What personal characteristics are important for a successful career in tech
Curiosity, an enthusiasm to learn, and a team spirt. Tech is very much a people business!
When did you realize that a career in tech was something you wanted to pursue?
I was curious in high school but intimidated to go “all in,” believing it might be too difficult. So, I majored in accounting but minored in IT in college. That was the best decision I ever made. It allowed me to learn with a modest commitment. As my confidence grew, so did my enthusiasm to learn. My interest in a career didn’t blossom until after I graduated from college.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about careers in tech?
A career in tech does not have to be an explicit decision. We are all living in a world of tech, starting with the daily use of your smartphone: the apps you use to look up directions, connect with your friends, shop, and stay in touch with the world around you. Every career out there operates on a foundation of technology.
When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in tech?
When I was in elementary school, I discovered my interest in technology. Oftentimes, I would play computer games with the boys in my class. I believe having this initial interest in technology has definitely fueled my interest in technology and cybersecurity.
The biggest misconception I believe that young girls have about pursuing a career in tech is, it is not a field for women. While it is true that the tech industry is predominantly male workers, more and more women are beginning to pursue careers in the industry. In fact, the tech field is made up of a diverse group of individuals with different sets of skills and specialties.
What do you find most exciting about a career in tech?
What I find most exciting about a career in tech is being able to be creative and innovative. A career in tech allows me to be at the forefront of new inventions, and have exciting opportunities to learn more about artificial intelligence and machine learning. A career in tech means that I am employable and will always be able to learn a new skill. I also enjoy attending tech conferences and learning more about Cloud Computing.
What motivates or inspires you every day?
Knowing that I can be creative and continually learn and develop new skills that are marketable to an employer. Being a woman in tech means that I must prove to male counterparts that I, too, can be successful and get the job done just as proficiently as they can. It is a challenge that I meet and succeed with my knowledge of technology and creative ideas.
What personal characteristics do you think are important to have for a successful career in tech?
To be successful in technology you do not necessarily need to have a degree in Engineering, Biology, or Mathematics – you do, however, need to have a curious mind, a desire to solve problems and create efficiencies, and the ability to ask the right questions.
I do not think there was a point in time where I purposefully pursued a career or opportunity in tech. I am fortunate to work for a great company that allowed me to take opportunities that developed my interests and skills, specifically in coding and analytics, that eventually led to a technical role. I love problem solving, working in a team environment, and am very detail oriented, so the more I recognized that my strengths would provide an advantage in a more technical capacity, the more I wanted to pursue those opportunities.
What motivates / inspires you to do what you do every day?
Working in a team environment doing work that truly matters and has a direct impact on the people of my company is both motivating and fulfilling. You spend a lot of your life at work, so it is important that you actually enjoy what you do – and I genuinely think my job is cool.
What personal characteristics do you think are important for a successful career in tech?
I believe that curiosity, initiative, and communication skills are essential for having a successful career in the IT industry.
Technology is an ever-changing field and curiosity about the ins and outs of existing technologies and a desire to learn new and evolving technologies is critical to staying competitive. Initiative (combined with curiosity) is key to seeking out solutions to issues, understanding root problems, and taking on things outside of your comfort zone. Communication skills are crucial to being able to surface your ideas effectively to be able to enact change within an organization. The most successful IT professionals have great communication skills that enable them to distill the most complex problems and solutions into an easily digestible language and give them context within the business view.
The biggest misconception people often have is that you will be stuck in front of a computer all day in isolation.
There are a lot of exciting aspects to careers in tech. In my role, I support mission critical IT systems for a government Department of Defense mission. I lead a team that ensures the safety, security, and availability of data for the military health system which in turn supports veterans, active duty service members, and beneficiaries. What I love most is how I can directly see how my work makes an impact to improve their lives.
What characteristics are important for a career in tech?
Patience, collaboration, and knowledge.Don’t be an employee, be “the” employee. Honesty, loyalty, stubbornness, hungriness, goals, dedication and most importantly commitment should be your brand. We need you, need your skillsets, uniqueness, care, aggressiveness and intellect.
When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in tech?
When I was 11 years old, I started playing with computers. I started doing programming through games for kids. It was just a hobby at the time. I started working in IT when I was studying in Jordan. Then I moved to the United States and worked in multiple positions all surrounding IT.
One big misconception is that careers in tech are too difficult. They aren’t too difficult. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who think cybersecurity is very difficult, but it’s not. It’s like reading a new book for the first time. When you read it for the third time, it makes sense and you get it. Then you’ll excel at it.
What’s exciting about a career in tech?
There’s always something new in tech. You will never stop learning. There are always jobs available and tech careers pay a lot.
A career in tech requires a strong desire to learn… This also requires patience and perseverance. Sticking with tough concepts and really comprehending them is vital. And finally, I think empathy is a defining mark for those in tech. Many of the technologies we build or work on are user-focused, so keeping others in mind and understanding their pain points will propel you forward in your career.
I discovered my passion for technology in middle school, when I had setup a web hosting company. Fast-forward a few years and I had graduated to designing and developing websites.
Sometimes there’s too strong of an emphasis on learning hard skills, like programming or data analytics. Hard skills are essential, but they shouldn’t be developed to the detriment of soft skills. These are the interpersonal skills critical in developing relationships with other people. A huge part of a tech career is pitching ideas and sharing your vision. Without soft skills, you lose the ability to build coalitions needed for day-to-day projects, long-term strategies, and career goals.
What tech blogs or resources do you follow regularly?
There are tons of free resources available in tech. I follow several niche blogs catering to front-end development, like CSS Tricks, as well as design, such as Smashing Magazine, and general technology, like TechCrunch. I’ve also found Meetup.com to be helpful for those early in their career by showcasing relevant topics and connecting like-minded tech enthusiasts. The wonderful thing about tech is that nearly everyone is willing to give you a helping hand.
What inspires you to do what you do every day?
Knowing that the work my team does has an impact on thousands and thousands of people keeps me engaged.
What personal characteristics do you think are important to have for a successful career in tech?To be successful in technology you do not necessarily need to have a degree in Engineering, Biology, or Mathematics – you do, however, need to have a curious mind, a desire to solve problems and create efficiencies, and the ability to ask the right questions. No one knows the answer to every problem, but staying motivated, innovative, and resourceful will provide you with the tools you need to succeed and develop a dynamic approach to technical problem-solving.
At what age or stage did you realize that a career in tech was something you wanted to pursue?I do not think there was a point in time where I purposefully pursued a career or opportunity in tech. I am fortunate to work for a great company that allowed me to take opportunities that developed my interests and skills, specifically in coding and analytics, that eventually led to a technical role. I love problem solving, working in a team environment, and am very detail oriented, so the more I recognized that my strengths would provide an advantage in a more technical capacity, the more I wanted to pursue those opportunities. It was more of a progression than a strategy, but the interest was always there – my company just provided me with the tools, mentors, and roles to meet my potential and push me out of my comfort zone into tech and analytics.
What do you think is the biggest misconception younger people have about pursuing a career in tech?I think many young people think tech is a narrower field than it is, or that you must have a background in a highly technical area to succeed – which is not the case. As technology advances in product and process, there are so many opportunities to serve in a technical capacity – you just need to be willing to explore prospects outside of your comfort zone. Anyone can learn to code, or use visualization software – and these are valuable skills in today’s market. Just because you are not an engineer, scientist or mathematician by trade does not mean tech is not an option – just be willing to learn, work hard, and stay curious.
What do you find most exciting about a career in tech?The most exciting part about working in tech is how quickly things change and how much opportunity there is to make a difference. Whether it is the tools we use, products we develop, or work processes, there are more creative and efficient resources than ever before. Being a part of the change and helping to shape what our company might look like in 5-10 years is both motivating and fulfilling.
What tech blogs or resources do you follow regularly?I have a great manager who pushes us to read academic studies and articles about innovative phenomena, trends, and tools in our field. This forces us to stay current on the resources or metrics used by competitors and peers, as well as drives us to constantly question why we do things the way we do to see if there is a better or more innovative solution.
What motivates / inspires you to do what you do every day?Working in a team environment doing work that truly matters and has a direct impact on the people of my company is both motivating and fulfilling. You spend a lot of your life at work, so it is important that you enjoy what you do – and I genuinely think my job is cool. Knowing that there is so much opportunity to impact the company and grow personally is inspiring to me, and helps me to stay motivated and interested in my field. 3 years ago, I would have never thought I would be in this position, and with all the opportunity in analytics right now, I am excited to see where I will be 3 years from now.