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4 questions to ask before switching into technology-based roles

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

The year has come to a close. Friends and business contacts regularly chat about the need to innovate and adapt. Singapore has chartered the roadmap towards digitization.

"How about a career change?” - you wonder.

Possible professions include:

  • Software Engineer

  • Data Scientist

  • Game Tester

  • IT Analyst

  • Programmer

  • UX Designer

  • Lead Animator

  • Security Consultant

  • Technical Writer

  • Web Developer

It’s always easy to conceptualize a beautiful picture on the other side of the fence.

An increase in your pay cheque.

A fun and rewarding career.

Growing demand in the ICT (Information & Communication Technology) industry.

Looks like it’s worthwhile to take on new course using Skill Future credit.

But what’s going to happen if you struggle?

That’s where you should answer these 4 questions to make a better informed decision.

How comfortable are you to pick up new skills?

Interest gets you to the starting point. It may not translate to an inner passion. Hence, it’s good to take a crash course first.

I took one day Python class at The General Assembly

I like it in the beginning. As the exercises get complicated, I start to lose my navigation. Soon, my interest falters. I decide the technical stuff is just not for me. I will be better off in cross-border negotiation and selling to multinationals.

Perhaps, a peek into the technicalities helps. Of course, if you have taken the basics or enjoy doing this, continue honing your ability. The best way to test out is to seek a 1-2 day fun program, interact with your peers before going full steam ahead.

Another great platform to do this is LinkedIn Learning. They have various online courses, from business, creative to technology. One who is good at UX design may need to learn about accounting for starting an own business. However, it's not free. There is a monthly fee of about SGD$79.99 (cheaper if you sign yearly) that can be discontinued anytime. I would recommend you to download the transcripts after each program. The content is top-notch in my opinion as compared to free introductory courses in Udemy or Coursera.

Are you mainly a Right-Brainier or a Left-Brainier?

It’s about dominance. Left-Brainer is usually logical, rational, factual and methodical in thinking. Their jobs entail market analysis and research or roles that need to dissect issues and derive hypothesis. Right-Brainer folks are creative, artistic and have great imagination. They can be Animators, Designers or Musicians.

There are a number of fun brain tests that you can easily Google. Some can be 60% Right Brainier and 40% Left Brainier. Once you identify, it’s time to put to test how adaptable you are. Get some software to try and join a specific community group as a fresh starter. Explore and re-imagine!

How likely will I get hired by taking on a new skill in a new role?

Let’s be practical. Big firms don’t just open the door for you. You have to level up your abilities – and get a track record out. Therefore, look into entry-level to mid-level type in smaller to mid-sized companies. If you are a Mid-Career Changer, sell your experiences in scenarios. Explain what you do is able to add value to a technology role.

Prepare for a pay cut where necessary. You get some, you lose some.

For example, Left Brainers tell a story about the need to possess critical thinking skills that can be used to troubleshoot technical problems. In other words, sell the soft skills.

Make sure the Coach is qualified by following these secret tips.

How can I manage my expectation?

A pay cut is hugely possible. 20%, much can you afford to take this risk? A rule of thumb is usually 15% for most households in Singapore, given the high cost of living as indicated by Mercer annual cost of living study 2018 – Singapore is ranked fourth globally.

The other consideration is mindset. Are you ready to face a bunch of tech-savvy millennial and younger folks who can outshine you?

Dump your ego.

Instead, seek to learn the techie stuff and openly exchange views. What you can offer in return is probably deep knowledge in specific matters – such as man-management if you are a Team Leader.

So, it goes back to "what can you value-add in exchange of a new position?"

Lastly, think global. If Singapore is such a small market, use LinkedIn to find techie jobs beyond our local market.

Good luck!

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