
Certifications are credentials that validate one’s knowledge and expertise. Certifications help you access the benefits accrued to holders in a particular industry. It also enhances your professional credibility. It also shows that you take professional development seriously and tech companies will like to work with you.
In addition to career advancement, you will also stand out uniquely among your peers.
There are some circumstances you might not require certifications; if you show proof that you have a full grasp of what the job is all about, or if you have plenty hands of experience. Acquiring certifications in your area of tech expertise will benefit your career in immense ways.
Tailor your CV to suit the role you want to apply for
A look at tech listings will immediately give you an insight into the skills that recruiters demand from prospective employees. The onus is now on you to ensure your CV reflects what the recruiter, that way you increase your chances of getting hired. Recruiters don't just scan through your CV they look in between the lines juxtaposing the experience you possess before making recruiting decisions. Make sure that the link to your portfolio is on your CV too.
Attend meetups, career fairs, get together, like mind hangouts and talk to people about your passion. Opportunities can also come from there too. It is important to note that you also have to show interest in what other people do when networking. Don’t be selfish. When you attend events, make it a goal to meet about 2-4 people. Interact with them, get their contact and send a quick note as a follow-up after the meeting. You never know which connection will end up being the one that helps you get to where you are going.
To successfully transition into tech, you have to take action and work towards your goal. In most cases transition can take up to a year, other cases it can take up to 5 months depending on how you can grasp the skills involved in your role. There is no perfect time to make the transition, once you have taken the decision, start working towards it and very soon you will be one of the tech bros or tech sis wearing jeans and polo to work while earning in foreign currency.