Growing up, I remember well-meaning adults advising me that when it came to jobs and careers, I should separate my creative pursuits from my work life. It was fine to play music or paint or do creative writing, but these things weren’t going to provide a good living. Do them in your spare time, but focus on getting a stable and predictable job to pay your bills.
Of course, most of us do want stability (and some degree of predictability!) when it comes to employment. I’ll go out on a limb and assume that most people want a workplace that isn’t going to evaporate tomorrow and where clear duties and expectations are communicated. But stability and predictability in the sense of this advice often just meant jobs that were boring.
It’s very possible that you could spend 90,000+ hours of your life working. If you’re not doing something you’re passionate about, then this sounds like a really bleak sentence. If you’re doing something you love, though, it suddenly becomes a life well-lived.
And then you hear about everything a career in tech has to offer: flexible schedules, remote work, great pay (even in entry-level positions). But as great as it all sounds, that’s the domain of computer science doctorates, right?
Wrong. In fact, there’s a very good chance that tech really is for you, in ways that are so obvious you just haven’t thought of them.
Does that sound crazy? Take a look at these five questions, and once you’re done see how you feel.
1. Are You Creative?
There’s no more inaccurate notion about the tech industry than it being all about one’s and zero’s. Those play a big part, of course, but tech is much more varied than that. From web developers to UX designers to marketing assistants and data analysts, “tech” covers a lot of ground, and the one thing that all those jobs have in common is that they’re creative.
In fact, creativity is the foundation behind almost everything in tech, making it an ideal field for fusing your passions with dependable employment.
Do you like turning your ideas into tangible things? Expressing yourself on a stage, canvas, or page? If you have this creative drive, you’re a short list of skills away from translating that creativity to the digital realm. Think of those one’s and zero’s as creative tools like the language you use to write with or the paints you use for visual arts. Do they seem a lot more friendly now?
Remember, at the end of the day, any piece of tech hardware, software, app, or website is ultimately a creative work of art. If you’re creative, you’re a natural for this kind of work.
2. Are You a Problem Solver?
In addition to being a creative industry, tech is a living, evolving network of problems to be solved. There is no “there” in tech, no end point.
How do I take this idea that’s in my head and bring it into the world? And, once I bring it into the world and see what works and what doesn’t, how do I continue to build it and shape it and perfect it? And once I’ve perfected it and I notice its new defects now that it’s perfect, how do I go about perfecting those?
If you enjoy the process of problem solving and the challenges and rewards it brings, tech might be right for you. It’s no different than figuring out a way to make a persuasive argument in an essay or finding out how to sculpt a vase in the shape you’ve envisioned—it’s just a different framework and a new set of tools.
3. Are You a Lifelong Learner?
If you’re creative and a problem solver, I’m willing to bet you might also be a lifelong learner. You’re probably not the type who slammed the books shut the second school was over and walked away, never to inquire again.
4. Are You on the Outside Looking In?
One of the biggest obstacles to pursuing a tech career is feeling like you’re on the outside looking in. If you’re new to the idea of working in tech and don’t know a lot about it, it might seem like you don’t have direct access to an inside track.
Luckily, there are a ton of resources out there to point you in the right direction. On top of that, your status as an outsider might actually be a benefit.
Since tech is always changing and evolving, the more perspectives you can bring to the table, the better. Think of all the experiences in your life so far as a positive. You aren’t operating inside of a bubble, so you might be able to think about things in a way someone inside that bubble can’t, or see things that others can’t see.
Embrace your outsider or newcomer status and let it help you stand out in a good way. Also, keep in mind that the soft skills you’ve picked up along the way in other fields still apply in tech. This article from CIO.com talks about soft skills that employers should be looking for, and none of them require a tech-specific background.
5. Do You Like Innovation?
If you’re bored or unchallenged by a job in which the same things happen every day, I have to assume you’re more into innovation than you are unoriginality.
By working in tech, you will literally be working with new technologies as they emerge. I can’t remember a day that I didn’t use YouTube at least once, but YouTube has only been with us for a little over 10 years! It changed our entire world—so quickly that we barely even noticed it. Imagine being on the frontline of these reality-altering innovations and not just being a spectator. It beats clockwatching, right?
Being an industry of innovation, tech also applies that innovation to itself, and chances are most jobs you’ll find won’t involve a 9-to-5, A to B linear work environment, either. More likely you’ll be able to find a job with a schedule that tailors itself to your needs, or even one that allows you to work remotely.
Think about these questions, and if you answered “yes” to any combination of the above, a career in tech might be closer than you think.
For everything you need to know to get started on the path to a tech career, check out the Ultimate Guide to Coding for Beginners.
This article was originally published on Skillcrush. It has been republished here with permission.