The field of technology is wide-reaching, incorporating a range of sectors from software development to artificial intelligence, cybersecurity to data science, and many more.
But what does a career in technology really involve? The industry isn’t just about coding or building computers - it offers a wealth of roles and pathways that are as diverse and varied as the field itself.
To find out more about a career in technology, read our comprehensive ultimate guide below!
What is a career in technology?
Careers in technology span across all industries, offering services, solutions and tools that facilitate tasks, solve problems and streamline processes.
From start-ups crafting innovative apps to major tech giants developing cutting-edge technology, organisations in the tech field operate on various scales and in numerous domains.
For example, you might find yourself:
- Developing software at a company like Google or a promising start-up.
- Innovating in the biotech field, crafting technology to support medical advancements.
- Fighting cybercrimes and protecting data in cybersecurity.
What could your technology career pathway be?
There are a wide range of careers you could choose from, depending on your skills, what you are interested in and what you care about. Remember, the great thing about knowing how to code or getting stuck into data is that your skillset is pretty universal across all industries, not to mention across countries and locations, so there is no limit to the amount of opportunities you could explore!
Generally speaking, having a career in technology often involves working in one of the following main fields: software development, cybersecurity, system analysis, data analysis and more. We explore each of these fields, and the roles available within them, below.
- Software Development
- Software Engineer - writes and tests the code that makes software programmes and applications run. Check out our blog-post on “A day in the life of a Software Engineer here” for further insight into this popular career!
- Full Stack Developer - works on both the front-end and back-end of web applications, handling everything from user interface design to server-side programming.
- UI/UX Designer - focusses on creating user-friendly and visually appealing designs for software and websites.
2. Data Science and Analysis
- Data Scientist - works with big data sets and develops complex models and algorithms to help businesses make better future decisions.
- Data Analyst - examines data and runs analysis on big data sets to provide descriptive insights and data visualisations that help current business operations.
- Business Intelligence Analyst - focusses on translating business needs into data-driven strategies for improved operations and profitability.
- Cybersecurity Analyst - protects an organisation’s computer systems and networks from cyber threats and attacks.
- Penetration Tester - simulates cyber-attacks on a company’s system to find and fix security vulnerabilities before malicious hackers can.
- Security Engineer - designs and implements security measures to protect an organisation’s system and data.
4. IT and Networking
- IT Specialist - supports and manages computer systems and networks within an organisation.
- Network Administrator - responsible for the day-today operation of an organisation’s computer networks, ensuring they run smoothly and securely.
- Cloud Engineer - designs, implements and manages cloud-based systems and applications.
5. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
- AI Engineer - develops AI models and algorithms to simulate intelligent behaviour and decision-making.
- Machine Learning Engineer - creates algorithms that allow computers to learn from and make predictions based on data.
- Data Scientist (AI/ML focus) - analyses data and develop models to improve machine learning and AI applications.
6. Tech Operations
- Customer Success - ensures customers achieve their desired outcomes while using a product, fostering positive relationships and growth.
- Tech/SaaS Sales - specialises in selling software or tech solutions to businesses or individual customers.
- Project/Product Manager - oversees the development and delivery of products, ensuring they meet the users' needs and business objectives.
Whilst this is just a brief overview of the variety of different roles out there, there are many more specialisms and fields you could enter into depending on your interests.
To find out more on the different roles available in this field, check out this fantastic resource from Code First Girls here.
How do I know if a tech career is right for me?
The technology industry is renowned for being vibrant, fast-paced, and constantly evolving. If you’re looking for a career where you solve diverse problems, continuously learn and find ways to adapt to new technologies, then this industry could be for you!
The key skills required for a career in technology include problem-solving abilities, logical thinking, and creativity! Building your technical skills is essential, but don’t underestimate the power of transferable skills such as communication, teamwork and project management, too.
You can start developing these important skills in a variety of ways, including taking part in online courses, working on personal projects related to your areas of interest or by joining local or online tech groups and forums.
Find out more about the essential skills of today through our ‘Skills of the Future’ resource here!
What qualifications do I need?
Although specific A Level subjects might not always be mandatory, subjects like Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics or related fields are often highly beneficial. Some tech roles you might be looking at emphasise specialised subjects (e.g., Biology for Bioinformatics), so make sure to check to see if there are any specific requirements for your area of interest!
For more guidance on choosing A Levels, check out our blog here.
After leaving school, you could pursue a degree in Computer Science, Information Technology, Software Engineering, or even specialised fields like Cybersecurity, Data Science, or AI, depending on your interests. If university isn’t for you and you’d like to get some hands-on, practical experience while studying, you could combine work and study while earning a salary through alternative routes such as degree apprenticeships.
What does the career progression look like?
Career progression in technology often follows a typical pathway of employees progressing from junior roles to senior leadership positions over time. A typical route of progression can be seen below:
- Entry-level/junior role (e.g., Junior Developer, IT Technician)
- Mid-level role(e.g., Software Engineer, Data Analyst)
- Senior (e.g., Senior Developer, IT Manager)
- Lead/principal (e.g., Lead Architect, Principal Engineer)
- Management (e.g., CTO, IT Director)
The specific titles and progressions can vary by company and specialty, these are just here to show you an example. The earning potential in the tech industry is also notably attractive, with salaries varying substantially depending on the role, company, and your level of experience.
What can I do right now to prepare for a career in tech?
To start preparing for your future tech career from today, we recommend you:
- Learn fundamental tech skills (like coding or data analysis) through online platforms, courses and workshops. One of the best places for this is freeCodeCamp.
- Engage with tech communities and forums to stay on top of trends.
- Work on small projects or collaborating with peers to start developing a portfolio that showcases your skills. You could use platforms such as GitHub, render, or Tableau to help you.
- Find a mentor who will support you in your journey to finding a career in tech and keep you on track and inspired. This could be someone from your school, for example a previous student who has gone on to work in the field you are interested in, or someone from your personal network (perhaps a family/friend connection or someone from your past work experience). Also, see if there’s any inspiration you could take from notable tech names online. For example, Quincy Larson, the founder of freeCodeCamp, releases a weekly email with a wealth of knowledge on there for future software developers linked here.
- Keep an eye out for local tech events in your area! Make sure to network during and after the event. You could add the speakers and organisers on LinkedIn and share your thoughts and learnings from the event via a post. Make sure you tag the people you met there and follow up with them through a message. This is a really easy and effective way to start to expand your network of contacts.
To find out more about the power of social media for your career, take a look at our blog here.
- Gain relevant workplace experience, perhaps through local tech companies or startups, remote internships or freelance opportunities. This might be best achieved by approaching someone in your network, checking out student websites such as Rate My Placement and Student Ladder, or of course by exploring LinkedIn!
One way to super-charge your skills and gain valuable industry experience is through InvestIN’s Young Computer Scientist Programmes where you can learn from top professionals in the industry and test-drive life working in the world of tech!
Technological Literacy as a General Skill
Even if you’re not certain on a career in technology, one way to boost your employability is by focusing on developing your technological literacy. According to the recent World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023 technological literacy (the ability to use technology safely and effectively) is now considered one of the most important skills to employers today.
Developing your technological literacy includes:
- Becoming proficient with widely used software used in the workplace today (like MS Office, Google Suite).
- Understanding basics of internet safety and cybersecurity.
- Learning to manage digital data (storing, backing up, and organizing digital information).
- Engaging with basic coding concepts through free online courses.
To wrap up
Embarking on a career in technology is about navigating through a vibrant field that’s makes up so much of modern life. It's about becoming a part of innovative solutions, embracing continual learning and driving forward digital transformation across all industries.
Whether you're fascinated by data, intrigued by cybersecurity or captivated by software development, the tech industry offers a world of opportunities just waiting to be explored!
We hope you found this guide useful and you have everything you need to kickstart your career in tech now!
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