Many of the standard tech jobs, including software developer, database administrator and systems administrator, are still smart career choices for their opportunity and salaries. These types of jobs are also available across many industries, so if you love space or gaming or other innovative fields like these, you don’t have to be an astronaut or a superstar gamer to land a job there. However, if you’re someone who’d like to be at the forefront of the latest designs and inventions, you can also go after a tech career that will put you at the center of the most exciting new discoveries. There are a few things you should consider as you prepare for your career.
Sure, there are stories of whiz kids landing top jobs fresh out of high school or after dropping out of college, but you’ll be better positioned to shine in a competitive marketplace with at least a bachelor’s degree. College is also where you can make important connections. Be sure to do your research and choose a school that teaches the specialty that interests you. Many people worry about how they will pay for college, especially if they don’t qualify for federal student loans, but private student loans can fill that gap. While you can apply for private loans from your local bank or credit union, there are also online lenders, who may have a faster application process in place.
Entrepreneur or Employee?
Do you dream of starting your own tech company or series of companies, or is your focus on an organization like NASA or a big private company? There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, and ultimately, the choice will come down to your temperament and goals. However, the sooner you decide which is right for you, the sooner you can begin to take classes that will lead you in the right direction. If you’re headed for entrepreneurship, try to take some business classes. Of course, you can eventually hire people to handle your bookkeeping and marketing and other nitty-gritty details, but even if that’s your plan straight out of the gate, it’s important to understand the basics so you know what you want from your employees.
What’s Out There?
Do you love science fiction and know that you want to be a tech innovator, but are still unsure what direction you want to go in? There are a few things to think about. It’s critical to consider your aptitudes and interests, of course, but you should also think about what you want your day-to-day working life to be like. If you’re genuinely a people person, you might not be happy cooped up in a lab all day working on robotics projects with the same small team. You may want to look at whether you could land a job that includes a science communication angle. Talk to both career counselors and people in tech themselves since what sounds good on paper may not necessarily translate into the real working world. Keep an eye on trends and predictions for the future as well, thinking about what various fields may look like in ten years and whether that’s a direction that will continue to interest you.