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AIBU?

To wonder whether people realise the truth of breaking into tech?

11 replies

itgirl783492 · 03/02/2024 14:42

Working in a technical role I'm often asked to 'mentor' people trying to break in. They think that tech roles are highly paid, with cushy conditions.
That can be true, but the industry can also be quite cyclical. Your job is always at risk of being offshored/automated, you need to keep learning completely new things and there's no structured career path/consistency in hiring across firms.
This seems to shock them!
AIBU to wonder all the 'learn to code' that's being pushed by the media has obscured the truth of a career in this field?
There are better fields, like accountancy if you just want to get qualified and have a stable job. Chartered accountants are always in demand!

OP posts:
ComtesseDeSpair · 03/02/2024 14:49

I suspect the distinction is that tech is often seen as relatively easy to get into, with people believing they can teach themselves a lot of the skills. Becoming a chartered accountant requires formal qualifications and an enormous time commitment. Learning to code is often pitched as easily achievable by going on some kind of boot camp in your spare time and then landing a job immediately.

Additionally, through knowing a lot of people in the tech start up world (DH has co-founded several tech start ups) I think there can also be a tendency among them to obfuscate the realities of the industry and what’s required - partially because an aspect of getting investment through VC often initially requires a lot of jazz hands around the capabilities of the product and its development.

Thepeopleversuswork · 03/02/2024 15:01

I think it depends what you mean by “tech” though. If you mean the high octane world of tech startups that is true (although arguably you can amass enough money in a job to see you through redundancy).

Bur there are a large number of less glamorous tech jobs (help desk jobs or managing tech for large companies), which are maybe less well paid but more reliable.

KrisAkabusi · 03/02/2024 15:10

AIBU to wonder all the 'learn to code' that's being pushed by the media has obscured the truth of a career in this field

But learning to code is useful advice for many fields, not just tech. I'm not in the tech sector at all, I'm an ecologist, but knowing how to code in R is essential these days. Even for the chartered accountants mentioned on this thread, being able to code to automate or create systems would be a useful skill.

LittleRedY0shi · 03/02/2024 15:10

Yep. It's true that it can be high paid and flexible, and that it doesn't come with the long formal training that other highly paid roles do. But that doesn't mean it's easy. That doesn't mean anyone can do it. Let's face it, if it was that simple, the job market would be flooded and the pay wouldn't stay that high. I think a lot of people entering the field find this out the hard way.

Branleuse · 03/02/2024 15:18

There's a lot of money in it, but only if you're that sort of thinker. It's not for everyone

itgirl783492 · 03/02/2024 15:33

Thepeopleversuswork · 03/02/2024 15:01

I think it depends what you mean by “tech” though. If you mean the high octane world of tech startups that is true (although arguably you can amass enough money in a job to see you through redundancy).

Bur there are a large number of less glamorous tech jobs (help desk jobs or managing tech for large companies), which are maybe less well paid but more reliable.

Most don't want to do help desk though and that's not what these articles/boot camp ads/etc are pitching - it's walk into a 50K glamorous 'software developer' /'devops engineer' job immediately.
You don't need to work for tech start ups to earn a high salary household names like Tesco, Unilever etc pay their enterprise tech staff decently.

@ComtesseDeSpair I suspect you're right. 'Coding' is easy, technical work as a professional is hard. But people understand, cooking dinner at home every night isn't the same as being a professional chef making hundreds of dinners at peak hour.

OP posts:
Bridgetoo · 03/02/2024 15:36

I thought coding was one of the first things AI will be able to do pretty well.

FinallyHere · 03/02/2024 15:37

suspect the distinction is that tech is often seen as relatively easy to get into

For me, the difference between a career in technology and as an accountant is that I really, really enjoy technology. So much so that I would do it wether I was paid or not, so to have a job where I get paid and get to work at a higher level than I could manage by myself is a brilliant bonus.

I've been very lucky to have a brilliant career in tech. I would not recommend it for anyone who doesn't love the constant change and development technology. I would be very for anyone who chose technology looking for a stable, well paid career.

Stability in technology is not really a 'thing'

itgirl783492 · 03/02/2024 15:40

KrisAkabusi · 03/02/2024 15:10

AIBU to wonder all the 'learn to code' that's being pushed by the media has obscured the truth of a career in this field

But learning to code is useful advice for many fields, not just tech. I'm not in the tech sector at all, I'm an ecologist, but knowing how to code in R is essential these days. Even for the chartered accountants mentioned on this thread, being able to code to automate or create systems would be a useful skill.

The usefulness of learning to code isn't the point of this thread. It's about people doing so solely to break into tech.
Some of the best people I've worked with started out automating little things, then moved into technical roles. That's fine, because they focused on getting the job done, then worked their way up.
I'm not talking about them.

ChatGPT can write code, a quick automation script/point and click with something like Salesforce most people can do. Designing systems that are robust, scalable etc for professional use is a different matter altogether and not a 'useful skill' you can just pick up alongside another full on day job. You need to be doing lots of it.

At higher levels people spend less time writing code and a lot of time on all the other things that make it a craft, not a science.

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itgirl783492 · 03/02/2024 15:47

FinallyHere · 03/02/2024 15:37

suspect the distinction is that tech is often seen as relatively easy to get into

For me, the difference between a career in technology and as an accountant is that I really, really enjoy technology. So much so that I would do it wether I was paid or not, so to have a job where I get paid and get to work at a higher level than I could manage by myself is a brilliant bonus.

I've been very lucky to have a brilliant career in tech. I would not recommend it for anyone who doesn't love the constant change and development technology. I would be very for anyone who chose technology looking for a stable, well paid career.

Stability in technology is not really a 'thing'

Same here. Especially your last sentence, but many people don't get it.
It's obvious for example that we will always need doctors and nurses because illnesses will always exist.
But while jobs that ensure critical systems are running will always be needed that doesn't describe the vast majority of roles.

@LittleRedY0shi I think a lot are finding out now that there have been a lot of layoffs. 'Big tech' has made the headlines, but in hard times many, many companies trim staff. The technology department isn't immune, especially as a lot of people may have been working on new projects that have been canned due to budget cuts.

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rookiemere · 03/02/2024 17:34

I'm a bit bemused by it all as well, mainly because most of our coding is outsourced to India where it is performed by highly skilled professionals earning much less than half of UK professional wages.

Our company always seems to be pushing it heavily as women as well, which always makes me suspicious that they aren't expecting to be paying mega salaries.

Still at least they seemed to have stopped with their desire for everyone to be coders. I have other skills that are very necessary for delivering things, but nobody ever insists that everyone else get so trained up on those.

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