Pros & Cons: Insight into the Tech Industry
Are you looking to break into the tech industry, and thinking about whether it's a worthy way to spend your time? Though many people may think they understand most of what there is to know about working in tech, the industry itself remains a sort of enigma sometimes: potentially tempting, but also difficult to clearly see into. This can make it hard for people to truly understand whether they really want to pursue a career in tech, and not be able to fully grasp what such a career might entail. To help you out, here is some insight into the industry in the form of a few pros and cons.
o Pro: Pay & Benefits
Many people may know that jobs in the tech industry pay, on average, higher wages than many other industries. However, did you know just how large the discrepancy is? According to a survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average tech job annual wage in 2018 was $86,320, while the average for all other industries was $38,640. As is true with every job, the wage is dependent upon the position, skill, seniority, and other factors, but even entry-level positions can bring in a relatively high salary—in fact, a starting salary close to the overall average wage of other industries. Furthermore, not only are tech employees paid well, but they are also provided with many nice employee benefits, such as healthcare, paid parental leave, and more. All in all, on the financial front, there exist many incentives to work in tech.
o Con: Stressful Work
Of course, no high reward comes without responsibility. Tech jobs are known to be rather stressful, whether that just be in your workplace, or with other people outside of your workplace. In the workplace, many of your tasks have to do with solving various emergent problems and fixing various critical issues. Depending on which department you're working in, you will also have many strict deadlines one after another that you must work long hours to meet properly. In general, you're likely under pressure for long continuous times. Additionally, it's not uncommon for people in tech to work over the weekend and overnight on bigger projects such as upgrades and migrations. This is especially true if those are the times that work best for the whole team, since work hours can be hard to coordinate on larger projects. If you're looking to go into tech, be prepared to work hours that can end up being rather long, sometimes unusually so.
As for outside of the workplace, sometimes the stress does not necessarily stop; it can just take on a different form. If you work in tech, people around you may designate you as their go-to person for advice and help regarding all things tech. For example, if their device is experiencing a problem, you may be one of the first they turn to for assistance, even though you are not their hired service. It may feel stressful, like you and your time are being taken for granted, but just keep in mind that you are being sought out this way because your profession and knowledge are very well respected.
o Pro: Opportunities & Prospects
It is no secret that the tech industry is packed with opportunities. As one of the most modern, frontline development-pushing, ever-evolving industries, tech brings many benefits such as job security and positive job prospects. Entering the industry itself guarantees that you will be able to find a job, and a well-paying one at that. You will also not have to worry about not being able to continue working in tech at any point, as jobs are always surfacing left and right. With new projects constantly starting up, you will always be in a job, and there will always be opportunities for you to look out for. There is also always the golden opportunity of creating your own start-up, which many people in tech give a try. Overall, the industry is one of the best for finding and staying in a secure, well-paying occupation.
o Con: Underappreciated Work
One thing that can potentially frustrate people working in tech is the way customers and clients can sometimes treat the workers. In general, people can be slow to appreciate and quick to blame. The hours and hours of work that tech employees put into their work can often go unnoticed or underappreciated, especially since the average person may not fully understand what exactly goes into making their tech run smoothly and how user-friendly interfaces exactly work. As a result, when everything is going very smoothly, tech workers are rarely commended for it. Meanwhile, as soon as one small thing goes wrong, people tend to pick up on it immediately, and tech workers become the target of the blame. If you are someone who feels the need to often be properly recognized for your work, keep in mind that this recognition can be difficult to find in the tech industry.
Alongside these pros and cons, there are also a couple of toss-ups of working in the tech industry. These are things that tend to happen when you work in tech, but they sort of serve as both pros and cons; there is no strict dividing line between these below items, since they have both a good and bad side.
o Always Learning
If you work in tech, your learning will be constant and endless. As a very modern industry, information in and about tech updates all the time. This means that you are always having to learn new information in order to stay up to date on the latest trends in tech. Of course, being in a state of constant learning can be both good and bad. On the one hand, you will need to spend a considerable amount of time refreshing old knowledge, absorbing new knowledge, learning to reconcile the two and replace information where necessary, and keep track of it all. This can be reasonably overwhelming, especially as an additional responsibility on top of your other required tasks. You are among the group of people who do not get to “stop being a student” after graduating school! Your learning continues. On the other hand, you can be sure that your knowledge of your industry is always the freshest and newest there is, and by constantly learning and applying new information, you can train your brain to remain flexible, sharp, and adaptive.
o The Timing is Up To You
One other nic (but potentially tricky) part about working in tech is that with the exception of the occasional firm deadline and odd work hour, jobs generally do not have work hours that are as strict as other professions. This means time management is key, and that you will need to manage your own schedule and impose a structure that works for you. With no externally imposed structure most of the time, paired with many tasks to complete and deadlines to meet, it can be easy to lose track of productivity and feel overwhelmed. However, bear in mind that the lack of strict work hours also means, more importantly, that there is comparatively more flexibility in this field. As a result, you will be able to do things like take vacations and personal time, so long as you ultimately manage to get all your work done one way or another.
As is with any career path you might ultimately choose to pursue, there are many pros as well as cons. There is a reasonable mix of upsides and downsides in an industry as modern, complex, and evolving as the tech industry. Ultimately, no industry is perfectly flawless, and tech is no exception. However, at the end of the day, it is well worth your time to spend some time getting to know what your life may look like if you do choose to pursue a career in tech. For more details on life in tech, job searching, and other relevant information, feel free to check out our other blog posts.