If you’re interested in finding a job in the tech industry, chances are you might be feeling a bit put off by many of the rumors about the industry. While it’s true that the industry may seem intimidating due to its rapid-pace development and high demand, many of the widely circulated rumors are actually not true at all. From cultural assumptions to actual day-to-day working lifestyle, many of the rumors are indeed just myths. Here are a few of the most commonly believed myths about the tech industry—as well as why and how these myths should be debunked.
o Myth #1: Extensive Experience & Education Required
Many people seem to believe that in order to succeed in the tech industry or even break into it in the first place, you first need to obtain a degree or other marker of advanced education in fields relevant to tech, such as math, science, or coding. This is completely untrue. There is a substantial amount of people working in tech without any degrees, and thanks to the existence and increasing popularity of a multitude of online classes, you can really get a solid foundation in tech skills anywhere. The resources are truly right at your fingertips.
Furthermore, the tech industry actually offers a wide variety of job opportunities; you don’t necessarily need to have been thoroughly educated in math or science to find a place where you fit in tech. There is a diverse array of work to do in the tech industry besides purely STEM-related things, and as a result, there are a diverse range of avenues available to you through which to access the tech industry. Website design, blogging, and marketing are just a few among the many possible job options.
o Myth #2: The Work You Do is Narrow
The tech industry can seem all-consuming and static, which can be a significant turn-off for many people looking to find a job that offers creative flexibility. Tech can also seem like a hard-and-fast, black-and-white line of work, with minimal wiggle room. The truth, however, is that individuals who choose to work in a tech profession are not at all roped into one narrow course or field. If you also wish for opportunities to exercise creativity and express yourself, there are also many opportunities to break out of the coding shell. Many people in the tech industry dabble in various jobs and roles; again, there are many different styles of work in tech besides just hard coding. These jobs are all integral to ensuring that a tech company runs smoothly, and they all require a hefty amount of artistic ability, creative exploration, and communication skills. As a result, you’re able to achieve a great blend of hard and soft skills in your profession.
o Myth #3: Lack of Diversity
Another common myth about the tech industry is that it is very lacking in diversity, with regards to both race and gender. When looking in from the outside, the industry can often be perceived as a very rich, white, male-centric space. This reasonably disincentivizes BIPOC from even attempting to pursue a career in tech, due to concerns about how they might be perceived and treated by coworkers and the industry as a whole, or if they’d even be fairly considered for roles that might easily go to white male counterparts.
However, the tech industry is actually quite diverse—and is steadily growing more diverse. For starters, there is actually a large amount of women working in tech, both as regular employees and as founders, CEOs, and major leaders. There are also structures in place to support these women socially, such as in-person and online communities, as well as meet-ups located in major cities, with one prominent example being Women in Technology.
Secondly, according to the Wall Street Journal, 41% to 69% of employees at nine of the largest tech companies—Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo!, eBay, and Intel—are of minority races. The same source reflects that 27% to 37% of leadership positions are occupied by minority employees.
The issue of diversity—as well as equity and inclusion (DEI)—is becoming increasingly critical, not to mention visible in the tech industry, so it’s steadily upwards from here.
o Myth #4: Inflexible, All-Consuming Hours
Due to the hard-and-fast perception of the tech industry, it can often be viewed as a very strict and harsh line of work, one that rarely allows for wiggle room and vacations of any sort. Perhaps coders and computer scientists are seen as individuals who work for hours on end without being able to take a break.
It’s true that if you’re involved in a start-up, which many people in the tech industry end up being, you may need to work longer hours every week to get your start-up off the ground. The general truth about the industry, however, is the polar opposite; working in tech actually often gives you hours that are quite flexible, as many tech companies are more lenient with their work hour strict requirements. There are also many jobs out there that give a reasonable pay for part-time hours. But, even if you are working normal hours, working in tech allows you plenty of space to achieve a proper work-life balance.
o Myth #5: Location Makes or Breaks You
If you’re planning to pursue a career in tech, you may feel socially and culturally pressured to live somewhere where tech is big and prominent. After all, it’s best to go where the jobs are, right?
While this is true in some respect—companies are always scouting, after all—keep in mind that tech is literally everywhere. If you’re worried about job insecurity, worry no further. Since skills are easily transferable from company to company, with the exception of start-ups, jobs are extremely easy to find under any circumstances. Tech is one of the industries in which you can most easily find a job anywhere, so you don’t necessarily need to live in Silicon Valley to “make it” in the industry. With the steady rise and recent upsurge of remote work—with tech being quite a remote-friendly line of work—finding a job online is also always an option, and an easily accessible one at that.
At the end of the day, the tech industry is far more flexible than it may appear on the outside. While various myths such as the ones above may make the industry seem intense and intimidating, don’t let stray assumptions discourage you from making the most of your job search and career in tech. As tech is one of the most modern, front line fields, remember that no matter who you are—whether you’re a coder, mathematician, businessperson, creative, or someone else—the tech industry most likely has a place for you!