I keep this blog to remind myself that life does not boil down to a job no matter how much you enjoy what you do. So I write about my travels, happiness hacks, my attempts on photography and almost never about work. However, I was reflecting a lot recently on what I do and where I want to get, and I have tapped myself on a back (as much as it is technically possible to tap oneself on a back) for having chosen the most amazing industry to work in. So here is why I love tech.
Level playing field. No need for the bar exam. No need for an MBA. No industry elite. You should just be good at what you do and be passionate about it. Some of the best coders (and CEOs of unicorns, the most valued startups of the Silicon Valley) are school dropouts. Steve Jobs was a school dropout. So were Bill Gates and Larry Ellison (the founder of Oracle and, in case it does not ring a bell, the world’s third richest man at some point). What is common about people in tech though, they are smart. Some academically smart, some consultant-smart, hyper tech savvy and some just know how to market and sell. You learn a lot from them, every day.
Great if you can code. If you can’t, there is still plenty for you to do. Caveat to the point above (and a personal example): it sure does help to have an MBA to get in. However, that means that what you are good at is connecting the moving parts of an ever shifting puzzle. That’s by far not the only thing you can do in tech. It is not even the key part. You can love Sales, Marketing (and I am not even talking digital!), HR, Business Development – and do great stuff in tech.
Never boring, always changing. Nothing is what it used to be half a year ago. Business plans are scrapped after several months, projects get 360 degrees makeover in the middle. Small experimental projects catapult to new business. It is exciting and it is life. Some people call it ambiguity (which to some extent is fair). I just love the pace. And you do learn a lot managing all this complexity to reach your goals, as well.
Tech does not have geographical boundaries. There are multinational corporations in almost every industry, with teams across the world co-creating products, services, design. In tech, however, I can take a U.S. partner on a project in Kazakhstan, 100% remotely. The project will be done in a few weeks, a bank will introduce a completely new way of making payments, and the partner won’t have to leave their office.
You witness great industry changes, and you are part of it. You see traditional businesses being challenged (and, often, outsmarted) by newcomers. Centuries old institutions lose still small but yet lucrative pieces of their business to fintech, companies with often a few dozens employees, a great bold idea and a new way of doing old things. Many ideas like that are flying around. They are all about challenging traditional way of doing things, challenging status quo, transforming the usual, about improving everyday life, about making dreams come true.
You can do a little bit of it all. No jobs in tech belong to someone historically. There is no job history in tech. And if there is, it does not matter. You can do licensing today, then change to sales tomorrow and end up driving business development (for now). Being great in something opens you ways to try yourself in areas where your experience is zero but your passion is hundred. That gives a great understanding of the business overall – and a whole new set of ideas.
You can actually change people’s lives. I know, I know, pharma says it. World Food Programme says it. Even Donald Trump says it these days. But in tech, you actually do changes peoples’ lives, just because technology is such a vital part of what we do every day (not to say that hunger or American politics is not). Having access to Internet opens up a whole new world of opportunities. Geographical boundaries and time zones are fading out because of all the communication means invented over the last decade. Bringing mobile to the developing markets opens microfinancing, when having a phone becomes an equivalent of opening a bank account. This list is endless, really, and the best thing is that you can add what you think is most relevant to it, and then make it happen.
Women in tech. They can be mothers of many or devoted singles, study Japanese literature as a hobby or row, wear converses or Louboutins, but they are great. And they are very inspirational. There is something universal about women in tech, and it probably is the fact that they make the traditional gender rivalry obsolete. In tech, the main asset is intellect, and having that makes the gender, race and other traditionally contradiction factors irrelevant.
Working mobile. Working style is one of the best things about being in tech. I am not talking weekly travel, flexibility of working any time of the day and having the latest devices, even though personally I love it all as well. The best thing is new ways of being productive and doing things. I don’t want it to sound like a product pitch (and it fact, there is more than one product), but today’s opportunities for collaboration, content co-creation and switching between devices while working on the go are just unparalleled. And yes, it is great to be able to work from the beach (provided that you can actually work at 35C+ with the hot sand at your feet and the sea whispering in your ears). But just imagining what you are able to accomplish with the new ways of doing things is way more exciting.
On a personal note, I love tech because my dad has a double Doctor’s Degree in Physics and Mathematics. In a way, being in tech brings me closer to him.
I have fun, too. I am lucky to work with people who become my friends. We do have a lot in common. We travel together, we call to share personal news, we stay at each other’s places when we are in a different country. We learn from each other. We laugh a lot. But then, it’s Microsoft, not just tech.