Want to join the ICT sector but worried because you’re no good at math?
Numerous myths about careers in technology are stopping people from chasing their dream jobs in the sector. Here are ten common misconceptions about working in tech and why you shouldn’t believe them.
1. Tech is just for men
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Plenty of women in the tech sector have successful careers, and the Singaporean government’s efforts to close the gender gap are starting to bear fruit. Data from the Ministry of Manpower shows that the percentage of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) has increased from 29.9% in 2015 to 32.4% in 2022. Moreover, support groups like Girls in Tech Singapore play a part in promoting diversity in the sector, while the SG 100 Women in Tech Awards also help to highlight women’s achievements in tech.
2. You need a computer science degree
You can get into tech without a STEM degree. However, that does not mean going into the sector with zero knowledge under your belt. The important thing is to demonstrate that you have the skills required for the desired role. To arm yourself with the right skillsets, you can take short courses and boot camps, or even build your own websites or apps on GitHub and add them to your portfolio.
Plus, landing a job requires not just hard tech skills. The transferable soft skills that you’ve gained from previous non-tech job experiences—such as project management, communication, and flexibility— can also help you get your desired role.
If your heart is set on a highly technical role like data engineering or software development, consider signing up for a place-and-train programme. These job placement programmes are designed for mid-careerists without a tech background to learn on the job. Some examples are the WSG Career Conversion Programme, Microsoft’s #GetReadySG and IBM’s TechSkills Accelerator Company-Led Training programme.
3. You must be good at maths
Some tech jobs such as data analysis do require a high level of mathematics knowledge. However, there are plenty of in-demand roles that do not require such proficiency. After all, tech firms need HR personnel, accountants, and salespeople, too. You can always enter the industry by applying to a non-tech job at a tech company, such as digital marketing, UX designer, customer success manager and more.
4. You need to know how to code
The tech industry has spread out into so many different specialisations, many of which do not require coding. This is especially true for tech-lite roles. For instance, you don’t need to do coding as a content strategist or social media manager.
If you do hope to transition to a tech role in future, you can begin by learning the basics of coding as long as you know basic arithmetic. When it comes to coding, or any job in IT, for that matter, it’s more critical to have good problem-solving and analytical skills than to be a coding genius.
5. There’s no room to exercise your creativity
In reality, there are all kinds of creative roles in tech – web designers, game designers, augmented reality designers, UI/UX designers, UX writers, etc. No matter what your job is, you will need to employ your creativity to develop elegant solutions to problems.
6. Tech is a solitary job
If the thought of having to work all on your own day after day is putting you off, think again. Every job requires some form of teamwork. Even if you work from home, you will need to coordinate with your colleagues and supervisors via regular online meetings. Besides, there are always opportunities for employees to bond, such as team-building sessions, team lunches or after-work drinks.
7. People who work in tech are all geeks who play video games
This may seem like a trivial myth, but according to The Guardian, this belief hinders women from joining the field. Firstly, there’s nothing wrong with playing video games or being a passionate geek when it comes to your hobbies! Everyone has their likes and dislikes. Secondly, as with any other industry, there are bound to be all kinds of people with varying personalities and interests in tech companies.
Regardless of how we may define “geekiness” and “nerdiness”, the tech industry has long proven to play a crucial part in daily life, and stereotypes should not stop us from forging a meaningful career in the industry.
8. Everyone in tech is young
This is another assumption that is not quite true. Tech companies hire many experienced individuals – we can just take a look at tech company executives, such as Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, and Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. Even if you’re just starting out in tech, it’s never too late to upskill and make the transition.
There are programmes specially designed for career switchers who have no background in IT, such as the TeSA Mid-Career Advance programme. It helps Singaporean citizens aged 40 and above to reskill while working in tech-related roles such as software engineering, business analyst, cloud solution architect, and more. With such initiatives in place, aspiring digital workers can develop the skills they need while getting hands-on experience and working with mentors, regardless of age.
9. You’ll get stuck with a single career path
As we have covered above, tech is a massive industry comprising many different fields. As technology evolves and increasingly permeates more aspects of life, new jobs and specialisations will continue to emerge.
Hence, if you start in one area and realise it’s not a good fit, you can easily pivot to a related field by upskilling. For instance, you might be working in digital marketing, then discover that you have a knack for analysing data and become a business analyst. The possibilities are endless!
10. You’ll wind up working at a start-up
If the idea of working for a small start-up doesn’t appeal to you, fret not – you still have plenty of options. Beyond the tech giants we are familiar with such as Grab, Meta, and Google, many SMEs are going digital and looking for talent with tech skills. For instance, many retail companies have opened online shops and will need web developers, UX/UI designers and digital marketers for their e-commerce websites and apps.
Now that we have busted some of these myths about working in the ICT sector, it’s time for you to get out there and hunt for your next job in tech!
This article is contributed by Jobstreet.