- Data Science & Software Development
- E-Learning & Instructional Design
- K-12 Education
- Patent Law
- Research Administration
- Science and Medical Writing
- Science Outreach
- Science Policy
- Technology Commercialization
- University Administration
What it is
Technology is everywhere, and seems to be endlessly expanding. So too has employment opportunity expanded – not just in tech companies, but in technical roles in all types of organizations. Arts and humanities organizations, for example, need technically skilled people with arts/humanities knowledge to digitize, curate and repackage content (Digital Content Management). Large organizations have a pressing need to gather, manage and interpret large amounts of data (Data Science). All organizations need well-designed websites (Web Development and User Experience or UX). In addition, a great deal of non-technical work needs to be done around technology. Even tech companies need to do customer/user relations, technical writing, sales, business development and more. Much as all organizations depend on technology, all technology depends on communication. Communication skills are therefore at a premium in tech. You can take your strengths with you when you enter Technology.
Any position that involves technology, even if tech is a fairly minor component of the position, can serve as a good starting point for those seeking tech skills and experience. For those drawn towards less-technical roles, any position that involves communicating about technology will be a great start.
Once in your first position, use specific projects to develop technical and/or communication skills and also to watch your interests evolve. Advancement in tech is partly a matter of staying abreast with new technologies and achieving mission-critical feats, and also of pursuing your own interests as they develop. Which they will. Technology is always changing and never boring.
All disciplines can enter Technology, because they key is technical skills, not subject matter knowledge. Social scientists and others with quantitative, statistical, analytical skills will have an edge in data science, whereas those with arts or humanities training plus technical skills will have an edge in arts-or humanities-oriented organizations. People who can communicate well about technology are at a premium everywhere.
Personality and outlook
Most importantly, you must enjoy technology. Curiosity, patience and persistence are also very important because you will be learning all the time, even if you are in a communications role. You must be prepared to handle the frustration that sometimes happens when one is learning about technology.
Obviously, learn as much about technology as you can. Read up on companies that interest you, including but not limited to tech companies. Follow them on Twitter and watch what they’re doing. Practical experience is always excellent: get involved in projects that will both develop and demonstrate your skills.