From time to time you come across an outdated, or an altogether false, article on the internet about what it’s like working in a particular field. These articles only serve to scare people away from taking up a job in a specific industry, and they’re usually nonsense. IT is sadly no exception to this rule.
In this article, we will debunk some myths that might be holding you back from starting your career in tech. Read on to see that IT is a promising field to work in...
Myth: You have to have a degree to work in tech.
Many people think that you have to have a degree, or an equivalent qualification, to start any sort of career in tech. This is false.
Undoubtedly, having a Computer Science degree can open some doors in the IT industry, and candidates who have it might be preferred for specific positions. But, many IT jobs do not require a degree.
When recruiters in the IT field are looking to hire a new individual they look at the individual’s skills and experience. These count far more than anything else. So, get a good portfolio set up and do plenty of work experience, and you’ll be on your way to a successful career.
Plus, going to a professional school or college is just one of many ways to educate and train yourself ready for the IT world. Nowadays, you can choose between hundreds of online courses, offline schools, and various bootcamps to learn about IT.
Or, you can choose to self-educate and learn the skills you need by reading books, listening to podcasts, or watching YouTube videos. So, by the end of these learning experiences you might not have a classic degree, but you’ll have skills!
With or without a degree, you can still work in IT.
Myth: You have to be good at maths to work in IT.
IT jobs are not all about math, so you don’t have to be a maths genius to get a job in IT.
Of course, if you want to work as a data analyst, you will need an in-depth understanding of statistics and math, but most of the time a basic understanding is more than enough.
In most IT occupations, the following skills are incredibly important; logical reasoning, analytical thinking, and organizational skills. These skills are typically favored more than being a mathematical wizard!
Actually, you’d be surprised to learn how many developers say that they need a calculator at work to solve math problems.
So, even if you are more creative than mathematically minded, you can still consider working in IT. For example, you can always choose from multiple design-based roles.
Myth: IT Jobs are only for young people.
Anybody, of any age can work in IT. However, given recent publications, it’s clear why this myth has surfaced. Let’s look at this in more detail.
There are recruiters who give preference to younger candidates. For example, in 2017 the New York Times and ProPublica published a report suggesting that companies like Facebook, Amazon, and others only target people under 36 or so, with their recruitment ads. But, many of these companies changed their recruitment strategy after this finding was published.
Other researchers have also claimed that it is significantly harder to find a job once you turn 50. But it’s not impossible.
This is the current situation in IT, let's look at the results from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Below are the median ages of people in different IT occupations:
- Web developers - 37.2
- Software developers - 39.1
- Software quality assurance analysts and testers - 42
- Database administrators and architects - 42.3
- Network and computer system administrators - 42.8
So, as you can see, many of the people working in IT today are in their 30s and 40s. But, there are people in their 50s and 60s working in IT. Don’t forget there are IT specialists all around the globe, and these statistics above are based on a small percentage of people in one country.
On that note, it’s never too late to start a career in tech. Of course, you will need specific skills to get a job in the field, but you don’t need to spend years getting the right skill set.
Myth: It takes years to learn the necessary skills to work in IT.
Many people think that they need to learn all the IT technical skills before they can start applying for IT jobs. This is false.
If you actually read job ads, you will see that the requirements vary significantly from company to company. That's because different businesses develop different products, have different processes, and use different tools.
So, if you attempted to learn absolutely everything about IT, you’d take years and years, and you’d probably never learn everything anyway.
Instead of trying to learn all the details, you’ve got to be strategic. You need to learn the basics, then you need to get a job, and improve your skills while working in that job. Don’t try to learn everything in one go!
How long does it take to learn the basic skills? Well, that depends on the individual. Some people require more time than others, and some people prefer to practice more than others too. It would be difficult to give an exact timescale.
However, if you completed our Manual QA testing course, you could join the course, graduate just four weeks later, and get a job in a few months.
Most of our students don’t have any tech experience before they start either, and they still manage to find a job just a few months after finishing the program.
We’ve got grads working in companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Samsung, and many others. So, learning doesn’t need to take you too long.
Do you learn absolutely everything during this short program? We do our very best to cover all the major points, but there will inevitably be skills that you will learn in an IT job. What we know is, our grads learn enough about Manual QA to get hired at global companies.
Myth: Tech jobs are only for men.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 25% of all employees in computer and mathematical occupations are women.
There are multiple reasons for why there is a gender imbalance. Here are some things to consider:
When computers first came out they were marketed as toys for boys, and parents rarely bought them for girls. This a very old and widespread stereotype but it has impacted how computers are seen, particularly for people in their 40s and 50s.
Today, girls and boys use computers from a young age, which is why more females are joining the IT field.
Another possible reason is the lack of female role models in the IT industry. Most of the leadership positions are held by men. But here are some inspiring exceptions:
- Mitchell Baker is the Executive Chairwoman and CEO of the Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation.
- Elissa Murphy is the Vice President of engineering at Google.
- Elvira Wallis is a Senior Vice President and Head of the Internet of Things at SAP.
- Tara Prakriya is a General Manager at Microsoft within Azure Edge & Platforms.
- Sheryl Sandberg is a Chief Operating Officer at Facebook.
Of course, this list of reasons is not complete, and you might have your own knowledge on the topic. However, the above examples prove that not only can women work in tech companies, but they can also lead companies towards great success.
Over the past decade there have been many initiatives set up with the goal being to boost girls' participation in coding and computer science projects. And many tech companies are trying to close the gender gap. Hopefully, the industry will be more balanced soon.
In the meantime, IT is not just for men. If you fancy giving a job in IT a go, try it out!
As you can see, there are many misconceptions about getting a job in tech. But don’t let these myths discourage you from starting your career in the IT field. Your age, gender, and financial situation are not that important. It’s your determination to invest some time and effort into learning new skills is what matters.