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Should I make a career switch and join the tech industry?

5 questions to think about

Hey all, Happy lunar new year in advance! 🧧

After my recent post on going all in, I received an email from one of the subscribers about making a switch to the tech industry.

Here is a condensed version of his question:

I am fine with my role in accounting and auditing, but tech, data science and AI has always fascinated me.

There are some downsides that I am unsure how to best handle. Namely career progression and endgame, sustainability of jobs due to disruption.

What other questions should I consider before I decide to go all in?

This is my answer:

Working in the tech industry is a rewarding experience. There is generally a lot of autonomy for most roles. 

One of the underrated aspects is the quality of the people. In high growth companies, you often get to work with a higher proportion of people who are driven; intelligent; open to trying new things and progressive.

Having said that, there are a few things to bear in mind. 

1. Do you have genuine interest in the subject itself? 

I would advise one to take some courses to start with first and explore the extent to which you enjoy what you do.

This is because the industry and the outstanding companies move incredibly fast, you'd need to keep learning new things all the time.

In my current role, I always have to take time outside of work to complete certifications. This is because the company and sector is moving super fast. I need to stay ahead of the change.

If one does not have the intrinsic motivation to invest in learning, they'd become average at best abd this will ultimately impact progression 

2. How are you going to deal with the instability that is part of this job? 

The instability of the industry is something you have to accept and get used to. I cannot guarantee that I myself will never get laid off again. No one can.

Layoffs are something you cannot prevent. They are due to poor judgment by the leadership team when it comes to making business decisions.

The best protection is really emergency funds and also living below your means. They will serve as a buffer when it comes to taking risks like these.

It is also the end of 10+ years of 0% interest rates in the tech industry. It is important to understand what higher rates mean for tech jobs and how can one prepare for this shift?

3. What are you going to do to stand out? 

What I am observing now is that there are many companies here with tech teams in Vietnam; India and Indonesia.

These markets are fast growing; with a young educated workforce and growing tech ecosystem.

The implication here is that your competition is not just in Singapore but also across the rest of Asia.

It is important to ask yourself questions like: What can you offer that they cannot? How are you going to position yourself in terms of skills and knowledge?

I have been reflecting on the recent exit of Electrolux and shifting of their APAC HQ from Singapore to Bangkok. I wonder if this is a canary in the coal mine and spells .

4. What steps will you take to get more intel?

When it comes to figuring out progression and pathways to take within the sector, intelligence is your friend

Nodeflair is quite a good resource and starting point.

LinkedIn is another. I often stalk the profiles of other professionals in my field to chart my steps and also get inspiration on my future direction.

Another source you can tap on is people who are already working in these fields. This is always a good option as it gives you an idea of what reality is really like and what to look out for.

5. Are you willing to become a beginner again?

When we join a new sector, we have to become a beginner again. This sometimes means taking a pay cut and being behind your peers for a while.

In my view, it is perfectly alright especially when you are young.

There is a Chinese saying 骑驴找马 (Direct translation: Ride the donkey before you can ride the horse). This refers to a temporary downgrade before being able to achieve our goals.

However, what you’d need is a strong sense of conviction. Otherwise, it is easy to become miserable and lose sight of what is really important to you.

Hope you found this helpful!

I am a Singaporean Millennial who writes about work; money; relationships and balance.

💙 Hit reply and share your views with me

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