Think that a career in tech means spending day after day in front of your computer with no human interaction besides ordering your morning mocha from a teenage barista? That you’ll be up late working with just your keyboard and a pool of cold blue light?
Working in a technical job—as a web developer, for example—is one of the highest paying career paths you can choose. But that’s not the only perk. Tech happens to one of the friendliest and most collaborative industries around.
Don’t believe me? These four aspects of working in tech are just right for people who love talking to other people, collaborating, and working in creative, high-energy jobs.
In tech in particular, products and services are all about the customer, a.k.a., the user. That means much of your work in a tech job will be centered around the people who use what you or your company creates. As a UX designer, for example, you could be talking with a focus group about a new feature for a website or carrying out usability testing with individual users of an app. Either way, you’ll be doing lots of talking with (and hopefully even more listening to!) people. No lonely days here.
If your job in tech doesn’t put you directly in touch with users, you’re likely to be in contact with internal customers (or clients if you're freelancing) on a regular basis. At the very least, you’ll be in regular communication with your colleagues and bosses. That means you won’t just code from 9 to 5 and then call it a day or spend all week working on wireframes and then head out for the weekend. As you work, you’ll need to be able to explain what you do clearly, concisely, and constantly.
This is true even if you work remotely, which is becoming more and more common in tech. If you’re on a team with members all over the country or world, you won’t have the chance to stop by your project manager’s desk or ask your boss a quick question. So sharing information and keeping people in the loop is even more critical in a remote position. Counterintuitively, a distributed team could be the place for the extrovert in you to shine!
Web developers and web designers often work in big, lively teams where collaboration is the name of the game. Collabs can take the form of pair programming with another developer or agile development with teams from several different departments.
In any case, you typically won’t be left figuring out things on your own. Instead, you’ll be discussing, defending, and developing your work with your co-workers and vice versa. Or you’ll be working with customers to understand their needs and keep them informed about what you’re doing for them. That all makes it especially important for you to have some stellar social skills and enjoy plenty of back-and-forth on a daily basis.
Even outside your job, you’ll find a huge group of people whom you can learn from, share with, or just enjoy getting to know in the larger tech community. That might look like going to local meetups for your programming language of choice, helping out as part of an open-source project, participating in a hackathon team, attending or organizing workshops or conferences, or even being a regular on a discussion forum for an online course. Whatever you’re into, you can find your own “tech tribe” for improving your skills, contributing your knowledge, and making like-minded friends.
So, welcome to tech, you social butterfly! Even though your most important tool will probably be your computer, you will not end up alone in your basement or stuck in a cubicle for 20 hours a day. (Unless that’s what you want, of course. Did I mention that tech is flexible?)
If you’re a people person, you will feel right at home in tech. In fact, your extrovert personality makes you even more qualified for a fantastic career doing what you love.
Photo of people working courtesy of Shutterstock.