7 things you need to know about working in tech

Maru Nihoniho - working in tech
Maru Nihoniho, founder and managing director of Metia Interactive. Image: Maru Media

Ever thought about working in tech? Before you take the leap and head down that study path, find out from tech professionals exactly what it’s like to be in this industry and what it takes to set yourself apart in it.

1. Starting your tech journey early will give you an edge

Don’t wait for a uni degree or VET qualification to teach you tech skills you could easily learn at home. “There are so many amazing resources these days – Khan Academy, YouTube etc – that you can, to an extent, basically teach yourself anything before you score a job,” says Mark Varney, a graduate software engineer at CBA. “Learn how to learn – and most importantly how your mind works.”

RELATED: Careers with STEM coding resources

2. It can be fun AND meaningful

Maru Nihoniho, who started her own game-development business, combined her passion for technical drawing and gaming with her skills in computers and science to create a career she truly enjoys. She’s also realised her talents in tech can be used for good. “I’ve turned making games into something more meaningful, where I can put educational themes or learning objectives through the games I develop now,” she says. “That’s my purpose within this business.”

3. A solid understanding of computer science will be super helpful

Wanna work in tech? An understanding of computer science is vital. “Whether you want to help cure diseases, make the next animated movie or fight climate change. It’s the computer scientists who figure out how to solve the problems we face today,” says Tara McIntosh, who works for Google Research.

4. You need to keep up with the latest innovations

Your learning doesn’t stop at school, uni, TAFE or college. In the extremely fast-paced world of tech, you need to stay across new ideas and new innovations in the industry. “The more you learn, the easier it is to find ways to solve problems,” says Michael Quandt, a software developer at Animal Logic. “Every time a new technique comes out, something old gets pushed aside. If you aren’t up to date, you get left behind.”

Telstra graduate, Shahriar Khan, agrees. “The skills you pick up at university become outdated fairly quickly, so you have to be willing to learn, to pick up new skills regularly and adapt fast to new technology.”

In other words, working in tech will keep you on your toes!

Shahriar Hasan Khan - work in tech
Telstra graduate, Shahriar Hasan Khan. Image: Jesse Marlow

5. Diversity of thought is important

It’s the ultimate way to problem solve! “If you see a problem that needs solving, and you have any sort of idea how to do it, just go for it,” says Isaac Brain, a coder who took home the 2019 BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Award in the Engineering category. “At BHP I saw so many amazing projects covering things I could never have thought of, all solving different problems in creative ways. The more people who put their ideas out there and work with them the more amazing stuff we’ll see.”

6. Your attitude matters

Opportunities come to those who are open to them. “People tend to overthink their careers in the early stages, but it’s important to take any opportunity that comes your way,” says Christina van Houten, a cybersecurity strategist at Mimecast. “There’s always a place for good people, and if you have a great attitude, people will notice you.”

7. You need good communications skills

Working in tech is collaborative, so you better know how to express your ideas, back up your opinions, give constructive feedback and really listen to your team mates.

“We all work in teams. Being understanding and making other people feel comfortable is critical to being able to build something together,” says Fontaine Foxworth, a product manager at Google.

Serene Chia, a senior consultant at Deloitte, agrees that communications skills are important and says,”There are plenty of workshops using loads of coloured Post-It notes!”

Wanna know more about careers in tech? Head on over to our Get into Tech hub.

Louise Meers

Author: Louise Meers

Louise is the acting digital editor for Careers with STEM. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals.

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