Ask Rhonda: Hard and Soft Skills You Need to Become a Techie

May 24 - Rhonda Vetere

Working in the technology industry, it’s not uncommon to get curious questions as to the nature of how I ended up being a techie: What skills did you learn? What are some essential traits that you have to have to thrive? What would you suggest to someone trying to become a techie?

Adapt or Go Home

Becoming a techie is of course centered on a love of technology and technological change. It’s necessary to stay updated on the latest trends and innovation. Truly, that goes for any industry you find yourself in. Be it fashion, beauty, finance, etc., each industry requires a desire to understand what’s new in the market and what causes such to thrive. Trends within the tech space are always changing and evolving, which requires techies to be attuned to that innovation.

This also requires the ability to embrace new and emerging tech. Humans are creatures of habit, but innovators and leaders in the tech space must abandon their comfort levels, and accept the bold and new ideas.

Being able to accept the new is essential. However, accepting new technologies is a calculated risk. To be successful and truly a “techie,” you have to take calculated risks.

Be Willing to Take Risks

Being an early adopter for new technologies, while sometimes risky, leads way for potential gold mines of success. Believe in your gut, do research, and run with the risk. If your calculated risk fails, learn to fail hard and fail fast. Failure will not end your career, but rather, the ability to fail and get up again quickly is a defining characteristic behind every successful person in the industry. Finding failures early in your career will teach you lessons that no one could prepare you for. Failure makes you better and stronger, if you’re willing to learn from your own life lessons.

Network Your Butt Off

You’ve heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, it’s who you know.” There’s some truth to that. I’d be lying if I said the tech industry was simply built upon connections; there is essential education, experience, and training requirements involved. However, the ability to network is truly invaluable. Having a solid network is always valuable for connections, future work and interesting projects. But for a techie, having a network of peers externally gives you the ability to see what they’re doing and help expands your base of knowledge. Having a network that pushes you, gives you the ability to learn about new projects, and creates an opportunity for collaboration is key.

The technology industry as a whole is centered on constant change and evolution. With that change comes an opportunity to learn and improve yourself, as well. The ability to take stretch projects and learn new skills is a necessary ability to have. Continually learning as a techie improves your skillset and, again, creates bigger and better opportunities down the line.

Be Mobile

Start being mobile. Having the ability to work from wherever, whenever, is an incredible skill. With flexibility comes the ability to meet members of your network, future clients and business partners, all while continuing to balance your work life.

Work and office don’t have to be exclusive to one another. Allowing yourself the luxury for work and travel to intermingle will not only improve the worth of your business and present further opportunities, but also will simultaneously enrich your life experience, as well.

Being a techie isn’t just one skill or one nugget of advice. The technology industry thrives upon a constant desire for improvement, innovation, and skill. Having a nose for the new and the drive to continually learn is the basis of a techie. Be open to new things, take risks, and if you fail, start the process again. In business and in life, being unafraid to fail (while utilizing your best judgement) helps to grow you as a person. Don’t be stagnant, be freely moving and adapting to reap success.

It doesn’t hurt to know these hard skills, either: Get into the details. Learn how to code. Physically touch the keyboard and have an understanding of deliverables and how they tie back to the business. Be hands on and full-contact.

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