I am lucky enough to be in London this week, and even better, my visit coincided with a Tech Careers event at the Chartered Institute for IT. This event was organised in collaboration with the Central Careers Hub in London, a group of professional careers practitioners who come together in the same way that I do with my peers in Melbourne.
It goes without saying that opportunities in Tech Careers are increasing rapidly all over the globe. But what does this mean exactly? What Tech Careers exist worldwide, where are they and how does someone train for a career in the Technology sector? In this blog I will try to answer some of these questions.
According to the Tech Sector Report, published by Andy Gardner and Catherine O’Mahony in good time for London Technology Week, “technology means Digital Technology” and Digital Technology enables huge amounts of information to be compressed and easily moved around…(and) transmitted super quickly”. To facilitate this we use computers, telecommunications, media and more. “Digital technology has completely changed how we communicate and work”. So tech careers are here to stay and they exist in both the tech industry and increasingly in other industries where specialist tech workers are employed. Some businesses/industries are “born digital” eg gaming and mobile phone apps. Others have been changed to become technological, or “disrupted”, such as financial services.
Where it then starts to sound a bit more complicated is when parts of the tech industry are categorised according to their different sectors or types. These might be Google, which is used by everyone, and then there’s others such as Fintech, or Healthtec (medtech), which are used in particular work areas. You can actually put tech at the end of anything – Edtech is linked to education, Cleantech is related to environment and energy efficiency. These special tech sectors that digital companies are working in are known as Verticals. The ones like Google, used by all, are called Horizontals.
There are some really funky job titles used in tech careers, and there’s probably little to be gained by my listing these, because quite honestly, there are more and more job titles being invented as each new technology comes along. The most important thing to consider for the sake of this blog are:
Who would like working in tech careers?
How do you train for tech careers?
I’ll give you some examples for the first question:
- In her role in Public Relations, my daughter takes care of social media for her clients. She can use technology in some aspects of her work. For example, a business client wants to generate awareness of a new product. One thing a PR Assistant can do, in a tech sense, is to find people who have thousands of followers on instagram, whose posts are relevant to the client’s new product, send that person some samples with the agreement that those products will feature on his or her posts/blogs, thereby giving the company massive exposure overnight for their new product.
- Someone who loves blogging; who may have created their own website without any training, is someone who would like technology based work, as frankly that’s something their doing already for fun.
- Someone who loves computer gaming, has always had a fascination for how things work – has maybe even pulled their computer apart and put it back together again, or who has built a computer.
And for the second, question: How to train:
- Some businesses are taking on apprentices and putting the trainees through tech training courses, and a degree is not deemed essential as the on-job training is so applied, current, evolving that they end up having really smart experience.
- Some graduates of technology-based courses, diplomas or degrees, can do well entering tech start-up companies because no matter what the specific training they received during the course, they can apply that base knowledge broadly.
Significantly, tech careers pay well and the sector is growing. For English readers it is interesting to know that “Tech City” in the East End of London is the second biggest hub for tech companies after the Silicon Valley, in the USA. According to the UK Tech Sector Report, the tech industry contributed to 91.1 billion UK Pounds Sterling to the UK economy in 2014, with tech sector jobs growing 11.2% between, 2011 and 2014 – nearly 3 times faster than the rest of the workforce. Furthermore, the number of tech sector specialist workers is expected to increase by 28% between 2014 and 2024, compared to 8% for all workers. This is likely to be echoed in much of the advanced economic markets world-wide.
So if your young one, or you are in doubt about what to do in your spare time, consider creating a website, or starting a blog about your favourite anything. It will teach you amazing tech skills that might stand you in good stead to be the successful applicant for all manner of jobs. Even if you’re applying to be a part-time barista, the cafe owner may want to get some publicity going for their new location, and may not know how to post a photo on instagram. You could be the one to do that for him/her – suddenly you have tech competency that can appear on your resume.
If you’re seeking work, make sure your resume details any tech activities or experience you may have.
Look for apprenticeship opportunities that will offer the training in tech specialisms. If you gain employment with a business that is prepared to sponsor your training you will start work with no tertiary debt. There’s a good incentive!
I can see many benefits to considering tech careers as one of the pathways to explore. Tech careers represent jobs for now and the future. Consider being part of the tech explosion.
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