With each passing year, more and more students and job seekers around the world are angling for careers in the technology sector. They’re making an excellent choice. In the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts job growth in that sector of 13% through 2026, which is almost triple the average growth rate among all professions. Also, the technology sector also provides some of the highest-paid careers available anywhere, with plenty of room for growth. The story is much the same elsewhere in the world.
Despite the rosy outlook, though, it’s still common for young professionals to begin working in a technology position only to quickly find themselves stuck in a job that they feel isn’t advancing their career. It’s an odd conundrum in a sector that’s brimming with opportunity, but the good news is that there are some steps that could help individuals in that position to break out and take the next step in their technology career.
Here’s what they can do.
Even when you’re in a job that seems to provide no path for advancement, there are usually ways that you can expand your area of expertise. One of the best ways to do this is to volunteer to take on projects that are tangential to your position but are still rooted in your core skills. For example, assisting with a data-driven marketing initiative may allow you to gain valuable experience working with data visualization and collection tools that may have otherwise been outside of the scope of your normal work. In today’s technology market, big data and analytics careers are growing at double the rate of all other technology jobs, and companies everywhere are competing to hire professionals with those skill sets. Gaining such experience in the real world can give you a leg up in the job market, should you seek a better position.
There are two universal truths in the technology industry: you can never have too much expertise, and there will always be more to learn. That’s because technology advances so quickly that it requires a dedication to learning and practice that you won’t find in any other sector. To advance in a technology career, these truths should be a guiding principle. Making the effort to earn new certifications and keep them current will do wonders for your career prospects. For those in more advanced positions, working to earn a Master of Data Science degree can open the doors to the highest echelons of the technology world and guarantee you a career path with almost no limits. Best of all, these are options that can be accomplished while working full-time, and at your own pace, so there’s no real downside to speak of.
Perfect Your Soft Skills
As anyone involved in the technology sector can tell you, soft skills like being a strong communicator or a consensus builder are often in short supply. After all, the ‘tech nerd’ stereotype that’s so ingrained in modern society isn’t entirely without basis in reality. That means that anyone that takes the time to develop and hone their soft skills will have an automatic advantage over the competition when seeking to move up. In fact, according to ZipRecruiter, many of the skills that employers look for when hiring for technology positions have very little to do with technology. Instead, communication, troubleshooting, and writing skills are in the top ten, with the rest rounded out by general technical areas of focus like SQL and Java.
Never Stop Working
In short, the best way to take the next step and advance in a technology career is to never stop working. Broaden your on-the-job experience and seek out training to learn new skills at every opportunity. Take the time to be an effective communicator, and figure out how to best work with others, especially those outside of your own comfort zone. Those are the keys to a rewarding and successful career in the technology sector, and they will guarantee you a future filled with challenges and opportunities for growth, for as long as you choose to keep striving for them.