Advice, Interview Tips, Software Engineer, Women in Tech

Tech Career Q&A: A Guide to Navigating the Competitive World of Tech

Why working in tech is popular these days?

Why tech jobs are in demand?

Firstly, technology industry is one of the fastest growing industries today. There are 4 reasons why working in tech is popular:

  1. It’s a growing industry amidst the pandemic
  2. Every company is becoming a software or software-powered company
  3. Tech companies offer remote and flexible work options
  4. Gen-Z who are digital natives are now entering the workforce and tech roles are attractive to them

Is tech a good career?

Why do I want to pursue a career in technology?

Whether tech is a good career or not depends on who you ask on any given day. Some may say it's ever changing and hetic, while others may thrive in fast pace of change. Generally speaking, it's a yes from me. Here's why.

My professional career has always been in Australia ever since I graduated with a Bachelor and Master of Computer Science from the University of Wollongong. So I truly belive there are good opportunities in Australia for software engineers.

Soon after my graduation, I started my career working as a web developer for a small web agency, doing everything from gathering requirements from customers, designing websites in Adobe Photoshop, building backend applications, coding frontend interfaces, to looking after domain name registration, hosting, and so on. Throughout my career, I’ve had many different job titles that are similar yet different in many ways, such as developer, technical lead, technical director, startup CTO, head of engineering, software development manager, and engineering manager.

I am currently working as a senior engineering manager at a software company in Sydney. In short, I started out as a developer, moved up the Individual Contributor track til becoming a Technical Architect and then finally switched to the People Management track. Every year, I am amazed at the number of opportunities that have become available for tech people in Australia.

How to find tech jobs?

Where to apply for tech jobs?

There are several ways to find tech jobs, including:

  1. Job search websites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor.
  2. Company career websites, where you can search for open positions and apply directly. Examples: Careers at Apple, Careers at Amazon, Careers at Google, Careers at Meta (Facebook), Careers at Netflix, Careers at Microsoft
  3. Networking, connecting with people in the industry and asking about job opportunities.
  4. Meetups, job fairs and recruiting events in your area.
  5. Recruiters or staffing agencies that specialize in placing candidates in tech jobs.
  6. Joining professional organizations or attending industry events where you can meet people in your field.
  7. Referral by friends or family, or checking company's employee referral program.

Most importantly, it pays to tailor your resume and online presence to highlight your relevant skills and experience.

Which tech career pays the most?

Right now, in 2023, there are many jobs in tech that pay well, with salaries often depending on factors such as location, experience, and company. Some of the highest-paying technology careers include:

  • Senior executives (CTO, VP Engineering, etc)
  • Solutions architect
  • Data scientist
  • Cloud architect
  • Full-stack developer
  • DevOps engineer
  • Information security analyst
  • Artificial intelligence specialist
  • Database administrator
  • Network architect
  • IT manager

It is worth noting that salaries for these positions can vary widely depending on the location and company, so it is a good idea to research salaries specific to your location and experience level. Additionally, some of the most in-demand technology fields such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Cloud Computing tend to have higher median salary.

You can refer to last year Stackoverflow Developer Survey's Work -> Salary section to get a high-level insight into salaries of some of the above roles in USD.

How to start a tech career?

My article on How To Get A Tech Job As A Mid-Career Candidate aims to provide you with actionable steps and expert guidance on how to start your career in tech.

I’ve also put together a checklist to plan and prepare for a job in the tech industry.

Is being a software engineer a good long-term career? Why would a tech company needs so many software engineers?

This is a great question. When I was working at a well-known tech company that employs thousands of software engineers, one of my close friends who isn't in the tech industry asked me what I was doing at work every day. It was a genuine question.

It was a genuine question because he didn't see any changes to the software as an end-user. So to satisfy his curiosity, I gave him a breakdown of activities.

*10% of time is spent in meetings and various company-related activities

*20-30% of time is spent in keeping the software running and operational, fixing bugs, looking at monitoring and alerting, upgrading old libraries, doing security patches etc

*50-60% of time is spent in development, but it's not always new features that end users can see, sometimes, it's upgrading fundamental platform services or adopting a new platform service

One thing for sure is that, the bigger the company and codebases are, the less time you have for development. It's not unusual to have only 50-60% of time is spent in actual development that improves the software.

Are tech jobs easy?

Whether something is easy for you or not may depend on your natural talents and competencies in that area. For example, someone who enjoys research and writing may be being a technical writer easy. Another person who enjoys talking to others to understand their problems and designing may find product designer role easy.

Often, easy and enjoyable should go hand in hand. Otherwise, one won’t have a fullfilling career.

Which tech career is right for me?

Should you be a Software Engineer, Product Manager, UX Designer, Product Marketer, or Customer Success Officer? Find out by taking this free quiz: Which Tech Role is Right For Me?

Which entry level tech jobs don't require a computer science degree?

What are the entry level tech jobs?

For someone with coding skills, the best entry level tech jobs are:

  • Software engineers
  • Web developers
  • Site reliabiliy engineers

Entry level roles at tech companies for those without coding skills can be found in disciplines such as:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Customer Support
  • Recruiting

As someone who’s been working in the tech industry for the past 2 decades, I know for a fact that anyone can break into tech! My advice is to create a great resume and to prepare for interviews by learning the acronyms of tech and using relevant examples that demonstrate how you will be a good fit for the tech startup environment.

How to get a tech job without a tech background (non techies)?

What are the tech jobs that don't require coding?

What are the tech jobs for teachers, nurses, marketing?

As someone who’s been working in the tech industry for the past 2 decades, I know for a fact that anyone can break into tech! I’ve interviewed many candidates who were from industries such as recruitment, consulting, real estate and teaching.

My advice is to create a great resume and to prepare for interviews by learning the acronyms of tech and using relevant examples that demonstrate how you will be a good fit for the tech startup environment.

Tech companies need not just software engineers, they also have roles like:

  • Technical Account Managers
  • Procurement Specialists
  • Customer Success Officers
  • Finance Managers
  • Business Operations Managers
  • Marketing Managers
  • Sales Executives
  • Tech Recruiters

Should I work for a big tech company (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google) or a startup?

One of the initial steps to making the right choice when it comes to your career is to evaluate options against your midterm career goal before writing and comparing the pros and cons of each job offer. Why? Because each pro and con is subjective. Generally speaking, every choice you have is good and bad. There is no single option that is made up of all the pros.

For example, you might be faced with the option of working for a fancy small startup or a public tech company. They both have pros and cons. In this case, writing a pros and cons list is not going to help us make the right decision. But thinking about the outcome or career goal that you would like to achieve will.

But working in a startup might be a good work experience for you if Do you want to become a generalist (someone who can wear multiple hats) because you are interested in going your own way and having your own startup one day. However, if you want to deep-dive into a specific kind of technology or gain an understanding of writing enterprise software at scale, then working for a public tech company is a better fit.

How to have a successful tech career?

Firstly, I recomend gaining the necessary skills required for your field, whether it's gaining an industry recognised certification such as AWS Certified Solution Architect, Certified Scrum Master, etc or learning by doing.

Secondly, I recommend journaling. Journaling can help you clarify your thoughts and ideas: When you write things down, it can help you better understand and organize your thoughts. This can be especially helpful if you're trying to come up with new ideas or solve problems.

Countless high-achieving, ambitious career professionals have requested me to share tools and resources for their career success. Shortcut to success, so to speak. They ask me questions such as what skills should they learn, what training should they do, what books should they read, just to name a few. The truth is, it's not just about having the technical skills, it's also about having the right mindset, understanding yourself and your values, knowing where you currently are, being strategic, leveraging your strengths and embodying leadership behaviours consistently that lead to career success.

So I created these journals, worksheets and planners to help you do just that, to have the right mindset, to understand yourself and your values, to know where you stand, to be strategic, to leverage your strengths and to embody leadership behaviours consistently.

As a woman in tech, what are some unique challenges that you face in your career? And how do you overcome them?

The key reasons that women in tech face unique challenges are:

  • We don’t look like the majority (majority = men)
  • We don’t sound like the majority
  • We don’t think like the majority

These result in challenges such as:

Challenge #1: Not feeling good enough in their jobs

Challenge #2: Not having strong social connections with team members

Challenge #3: Not speaking up in meetings

Challenge #4: Not being put up for visible assignments and stretch opportunities

Challenge #5: Not having the confidence to challenge ideas

Challenge #6: Not being treated in the way they want

Challenge #7: Being the one (and often, the only one) doing mundane work

Challenge #8: Not enough representation

Unfortunately, it can be a vicious cycle. The only way to overcome it is through self-confidence, self-worth and support from others such as mentors and coaches.

Answers coming soon...

Will tech jobs stay remote
Will tech jobs be automated
Will tech jobs be outsourced

If you've got a question about tech career, feel free to ask me by tagging me on social media.

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