It has been two years since I graduated from college and started working in the web industry. As one of my first “grown-up jobs,” Soholaunch opened a whole new world of work and experiences far beyond the short-term jobs I worked in high school and college, like camp counselor and golf cart maintenance clerk at a golf course.
This post is for all the new college grads out there who aren’t sure if they want to become part of the tech industry. It may mean starting out as an intern, but it’s well worth it. And if you graduated with a liberal arts degree and aren’t sure what you want to do with your life at all (like me two years ago), don’t count yourself out.
The number one myth that I want to break for anyone who’s still unsure: You don’t have to know all things technical to be worthy.
Many people have the assumption that they need to know five types of coding languages and understand advanced networking to even be considered as a worthy candidate of working in the tech industry. But you don’t have to be an expert in the beginning.
Other skills that you may not even consider as valuable in a tech company are indeed very valuable. These immediately transferrable skills are:
Skill: You’re good at teaching and explaining complex topics on a simpler level.
Job translation: There is a place for you in front line support or a writer for user documentation. Both of these roles make you explain to customers your company’s product in the clearest way the situation allows. It’s helpful if you don’t forget your newbie mentality and the issues you had when you had to learn about the product your first months on the job.
Skill: You enjoy experimenting with software and want to try to figure it out and push its limits.
Job translation: You could make a good start as a quality assurance engineer, who makes sure a software or service can withstand customer usage and determines what it can and can’t do.
Skill: You may be shy on the phone or in person, but you shine in forums and via chat and personal messaging.
Job translation: Forum community moderator. Community moderators make sure the company’s support forums are friendly and helpful for customers and respond to their questions with forum posts. They also work behind the scenes to stop users who try to abuse the system, like spammers. Check out out the Soholaunch forums if you haven’t already.
Skill: You have a knack for solving other people’s problems in high pressure moments, even when it means asking others for help and researching answers with your time.
Job translation: You have a place in account management, making sure customers are happy with the service and want to stick around, or you go above and beyond to try to stop a cancellation.
There are definitely more advanced levels of these jobs than what it may sound like above. For example, quality assurance has a whole side of automation testing that can get fairly technical. However, experience has shown me that you have to start somewhere in a tech job, the same as most other industries. Much of the more advanced aspects of the work can be learned in the process of showing up, listening closely, experimenting with what you learn, and solving problems with your new knowledge.
So the tech industry need not be too intimidating for you to try to get into. A knack and interest to learn more about technology can complement the skills from above to make you stand out. And the industry could use new talent with wide experiences -- even the motivated liberal arts majors.
Are you interested in starting work in the tech field or transitioning to it? If you are still undecided, what are the reservations that hold you back? Let us know in the comments.