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February 16, 2017

Busting 7 Myths about Technology Careers – Part 3

BustTheTechMythsSo far in this 7-part myth-busting series, I busted the fallacies that “Technology is all about coding, math and science” and “Working in technology requires a 4-year college degree.” Now, let’s go after the third basic myth about technology careers. It’s another one that could discourage today’s teens from becoming tomorrow’s technologists and prevent them from closing the tech skills gap for us:

“If it’s not at Facebook or Google, it’s not a technology job.”
  • No Valley Required: Today, tech arguably is the most important factor driving the global economy. So, how could a force that powerful be contained in one place? You don’t need to live in Silicon Valley to have a successful, exciting career in technology. Despite surface differences, every industry depends on IT. From small, family-run businesses — such as corner convenience stores, dry cleaners and lawn services — to big banks and insurance companies, positions as technologists exist in almost every organization around the world.
  • No Size Fits All: Per the CompTIA IT Industry Outlook 2017, there are about 375,000 small information technology companies in the United States, and those companies employ about 45 percent of the workforce in the IT industry. Thousands of jobs are available at innovative companies, large and small, and plenty of places to work no matter where you live. And as telecommuting becomes more popular, the opportunities will multiply.
  • Best Back-Up Plan Ever: My youngest child, Shane, dreams of playing in the NBA someday. But the odds are against the kid. He’s not likely to be taller than 6 feet. Neither his mom nor I were elite athletes. And while he has the most natural basketball skills of anyone in our family, very few players make the pro ranks. Today, the NBA has only 450 active athletes. Sure, maybe he’ll have the drive, desire and luck to go all the way. But I’m still pushing a back-up plan; I encourage him to consider all the different ways he might work in sports, especially with technology. He could be a technologist working on data analytics for a professional coaching staff to help find the best defensive scheme for its players. He could be in broadcasting. Shane might even design the next app to track college basketball scores. With the number of technology jobs available in sports today, Shane’s passion for basketball need not burn out just because he’s not likely to catch a spot on an NBA roster.
Same goes for any young person with a yearning for any field. My early passions were technology and movies. In college, I wanted to be a screenwriter. Eventually, I realized that was a longshot. Instead, I focused on my strengths — problem solving and leadership — and found my calling in the nonprofit world. I’m still connected to the tech industry through my work, and movies continue to be a nice hobby. There are lots of ways to connect one’s passions to meaningful and fulfilling work.

Next on my myth-bursting barrage: “A tech career means being stuck at a desk.”