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Tech News & Podcast | Africa

The Pros and Cons of Working in the Tech Industry

Technology has come a long way since the days of the first computer. From smartphones to artificial intelligence, technology has made our lives more connected, convenient, and efficient than ever before. As we move forward into the future, technology will continue to play an even greater role in shaping our lives.

Pros of Working in the Tech Industry

 Constant change and growth

Thanks to the insane speed of technology, there will always be a need to understand it and help others keep up. If you are someone who’s curious and thrives on lifelong learning, I can’t think of a better career that will stretch and push you more. The moment you think you understand a technology, it changes and morphs into something else. This is why working in tech can help hone one of the most important life skills out there: learning how to learn. Whether you’re a by-the-book type of learner or enjoy flying by the seat of your pants (*cough* me *cough*), there is something out there to help make the learning curve a little less curvy.

Better opportunities

For those of us who are willing to stomach the uncomfortable parts of change, there are endless opportunities to take technology and share it with others, including those who either refuse to learn it themselves or work in a company that shies away from anything new. In other words, there are companies and clients out there that need help. Like, a lot of it. From mom-and-pop shops to Fortune 500 behemoths, there are endless opportunities to show these companies the future of work. Throw these opportunities in with the fact we can now connect with almost anyone, and you have a potent potion for driving real change.

 Higher ceiling

When it comes to upward mobility in the tech industry, the sky’s the limit (at least in theory, but we’ll dive deeper into that later on). I know plenty of people who paid way too much to study something very specific in college only to enter the real world with no long-term job prospects. Do you want to know what they’re doing now? You guessed it: many of them have made the leap into tech. Now, I’m not saying everyone should quit their jobs and starting coding the next food delivery app — we still need doctors, teachers, and accountants to keep the world running. I’m simply suggesting people who want better job prospects should at least consider dabbling in tech, or at least a career that’s tech adjacent.

Larger impact

This is one of the reasons that resonates most with me. When you think about it, the internet allows us to connect with people from all over the world, which means we now have the potential to positively affect the lives of millions, all from one computer. Before the internet, scientists and other inventors were basically discovering the same solutions to the same problems — they were just doing so in solos all over the world. Now, if you’re interested in solving a problem, there’s a good chance someone else has at least started looking for the solution. Why not connect dots that already exist instead of creating a bunch of new ones?

More flexibility

Flexibility has been another big reason for me to work in the tech space, especially when making the transition from freelancing to full-time consulting. At this point in my career, I can’t imagine working for a company that still has an “ass-in-chair” policy. Thanks to the nature of our work, we can and should be able to work from anywhere with a decent Wi-Fi connection. This also helps people tackle the ongoing challenge that is work-life balance, especially when kids are involved. These days, there are plenty of tech companies that are 100% remote, which means you can work from anywhere you want. This sure beat spending 40+ hours a week trapped in a dimly lit cubicle prison listening to coworkers fantasize about weekend plans.

Higher pay

With a higher ceiling comes higher pay. In the world of business, your compensation is (typically) tied to the size of the problem you’re solving and bigger problems (usually) equal bigger pay. In today’s world, technology provides access to some of the world’s biggest solutions, which means clients and companies are willing and able to pay much, much more. If you can learn to use technology to solve these types of problems, you will never have to worry about job security, especially if you learn how to solve these problems on your own. For those of you who are comfortable with more risk, you can also opt for a job with a startup where you are given equity in the company (i.e., You trade in a lower upfront salary for the potential of a much bigger payout if/when the company goes public.)

Cons of Working in the Tech Industry

No guarantee of happiness

We’ve already talked about how working in tech can give you better opportunities and higher pay, but that doesn’t mean you’ll also find happiness. Depending on the role and the company, you can make a lot of money, but you can also find stress, burnout, and other things that won’t make up for any amount of money. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, “Can money buy me happiness?” To some, the answer might be a resounding, “Yes!” especially if they are working several part-time jobs or never grew up with money. In this case, burnout and/or stress may not even matter if it means paying the bills and saving for the future. Regardless of your personal situation, I think it’s important to think about one universal truth: time is the most valuable thing any of us own. If you don’t feel comfortable committing a decent amount of yours to something that may not immediately spark joy, then you might want to consider another career.

Lack of diversity

This one should come as no surprise. There is still a huge lack of diverse perspectives in tech and the gap only gets bigger the further up the ladder you go, especially when it comes to the C-suite. If this is something that you don’t want to deal with, I don’t blame you, especially if you are a woman or person of color. Even as someone who considers himself to be a fairly “woke” ally, I still have no idea what it’s like being forced to navigate each meeting or conversation as someone who doesn’t always feel heard or welcomed to the table. Sure, many companies are starting to hop on the diversity bandwagon, but it’s usually because of their employees, customers, or investors giving them a nudge in the right direction. As always, there are companies that are further along than others (and they might be worth it), but overall, there is still a lot of work to be done. If this seems too daunting, especially as a first job, then you might want to look at another career where diversity is further along.

Bureaucracy and red tape

OK, so this isn’t necessarily a tech-only thing — you’ll find unnecessary barriers and blockers within most companies in corporate America. Unfortunately, these roadblocks are even worse in tech thanks to one simple truth: some people understand how technology works and some don’t (and won’t admit it). Some of the most frustrating moments come when you bring both of these groups together in order to get things done, especially when leadership gets involved. Many times, these hire ups are busy putting out other fires and will end up performing a good ‘ol fashioned “swoop and poop.” Thanks to these and plenty of other red flags, it can take forever to make decisions. As you can probably guess, ego also gets in the way, and meetings end up morphing into several hours of hemming and hawing, which leads me to my final con…

Massive amounts of egos

It’s no secret — everyone wants their opinion to be heard. Newsflash! It doesn’t always need to be, especially if you’re one of the countless white dudes who are used to sharing theirs. Because a lot of us tech bros have fragile egos and are used to getting their way, it can be difficult to have real, honest conversations about what is really going on. If some of you are already conversational Jedi masters, then this might be a piece of cake. For those of you who don’t have a ton of patience for grown up babies, then this might be somewhat of a buzzkill when it comes to working in tech.

 Constant change and growth

By now, we’ve already talked about all of the learning opportunities in the industry, but what if you aren’t the type of person who’s always looking for a challenge? The fast-paced change of technology can be great for people who like learning on the fly, but it can also be a very big turnoff for those who are looking for a career that is safe and predictable. This is one of those double-edged swords that comes with an industry that moves so quickly. Sure, there are tech-adjacent companies that are a little more “stable,” but as always, they come with their own set of problems — mainly related to doing things the hard way. I could sit here and try to convince you why lifelong learning will always be an asset, but let’s be honest: change is hard. I totally understand the whiplash that comes with constant change. It just so happens I love organizing all of the chaos and helping others make sense of it. If this sounds like more trouble than it’s worth, then tech may not be the best fit after all.

Wrap Up

This field offers a lot of opportunities for growth and advancement, high salaries, job security, and flexibility. However, it also comes with its own set of challenges such as a stressful work environment, long hours, lack of diversity, and constant changes.

It’s important to carefully consider these factors before deciding if this is the right career path for you. If you are interested in learning more about working in the tech industry, I suggest checking out some online resources such as LinkedIn LearningUdemy, or Coursera. These platforms offer a wide range of courses and tutorials that can help you learn new skills and stay up to date with the latest trends in the industry.

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