10 Unique Ways to Advance Your Tech Career
Statista has revealed that the two greatest global challenges currently faced in the tech sector relate to:
- The rapid pace of transformation
- A lack of in-demand skills
This is where a unique approach will help you stand out, with a focus on developing these up to date and in-demand skills. Leveraging a unique angle that shows the hiring manager you possess the mix of specific hard and soft skills they are looking for might really help you stand out amongst the crowd.
Let's take a look at some of the ways by which this can be achieved!
1. Master a niche programming language
With resources out there listing over 100 job boards, there is no shortage of opportunity in tech. However, with so many applicants out there, learning a programming language that helps you to stand out from the crowd might really help.
Acquiring this uncommon skill might be the unique angle that builds the emotional connection required to advance.
2. Develop specialized skills in ethical hacking
A recent report revealed that while many tech sectors are seeing falls in employment, cyber security is seeing continued growth.
All technical roles incorporate some level of awareness around how their work might cause a potential security risk - working to mitigate that risk as part of their process.
However, this might be the time to focus on ethical hacking as the avenue to advance your career in line with where the job market is currently headed.
Three skill sets that may help you advance include:
1. Languages such as Python, PHP and Java can be leveraged to discover vulnerabilities in systems. Through discovering these weaknesses, you will be able to formulate the in-demand and specialist recommendations that employers are seeking.
2. Deepening your knowledge in Linux will enhance your ability to use operating systems on a deeper level. This enhanced control also enables you to create customized scripts to automate your workflows and increase productivity over competing operating systems.
3. Social engineering is a skill that acquires system access through carefully crafted communication. More geared towards soft skills, this is a unique skill that is worth deepening your knowledge around to advance in this direction.
3. Deepen knowledge in AR and VR
On a global scale, the XR market, which includes AR and VR, is expected to grow continuously through 2026. This is another opportunity to advance in line with market trends whilst expanding on your current experience.
Some points of focus to progress here may include developing skills in sound and video production, UX and UI, 3D imaging tools and game development. This is in addition to languages such as C++, C# and JAVA.
4. Find a mentor
A core component to growth and advancement in your tech career might come from simply asking the right questions.
This might be something more foundational such as “what is .ai domain”? Learning from the ground up is a great way to build a solid foundation. Then, growing that knowledge with intermediate and advanced concepts will be a lifelong pursuit.
You might have questions that range from where you should start, through to gaining specific technical skills in a new area. This is where the personalized feedback of a mentor can really help.
Mentors can come in many forms. Picking the one that works for your preferred style of learning is the key to progress. Some ideas to explore include:
- A masters degree in a specialist subject
- A bootcamp
- Personal tuition
- Joining a niche forum
- Online courses
- Learning from peers while working with collaborative coding tools
- Self-learning using blogs, YouTube and free content online
- Books and PDFs
5. Specialize in Internet of Things (IoT) security
The world is becoming more and more interconnected. The internet and AI are becoming increasingly integrated with the objects in our physical world. Historical and projected growth in IOT connected devices on a global scale display this is another lucrative opportunity.
Specializing in the IoT with an angle geared towards security is a unique opportunity to capitalize on the combination of growth seen both here, and in the growing cyber security sector, as covered previously.
6. Look for open source projects
There’s no need to wait until you get your new role before you start implementing your new skills. Contribution to relevant open source projects will help you get practical experience, while building your network through offering real world value.
Here is a process you might follow to help achieve your personal goals.
1. Identify the specific skill you are seeking to enhance whilst growing your credibility. Specificity is key.
2. Look at the available open source platforms and determine which is the most relevant to your skills. GitHub, GitLab, SourceForge, or Bitbucket are a few options to start exploring.
3. Identify, list and rank the most relevant projects, and choose just one to get started on.
4. Consider starting small, contribute where you can and build from there.
5. Continue to build your portfolio in this way and link to it from your resume.
7. Master your interview skills
In marketing, the “USP” (unique selling point) is used to make a product in a crowded market stand out to its target audience.
An example of this might be an entrepreneurial venture to release a new time management app into the marketplace. There are already many of these available, many of which are free.
However, if you wrap the idea of this being only for professional use in the tech sector, at a premium price with an attractive user interface, you have now made this more appealing to a specific group.
Add in the ability to connect with a wide range of APIs to track timelines based on custom requirements, then this additional “skill” might become even more appealing.
Use the unique skills you are developing in the same way to stand out from the competition in the job market, to approach employers with an angle that catches their eye from the start, displaying the quality of your work through whatever means you choose.
8. Always ask for feedback
After any contributions you make, whether this be in your open source projects, or in your studies, look for those more experienced for their feedback. These could be questions around whether your assumptions on how to use .env file were correct, or whether you are using the correct syntax in a new language you are working with. Direct feedback on real world results is a great way to progress rapidly.
9. Develop your soft skills
Where new technical skills require new skill sets in many cases, soft skills can be applied widely across a range of technical sectors. They will stay with you every time you pivot in a new direction once acquired.
Three that have great potential to support your advancement include:
1. Communication: The ability to build relationships with potential employers, and then co-workers, stems from your ability to communicate in a way that develops trust, displays empathy and explains the reasoning behind your decisions. With many first interviews taking place online, gaining experience with video conferencing software might bring value at this stage.
2. Critical Thinking: As important in tech as in many other fields, your ability to analyze both your work, and the information provided to you, in a balanced and methodical manner will carry you far.
3. Resilience: The level of difficulty and steep learning curve involved in tech means that if you aren’t making mistakes, you aren't trying. Learning from them and persevering is what makes resilience help you through the rough patches.
10. Stay informed of new trends and developments
From io domain registration to the latest developments in machine learning, subscribing to mailing lists and publications and setting aside time to stay up to date will help you maintain your growth continuously as you pursue that next step in your career.
Time to advance
We can see that there are many opportunities available out there. Choosing the one that interests you, builds on your current skill set and aligns with where the job market is headed will offer you a great opportunity to advance in your career. Now, it’s over to you, and we wish you the best of luck!