TMCnet Feature
April 22, 2021

The best qualifications and skills to land a tech sector job

There’s little doubting the world has changed almost beyond recognition in the last 20 or so years through the continuing advancement of technology and the internet. As the influence and importance of the web continue to grow and increasingly sophisticated devices become ever more entwined with our everyday lives, tech is coming to dominate our planet. Indeed, it’s almost impossible to imagine any facet of life these days that doesn’t rely on technology to some degree – for everything from how we communicate to shop or watch media.

A world standing on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution

While many previously reliable jobs are starting to disappear and concerns about future labor opportunities preoccupy many experts, there is one sector that shows zero signs of slowing. Even with the growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the demand for employees with skills relevant to the tech sector continues to grow apace. Indeed, many esteemed employment experts suggest we’re on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution – a world where tech dominates – and believe a good proportion of the jobs of the future haven’t even been imagined yet, only likely becoming apparent in the coming years.

Just as previous industrial revolutions changed working practices forever, so the endless march of technology is predicted to transform how, where and how we work in the future – not to mention the types of roles that will be most in demand. However, while the future jobs market might not be crystal clear, one thing is for sure - preparing now for an increasingly tech-oriented world will have a dramatic impact on your employment prospects in the future.

The best formal qualifications for easy entry into the tech market

Given the modern tech industry is only around 30 years old, the sector has matured at an impressive rate and already, even in its relative infancy, offers considerable employment opportunities. Indeed, with the relentless pace of integration of technology across all industries, many tech-related opportunities exist in seemingly disparate markets. 

For example, advertising and marketing have been transformed by technology in recent years offering completely new positions that didn’t previously exist such as social media managers, web admins, content producers and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists. While many tech-related jobs might require additional dedicated study to break in, there are nonetheless some stalwart qualifications that will undoubtedly open doors into most positions.

Bachelor of Science degrees: One of the most assured ways to break into the tech market is by studying a relevant Computer Science or Computer Systems degree. However, even those with other BSc degrees will be considered for technical roles, providing they can supply adequate evidence of possessing related skills. For example, if you attained a BSc in biology or physics but learned to code in your free time, you will likely be considered so long as you can show proof of your knowledge, perhaps with an online portfolio or Github library.

Masters of Science, MEM or MBA: Another very popular route into tech roles is with a Master’s qualification – and it’s worth noting many graduate technology jobs require this additional level of learning. You should also be aware there are considerable differences between a Master’s in Engineering Management (MEM) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree and different roles will require the different skills taught in each. It’s also worth remembering many institutions now offer this level of learning online meaning, if you’re looking to extend your skill base, you could take these studies while continuing in your existing employment.

A general university degree: Although a considerably less reliable route into the tech industry, many employers will still consider applicants with a degree in unrelated subjects – though you will find likely yourself at a considerable disadvantage if competing against those with the qualifications listed above. As ever, being able to show evidence of your skills (even those learned in your free time) will go a long way to convincing prospective employers that you’re suitable for the job.

Other ‘soft’ skills that will aid your application

No job is completely assured on qualifications alone and employers will typically look for other so-called ‘soft’ skills to ascertain whether you’re a right for their company. These include - but are not limited - to:

Proof of high levels of motivation: Given the fast-paced nature of the tech sector, you will often find yourself having to work off your own initiative, motivation and drive. Technology bosses are more than aware that there will be frequent situations where your boss will be too busy to hand-hold or motivate you so being able to show you have the drive to complete tasks alone will greatly help your application chances. Self-produced projects or taking a course online while still working in your current job help show you have the motivation to work alone.

Planning and organizational competency: Most projects in the tech sector require a lot of hat-wearing, taking on different roles or jobs at different times, yet staying focussed enough to be able to organize your workload and prioritize your time allocation. Also, an employer will ideally want to see you have the ability to do the same for work colleagues or lower members of staff.

A high attention to detail threshold: Even the most basic of programming or database tasks can be scuppered by something as small as using a colon instead of a semi-colon. A prospective employer in the tech sector will be looking for beyond-normal attention to detail skills to verify you can avoid making errors that might delay the delivery of a project. The majority of tech work involves working to tight deadlines – whether imposed by a client or by the in-house hierarchy – so pace, accuracy and laser-precision are pre-requisites for most employers.

Stellar interpersonal and communication skills: There is a very common misconception that those employees in the tech and computer industries work alone, hidden behind computer screens having no contact with the outside world. Actually, the total opposite is true and most tech jobs involve working with a variety of different stakeholders, often from very different backgrounds (tech and non-tech). To complete a job on time and on point, you will need strong team-working, communication and interpersonal skills to make sure everyone involved is kept in the loop and up to speed.

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