TMCnet Feature
September 30, 2021

How to Break Into the Tech Industry | Exactly What You Need to Know

The tech industry has always promoted an ethic of do-it-yourself, with some of the greatest icons bootstrapping their way to success from humble beginnings in home labs and garages.

In 2021, the game has changed slightly, and breaking into the world of tech may not be so easy anymore. Young entrepreneurs face new pressures from legacy companies, venture capital firms, and a notoriously demanding startup culture.

What can be done these days to break into the cutthroat world of tech, and how are things different? Here’s what modern business leaders have to say about their journeys so far.

Independent Thinking

In the early days of the personal computer and the proto-internet, there was no shortage of critical thinking or creative solutions.

Now, some business leaders fear that the spirit has downshifted, and a breath of fresh air will be required for the next spark of innovation. That’s where modern entrepreneurs have a chance to shine and break through.

“The problem is that in many big companies, the process turns into a substitute for thinking,” says Tesla Founder Elon Musk. “You're encouraged to be a small gear in a complex machine. Ultimately, it’s bad for progress. It allows you to keep people around who aren't that smart, and not that creative.”

Where are next-gen developers focusing their efforts? According to Dylan Fox, Founder and CEO of Assembly AI, technologies like deep learning, data transcription, and analysis are the new frontier.

“We’re peeling back layers of existing technologies and adding powerful new features into the fold that turn the product into something brand new,” said Fox. “When you look at something like speech recognition software, the potential goes way beyond creating a block of text. It’s about bridging the gaps between real people and AI. That’s how you make technology necessary, instead of just convenient or something nice-to-have.”

Fox and his team represent just one small corner of the AI industry, which will surely play a central part in the future of tech and entrepreneurship.

The Human Element

Some of the most impressive breakthrough stories in the tech world have unlikely origins. These are businesses run by people without the tech background you might expect as necessary to succeed.

Instead, these are entrepreneurs who identify a real, relatable problem and offer a solution that works for everyone. This is how the human element shines through, allowing underdogs to level up quickly in the tough world of tech.

“We can all agree that text has limited capabilities, especially from a marketing and mass communication standpoint,” said TextSanity CMO Carrie Derocher. “We identified that universal pain point for many teams and companies. That’s the kind of angle you need to make waves in tech and stand out.”

Some business leaders take a macro-level approach to entire sectors that may need a technical boost, or simply a roadmap to succeed in a digital world.

“You’ll notice how many industries are still a step or two behind the curve when it comes to tech and being optimized for the internet age,” said Tyler Hayden Read, Founder and Senior Editor at PT Pioneer. “If you can step up and be a beacon to help guide people to the next level, you’ll be rewarded for that.”

Security and Protection

Cyber security was never a spotlight issue for the tech innovators of the 20th century, but nowadays, everyone is their own walking local area network (an average of ten devices per person).

Countless new cyber threats have come about as a result, and tech innovators are there to fill the gaps as they emerge.

"To effectively reduce the number of cyber intrusions, a radical mindset shift is needed,” says Kumar Ritesh, Founder and CEO of CYFIRMA. “Leaders must redefine the concept of a strong cyber posture and view event-based security as an inferior approach to managing cyber risks and threats. A more effective approach to prevent data breaches and intrusion would be an intelligence-driven approach where a proactive hunt for threats is the focus."

On a personal level, many success stories have come from businesses meeting individual needs for security and privacy. Expect more of these companies to go big as privacy becomes a premium in an ever-connected world.

“Our flagship product Burner gives people a layer of anonymity with extra phone numbers, keeping their main number private,” said Summer Romasco, Brand Strategist and Marketing Director at Ad Hoc Labs. “It's a simple idea but it has huge implications for personal protection and peace of mind. These are the kinds of ideas that will catch on in the next wave of successful startups.”

Non-Stop Innovation

Like all things in tech, breakthroughs are about innovation, and turning those winning ideas into functional business models.

Some of the most promising new companies are looking to disrupt and revolutionize their products, while others just aim to outperform the competition in creative new ways.

“Our goal is to prove to marketers and sales teams that they can be faster, smarter, and more successful with our tools - not to prove them wrong or say they’re in the stone age,” said Kashish Gupta, Founder and CEO of Hightouch. “That’s how you win people over – by showing them what’s possible. Young entrepreneurs that understand this will benefit greatly.”

On the customer experience front, some companies are fine-tuning familiar processes like support, service, and sales with custom solutions that go beyond cookie-cutter.

“Our whole philosophy is to enable better experiences with tech, making things simpler and more accessible for people in every customer-facing role,” said Eric Gist, CEO of Awesome OS. “Once smaller companies realize what they can accomplish through CX technology and better service channels, a new world will open up for them. That’s where the next generation of tech has incredible potential - not just for big brands.”

The size and scope of the tech industry may be a bit different than in the pre-dotcom era, but the spirit of disruption and tenacity remains the same.

Breaking into this space is still possible, and moreover, it will be necessary to keep the wheel of innovation turning in the years to come.

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