Finishing school is a huge achievement and also an exciting opportunity to have some freedom on where to take your life as an adult.
But with the excitement of finishing school, so to can a feeling of pressure. It’s likely that you’ve been asked a number of times “what are you going to study?”, “what are you doing next year?” – for many, it can feel like the stress of school is just replaced with the expectation of having something else – be it study, work or otherwise.
The reality for many school students, is that they aren’t actually certain what they want to do after school. And that’s okay. This is a time in your life where you’ve got so many options – this is a good thing. But deciding on which option to pursue is hard. Knowing what motivates and interests you is a good place to start. Just take care not to write yourself off from certain industries. We’d suggest doing some research into all fields before you make a decision.
You may discover career paths that are unexpected, but ideal for you. And remember – it’s common for us to have 3-4+ careers in our adult lives, so you’re never stuck.
Everyone should look into technology as a career path
As an IT recruitment agency we’ve hired a huge variety of personalities into different roles in New Zealand’s tech sector. We know first hand how different the present IT industry is to that of 20 years ago. Walk into a digital agency or tech team and you’ll be met with a breadth of cultures, ages and personalities.
You may be wondering ‘what would I do in the tech industry?’. We’re here to tell you that if you have any of the following traits, you could be exactly the person a future employer is looking for:
- Good at problem solving
- Critical thinking
- Lead or facilitate groups of people
- Love for human communication
- Creative flair
- Eye for design
- Mathematical, statistical or science skills
- Presentation skills
- Good at listening and understanding a particular challenge
- Writing ability
These are just some qualities that we see shown by the candidates we place into roles – at all levels of seniority.
The era of being tied to a computer for 8 hours is starting to disappear for many jobs in the sector, where emphasis is put on people, collaboration and communication.
So, here’s some reasons why you should consider a career path in technology:
It’s changing constantly
Technology is changing every day. This keeps it an exciting field to work in where there’s always new skills to learn. Our planet is going to rely more on technology to help solve big humanity challenges such as the environment, hunger, disease and social problems. Innovation in the sector can have massive impact on our society.
You’ll see changes in the industry like:
- Coding languages evolving to complete different tasks
- Hardware advancements like faster computers and new classes of device
- Artificial intelligence playing a bigger role in business
- Methodologies for working (such as Agile) to make IT better
- Crossroads of other industries like arts, environment and entertainment with technology, all with unique challenges and opportunities.
It’s true that many industries go through big changes if you stay in them long enough. But none move quite so quickly as tech.
There’s a big demand for talent
New Zealand is short on IT expertise available for jobs. This means better pay and more choices. Virtually all businesses have a need for tech talent so if you train in this field it’s unlikely you’ll have trouble finding a well-paying job. Read our article about 10 of the top IT career paths that will get you hired.
We’d always encourage students to chase their passion in work. If that passion crosses over with something applicable to the tech sector you may be able to earn doing what you love. And remember, tech’s universal reach to all industries means you can combine hard skills acquired through experience and/or study and apply these in an industry that you’re truly interested in – we see this happen regularly with our candidates!
You can travel with IT skills
New Zealand isn’t the only country with a shortage of IT talent. In fact you can be confident that should you relocate to places like the UK, Europe, Australia or America, gainful employment shouldn’t be far away. Chances are that some travel features in your plans for your 20s. If you’re able to gain skills and some experience at home, your ‘Overseas Experience’ might not have to be done on a shoestring budget!
Many travellers will map out their destinations based on where they can pick up contract work, working in different environments. Here not only valuable work experience is gained, but life experience as new work cultures are encountered.
And hey, if you love your employer in New Zealand (and they are flexible), you may be able to keep working in some arrangement for them as you travel. Check out our article on remote working.
You can (sometimes) work from home – or a cafe
Speaking of remote working arrangements, IT is a sector that can often provide flexible working arrangements. While some high security businesses or roles require you to be on site, other roles enable offsite working. If you’re the type who gets more done by parking up at the local cafe with a laptop, you may find a job with good pay that allows this in the tech space. Often design, UX and content writers will opt to do this if possible – you never know where the next bit of inspiration will strike!
There’s so many options for growth and development
It’s common for IT professionals to start in one place – say junior developer, and end up in an entirely different role, such as a business analyst. The great thing about the tech sector is that all experience you gain in the past will be useful for your current position. Consider a project manager with 3 years experience as a front end developer designing websites in their past. They will have a first hand understanding of the challenges encountered in web design and be able to apply this to project planning and problem solving. New Zealand’s IT sector is full of these stories, as individuals move through their career journey, finding roles that pique their interest and make use of varied skill sets.
If you are someone who doesn’t like the idea of staying in the same role forever, remember tech is pretty well guaranteed to give you a variety of roles.
The skills in tech are transferable
If you go down the tech route, be it development, design or otherwise, know that if you decide to make a career change you’ll be taking skills with you into the next adventure. Just some of the experience we see transfer well to other industries include:
- Business and commercial skills – budgeting, planning, forecasting, revenue etc
- Project planning
- People management
- Team collaboration
- Innovative problem solving
- Design and customer experience
- Eye for details and troubleshooting
Beyond these, the experience an IT professional gains through career often exposes them to the inner workings of different industries, sometimes planting a seed to move into these directly.
You get to work with great people
As much as we enjoy them, the old Dilbert cartoons about office cubicle life are no longer a reflection of the typical NZ tech environment! Kiwi tech teams are made up of all sorts of people and there’s usually some pretty entertaining personalities to boot. You’ll work in some pretty fast paced environments, so it’s important to have the support and positive attitude of others around you. When you’re still learning, you’ll rely on the help of other experience tech types to hone your skills.
Many of our employers we work with have built some incredible workplace cultures, and that’s largely down to the people in their team. Many co-workers have gone on to become lifelong family friends, and some even start businesses together.
Are you interested in learning more about your opportunities in tech?
If you’re interested in learning more about studying technology, our friends over at careers.govt.nz have a handy tool for searching out qualification providers for any area you’re interested in. Need some advice about which area of IT to focus on? Why not get in touch with our team?