Talent for Tech? 4 Ways to Create the Career You Want

If you have an aptitude for technology, then this is a great time to be building a career. Every day, we entrust our businesses and our personal lives to algorithms, apps, semiconductors, and sensors. With so much of the world being driven by technology, someone with a talent for tech can create and shape their career to achieve anything they want. Here are four things you can do to create the career you want:

Decide if you want to work for an established firm or a startup.

We tend to think of companies like Uber or Tesla when we think about technology, but don’t forget that companies like IBM, GE and Cisco spend billions on R&D and new technology products every year. Whether you choose to work for an older company or go toward a startup will depend on how comfortable you are with risk and how important you feel it is to have a lot of autonomy. If you’re really interested in working for a tech startup, then visit sites like CrunchBase and AngelList to learn more about funding, startup trends, and who is hiring.

Figure out where you want to have an impact.

Technology is a broad category, encompassing everything from search engines, to mobile phones, to self-driving cars. Decide where your priorities lie–whether you want to build hardware or work at a Utah software company, you should always prioritize your unique career objectives when choosing where to start. You’ll need to narrow things down if you want to create the best career for yourself. Spend some time reading the technology sections of newspapers to see who is getting headlines and then visit blogs and company websites to discover what questions and challenges tech companies are trying to overcome. Once you know what’s being worked on and by whom, you’ll be able to decide what part of the tech industry you want to enter.

Do Your Research

Different tech companies and tech industries depend on specific sets of technologies or “stacks”. If you want to work for them, then you’ll need to be familiar working in these environments. For example, Google does a lot of it’s coding in C++, Java or Python. You’d want to know and like, at least, one of these languages in order to work for them.

Get Connected

Regardless of the industry, having a strong professional network can help you find opportunities and start a new career. But building a strong network of technology professionals is especially important because it can give you access to the people developing the next Unicorn. There are some hotspots for tech like Silicon Valley, but most major cities now have a tech community and an incubator. Find out what’s going on in your area and then start attending events. You can use sites like Meetup.com to find events related to the technologies you know, as well as, events geared toward startups or specific technology challenges.

The Opportunity is There

If you have tech talent, then there is nothing stopping you from creating a career that fulfills you. You will need to do some legwork, but the opportunities are out there and the technology industry is hungry for talent. Good luck!

Emma is a freelance writer living in Boston, MA. She writes most often on technology and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and rock climbing.