You’ve made the decision to dive into tech, but there’s another big one waiting for you: which sector of tech should you choose? Should you learn to code or become a data expert? Or learn to make the most of new and emerging artificial intelligence technologies? No matter what you decide, the tech field is incredibly broad and the right fit is definitely out there. It might take a bit of trial and error, but don’t worry–you’ll find the right role for you.
But where do you begin? How do you even start trying to figure out what’s right for you? And once you do, how do you get started? In this article, we’ll cover different ways to determine the best fit for you and then cover some of the most popular and in-demand areas of tech: web development, UX/UI design, data analytics, cybersecurity, cloud computing, DevOps, and artificial intelligence.
Testing the Tech Waters
You might be intrigued by artificial intelligence but not sure what opportunities lay in the field. Or want to learn more about cloud computing before committing to a career in the sector. That’s totally fair and why we’ve created this post; we want you to check out career opportunities, responsibilities and necessary knowledge before you make a final decision. But how can you really know what it’s like before you even take that first step? Is there a way to try out different things? The answer is a resounding yes.
To get a better idea of what would be the right for you, check out these tips:
Explore free resources: from books to YouTube videos, there are a ton of resources out there to help you get a better idea of what a career in a specific field would actually entail and what your day-to-day and career track would look like. And the best part? Most of them are free! Take your time, find what interests you, and use the resources available to you to make the best decision.
Talk to professionals: there’s no better way to really figure out the best path for you than talking to professionals in the field. You can ask questions about their training, interview process, career development, and daily life, getting a first-hand account of what it’s really like to work in that sector.
Start learning on your own: even if you have a pretty good idea of what interests you, diving into the first steps of learning on your own can help you get some practice with the material, see if it truly interests you, and see if it fits with your career goals. Courses and certifications can be pricey and if you just dive right in without making sure it’s the right fit, you may regret it later on.
With this plan set up so that you can discover the right area for you, let’s dive right into some of the most in-demand and relevant areas of tech that are in need of skilled tech professionals.
Getting into Web Development
When you think of tech, coding and web development are probably two of the first things that come to mind. And there’s a reason for that–lots of companies seek out and highly value skilled web developers because they play a crucial role: creating, monitoring, and updating the company’s website and/or apps, continuously making it more user-friendly, faster, and intuitive. There are lots of available roles in web development, but three of the most common are front-end developers, back-end developers, and fullstack developers:
Front-end developers focus on the side that the clients see, designing the layout and structure of the website and ensuring it’s easy to use, intuitive, and properly optimized.
On the other hand, back-end developers are responsible for writing the code that makes up the behind-the-scenes aspects of a website/app that users don’t see, identifying and removing any bugs.
Fullstack developers have both front and back end knowledge, using their skills to work on both sides.
Is web development right for you?
Web development could be a great career choice if you’re:
Looking to take advantage of tech’s high salaries: web developers are and will always be in high demand, meaning you can expect to benefit from high salaries and great benefits.
Interested in a field with lots of room for growth: there will always be a new challenge in web development; you could be asked to master a new programming language or debug a complicated issue at any point.
Focused on finding solutions: a large part of web development is finding solutions to problems posed by other team members or fixing problems in your code. If you like a challenge and taking on something someone else might not be able to do, web development would be a fantastic option.
Getting into UX/UI Design
For the more creative techies, UX/UI design is a popular choice. Why? Because you get to harness both your creative side and technical side to create the user interface for a website or app, focusing on the more visual aspects of what makes the user experience better. Their overall goal is to create a design that attracts user attention, convinces them to choose this specific product or service, and nurtures a sense of brand loyalty that makes them come back for more. UX and UI designers are different roles, although they’re frequently grouped together:
UX designers focus on the user experience and have to have a clear picture of what the user wants to successfully complete their design. Through user research, the creation of buyer personas, and user flows, they’re able to create the optimal design for the website or app.
Despite seeming similar, UI designers focus on the user interaction of a design with a website or app, carefully selecting elements such as font color, images, buttons, and the way users actually move from page to page.
Is UX/UI design right for you?
Considering UX/UI design? Let’s see if you meet the following criteria:
Creative: sometimes the best answer isn’t obvious and it may take a few different designs before you find the right one. Let those creative juices flow and create a unique and captivating design.
Attention to detail: it seems minor, but users may be more likely to click on a green button than a red one or they might react positively to a minimalist design. UX/UI designers must take the time to carefully select each small element as each decision contributes to overall better user experience.
Open to change: tech is moving incredibly fast and UX/UI designers must be prepared to learn new skills and adopt new tools, staying up to date with the latest trends in both technology and user preferences.
Getting into Data Analytics
Everyone knows that smart decisions are backed by data. Why? Because you need to have some reason behind your decisions–you need to be able to say why you made a certain choice. And now that we’re able to use tools like deep learning and machine learning to process incredible amounts of data, skilled data analysts that know how to sort, read, visualize, and present their findings are in high demand. Roles in data analytics are vast, but include:
Focused on using the data to draw actionable insights, data analysts are well skilled in making predictions based on data and recommending actions to the rest of the team.
Similarly to data analysts, business analysts use the data to make better decisions, but focus on company-centered choices.
If you’re interested in the more technical side of things, data engineers build the systems and programs that support the processing of large amounts of data.
Is data analytics right for you?
Data analytics could be the right fit for you if:
You’re up for a challenge: sorting through lots of data to make the best recommendation can be stressful and overwhelming; data professionals must be ready for what lies ahead.
You like both math and people: dealing with the data side of things is just one part of the job; you’ll need to be able to put your findings into words to make it truly useful.
You have great critical thinking skills: drawing conclusions from a bunch of numbers is quite the challenge; you’ll have to identify patterns and trends from large amounts of data.
Getting into Cybersecurity
The tools we have to expand what we do on the internet are constantly growing, but so are the threats we face daily. That’s why cybersecurity is one of the most relevant fields today–skilled cyber professionals are in demand in practically every industry to identify and block potential threats and strengthen systems against future attacks. And the best part? There are a wide range of available roles:
Looking to hack? Yes, you read that right! White hat hackers work with companies to hack systems to identify potential vulnerabilities, solving them, and leaving the system even more secure than when they entered.
Security specialists work more on the preventive side, reviewing internal practices to ensure that systems are properly protected from threats.
If you’re interested in working with AI and cybersecurity, cybersecurity engineers use AI tools to identify potential threats, flagging issues before they become a real problem.
Is cybersecurity right for you?
Choosing to dive right into cybersecurity is a great option for people who:
Are solution-oriented: as a cyber professional, you’ll constantly be faced with new challenges and you’ll need to find solutions as quickly as possible, meaning you need to be ready for any sort of issue.
Work well on teams: because the range of cyber attacks are so wide and a lot of system security depends on the company’s internal practices, you must work well with others and have great teamwork skills.
Think outside of the box: to combat potential attacks, be ready to think like a hacker and figure out exactly where any vulnerabilities lie.
Getting into Cloud Computing
With large amounts of data comes a serious challenge: storing it safely. This is where the cloud comes into play, creating a virtual and secure location to store data where companies can pick the exact amount of storage they need. This cost-efficient and convenient data storage option has allowed more and more companies to collect even more data, leading to better data decisions. Potential job opportunities in cloud computing include:
A systems administrator ensures that everything is working properly on the cloud, is protected, and accessible to those who need the data.
If you’re interested in the security side of things, security engineers test and evaluate the security of a cloud system to ensure that all data is safe from potential threats.
The cloud itself is fascinating and cloud engineers work to build the infrastructure that makes up the cloud or work specifically with companies to create the exact combination of resources that they need.
Is cloud computing right for you?
Those interested in working with the cloud can:
Look forward to increasingly high demand: the power of the cloud is just taking off and more and more companies will be hiring skilled cloud professionals in coming years.
Expect to learn a lot: as a relatively new field, cloud computing is still growing and cloud professionals will be learning on the job every single day.
Have a large impact: cloud solutions are revolutionizing the way in which we use data–the impact is incredible and will only continue to grow.
Getting into DevOps
As the tech sector expands, the need for continuity and teamwork between different roles has grown exponentially. And this is where DevOps (software development and operations) comes into play, integrating the different stages of the development process to seamlessly meet project goals and deadlines. It’s a set of tools and practices and cultural philosophy that bring the entire team together:
DevOps engineers work with the entire team to manage the delivery schedule of a team’s project, ensuring that deadlines are met across various roles.
If you want to be very involved in the project development, release managers focus on the day-to-day progress of a team to make sure that the product is released on time.
One of the pillars of DevOps is eliminating wasted time and software testers do just that, testing the product throughout every step and identifying any issues before it’s too late.
Is DevOps right for you?
Your future could lie with DevOps if:
You have great project management skills: managing a large team and many different deadlines is a challenge, but one for which DevOps professionals must be prepared.
You have incredible attention to detail: DevOps is designed to catch issues early on and you must be prepared to go through each step with a fine-tooth comb to identify any problem.
You have good people skills: overseeing an entire team’s work means overseeing lots of personalities–good people skills will help you tremendously.
Getting into Artificial Intelligence
You might think artificial intelligence tools are here to steal your job, but that’s not the case; in fact, as AI technology advances and more companies employ these technologies to automate repetitive tasks or eliminate the risk of human error, there will be an increased demand for artificial intelligence professionals who know how to use these tools:
Similarly to software architects, AI software architects build systems, tools, and platforms for AI technologies.
NLP engineers focus on human language and AI, helping develop chatbots and tools like ChatGPT.
Machine learning engineers work to create systems that are capable of processing and categorizing large amounts of data.
Is artificial intelligence right for you?
A career in artificial intelligence could be the perfect choice if:
You’re a quick learner: new technologies are released constantly and you need to stay up-to-date to master the newest in-demand skills.
You like data: lots of the benefits brought around by AI relate to data and if you have a passion for data-driven decisions, you’ll excel with AI tools.
You are good at math: between probability and basic calculus, math is an essential part of artificial intelligence careers.
Whew, what a summary! We hope that you’ve found the perfect fit for you and are prepared to take that first step into tech. Don’t wait any longer–your tech future is here and there’s no better place to get started than with one of Ironhack’s Bootcamps.