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What is the best way to approach a career in technology?

Do employers look to see if you have had an internship in technology? What qualities about a future employee do companies most look for?

Thank you comment icon "Technology" covers a vast range of areas, so your first step is to figure out which aspects of the tech world really catch your interest. Alok Verma

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Anna’s Answer

You don't have to have experience in technology/IT/coding/computer science to work in Technology. For example, I'm a Renewals Manager, interested in speaking and helping people day to day. The main skill needed for this is communication.
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Yanna’s Answer

Employers often search for candidates who have completed relevant studies, such as computer science, engineering, cybersecurity, or data science, and those who have related work experience. For recent college graduates, employers are likely to be interested in individuals who possess specific skills or have been involved in extracurricular activities. They may also value those who have undertaken unique projects that show a keen sense of curiosity. If you've held leadership positions or been active in community events, these qualities are likely to catch the attention of potential employers.
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Tony’s Answer

Emma,
Technology is a broad field. If you don't know which major to choose, there are several books like "What Color is your parachute?" or take the Myers-Briggs Personality Test (such as this one here: https://mypersonality.net/). There are plenty of libraries in San Francisco. In fact, you can walk into almost any college library and read their college books for free!

Once you have an idea of what majors fit your personality, you can figure out a way to make it happen. Don't feel you have to pay for a traditional 4-year college. For example, you can get some degrees online, such as the University of the People ( https://www.uopeople.edu/ ).
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Nikki’s Answer

Great, news...there is nothing special you need to do to prepare for a job in technology in general! It all just depends on what kind of technology-related job you are looking to pursue. There are a lot of jobs in technology that do not require coding and a lot of IT knowledge. Technology companies need people in HR, Marketing, Sales, Project Management, Communications, etc. The foundation you build in those roles can transfer to any industry. My undergraduate major was Marketing. Out of college, my first couple jobs were in marketing and then I took the skills I learned and became a Change Manager at a tech company. As a Change Manager, I don't need to know all the ins and outs of the technical process. I just need to know enough to communicate to end users and drive adoption. Hope this helps!
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Hayden’s Answer

In my view, the world of Technology is like a vast ocean, teeming with diverse roles such as Sales, Marketing, Program Management, Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), Infrastructure, and many more. Once you pinpoint an area that sparks your interest, you can then set your sights on tech companies and begin your journey through the interview process. Once you're part of these organizations, I believe it's much simpler to flourish and expand your skills internally. This is often easier than trying to break into a field from the outside, especially if it's not something you're already familiar with.
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Nathan’s Answer

"Technology" is a rather broad career area and can encompass anything from software development to information technology technical support to developer advocacy to network engineering and so on. In talking about skills relevant to the technology field, we would need to narrow down your interest within that field before we can get to specific technical skills. That is, a software developer is going to want to focus on programming-related skills, and even then that depends on the kind of software they are going to develop. A server-side developer will focus on different APIs and libraries (what some people call a "tech stack") than what a front-end web developer would focus on. While there might be some cross-over, like JavaScript is used widely in the web development world, if that isn't your area of interest, then you will not want to focus on that.

However, a set of skills that applies to all technology disciplines that employers want has to do with "soft" skills: being able to communicate clearly and effectively in both written and verbal forms, professionalism, active listening, cultural sensitivity, project and time management skills, and leadership abilities. These skills won't necessarily be enough to get you a job in technology as you still have to have actual technical skills related to the field you are interested in pursuing, but these are skills any and everyone should have to engage in a professional career.

Internships can help when it comes to applying for full-time jobs because it shows you have work experience, and the more your internship duties reflect the technology field you were pursuing, the more it will interest potential employers. However, you do not have to have internships.

Nathan recommends the following next steps:

Perhaps look through the job titles on this CompTIA certification cross-reference and see if there are any that strike your interest. I would not worry about certifications right now, but they will give you insight into the skills for these jobs. Once you have a job or area within technology you might like to focus on, you can drill into it and see what other technical skills might be useful. Page is: https://www.comptia.org/content/lp/it-certifications-job-match
Another good place to look for general career information about technology careers is the US Bureau of Labor Statistics page called the Occupational Outlook Handbook. They have information on broad category technology careers here: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm
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Chuqi’s Answer

As many have pointed out, technology encompasses a wide array of potential career paths. To start, I recommend exploring each possible path, identifying those that you believe you would find fulfilling on a daily basis or those that align with your strengths. Once you've narrowed down your options, connect with professionals in those areas, and if possible, secure an internship for a first-hand experience in your chosen field.

Regardless of your specific focus in technology, tech companies typically value individuals with strong learning and problem-solving skills. While prior internship experience isn't always a prerequisite, it can certainly give you an edge in the competitive tech industry.
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Courtney’s Answer

I think when it comes to technology one of the best qualities a candidate can have is the ability to adapt and learn. Since technology is ever changing, it is impossible to know everything about a given topic. You could have a ton of experience and still have never used a language a company works with. However, if you can speak to how your previous experience can help you learn how a company works with technology and what technology they use, I think it can go a long way!
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