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How to hone your skills and create a successful career in tech

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ARTICLE SUMMARY

Amanda Whicher, Director at Hays specialising in Technology, gives us her four top tips for females looking to improve their skills and leave their mark on the tech industry.

The world we live in today is so digitally enabled that technology is a fundamental part of the way we live our lives, whether that’s ordering food through an app, video calling a relative from halfway across the world, or accessing services that support everyday life.

Those entering this exciting sector have a crucial role to play, as technology has the power to drive society forward.

With rapid advancements in technology, the demand for top talent is sky-high; majority of technology employers (94%) experienced skills shortages last year, according to our UK 2023 Salary and Recruiting Trends guide. Women are key to the changing technology workforce and can bring different, innovative and creative perspectives to the table which are essential for progress within tech and to help bridge the skills gap.

Amanda Whicher, Director at Hays specialising in Technology

Here, Amanda Whicher, Director at Hays specialising in Technology, gives us her four top tips for females looking to improve their skills and leave their mark on the tech industry.

With over 12 years of experience in the recruitment sector, Amanda has a wealth of insights when it comes to the challenges employers face accessing and retaining talent. She has a particular interest in encouraging more women into tech, to expand their career opportunities and create more diverse and inclusive tech teams.

Amanda is passionate about matching the top technology experts to organisations, through life-long partnerships and workplace solutions, to support both clients and candidates to meet their ambitions and thrive in the ever-changing world of tech.

CONSIDER YOUR AREAS OF INTEREST

Be clear about the area you are most interested in to assess what is needed of you. Consider what you want to do within tech for the next 12 months, then carry out lots of research to build your awareness of that area. This gives you a realistic timeframe to focus on, especially if you’re unclear about what you want your long-term career path to look like.

Don’t feel confined to that area though, as what we are seeing today is the ability to weave between different specialities within the technology sector. For example, 10 years ago, if you were a developer, you were a developer, whereas today you could be a developer for two years and then decide you want to move into project management or cyber security.

Think about not only what you’re good at but what you are passionate about, as you’re more likely to be fulfilled by a role in a field that genuinely interests you. Since tech overlaps into so many corners of life, consider how you can fuel your passions through a career in tech. For instance, if you’re fascinated by the film industry, you could utilise your tech skills within the world of film.

MAKE THE MOST OF DIFFERENT RESOURCES

One of the most effective ways to hone your skillset is to find and access the resources available. Training and development programmes, some of which are free, will enable you to develop the digital skills which are increasingly important. Being able to demonstrate your skills will be key in driving a successful career in tech; for instance, creating a portfolio of work in the development world is a great way to illustrate your ability without currently working in tech.

There’s been rapid growth in terms of cloud, cyber development and data so training courses are a good way to respond to that pace of change. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is another stark reminder that we need to be skilled at adapting to change.

It’s also crucial to keep up to date with different trends and news in the wider world of tech to stay in the loop and consider how it might impact your career. Discover the most reliable and insightful industry-specific publications and regularly check these.

KNOW THE POWER OF NETWORKING

To get the most out of a career in tech, build a network by engaging with people in the relevant communities; listen to other people’s experiences, share insights and make contacts within the sector. You can do this online or in-person, by attending events and reaching out to different people. Building your network could provide you access to opportunities in the workplace through recommendations. It also demonstrates your passion and involvement in a community even before you interview for a role.

Networking could help you to discover which area you want to go into and create a sense of belonging. There’s probably a community of developers that work in insurance for instance, so do some homework to find out which networks will help you to thrive. The importance of soft skills, such as good communication and problem-solving, should not be underestimated and networking is a great way to develop and utilise these skills.

FIND YOUR PURPOSE

According to our salary guide, 82% of tech professionals deem an organisation’s purpose important when looking for a new role. It’s important to understand the whole cycle of the tech you work with, including the purpose behind it and how it’ll impact the end person that may engage with that technology. Consider your specific area in its wider context to help give your work a sense of purpose.

Having females in a technology workforce can offer a more balanced view in terms of how we’re driving the agenda within an organisation. Women have the ability to be successful in any area and being part of a modern tech workforce can offer you the flexibility and opportunities to drive a successful career for the future. As it stands, we need more female role models in tech to be able to inspire other females into the sector. With a strong skillset and ambitious mindset, you could contribute to that change and help shape the workforce of tomorrow.

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