January 15, 2018

Busting Tech Career Myths, Part 3: ’It’s Not a Tech Job Unless You Work for a Major Silicon Valley Company’


In the previous installments of this series, I pointed to a looming crises for the tech sector and, by extension, our nation.

In brief, some analysts say at least half a million open IT positions are going unfilled. Meanwhile, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts IT occupations will grow 10 percent by 2026, when many existing tech professionals will begin retiring. In combination, these factors could create a national tech talent deficit with negative consequences for workers, employers, and our entire economy.

To fill these skills shortages, we’ll need the rising generation of teens and tweens to explore careers in technology. However, seven damaging myths discourage tweens, teenagers, and their parents from exploring pathways to technology careers.

Previously, we busted the myth that working in technology requires a four-year college degree. Today, we’ll discredit our third myth:

Myth No. 3: If It’s Not at Facebook or Google, It’s Not a Technology Job

In truth, there’s no Valley required. Today, tech arguably is the most crucial factor driving the global economy. How could a force that powerful be contained in one place?

You don’t need to live in Silicon Valley to have a successful, exciting career in technology. Despite surface differences, every industry depends on IT. From small, family-run businesses like corner convenience stores, dry cleaners, and lawn services to big banks and insurance companies, technologist positions exist in almost every organization around the world.

Per the CompTIA “IT Industry Outlook 2017” report, there are about 375,000 small
information technology companies in the United States. Those companies employ about 45 percent of the workforce in the IT industry. Thousands of jobs are available at innovative companies large and small, and there are plenty of places to work in IT no matter where you live. As telecommuting becomes more popular, the opportunities will only multiply.

My own early passions were technology and movies. In college, I wanted to be a screenwriter. Eventually, I realized that was a long shot. Instead, I focused on my strengths – problem-solving and leadership – and found my calling in the nonprofit world. I’m still connected to the tech industry through my work, and movies continue to be one of my favorite hobbies. If you keep an open mind, there are numerous ways to connect your passions to meaningful and fulfilling work.

In my next article, we’ll deflate the myth that “a tech career means being stuck at a desk.”

Charles Eaton is executive vice president of social innovation for CompTIA and CEO of Creating IT Futures.

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Charles Eaton is a father to four children, ranging from elementary-school age to working adult, and leads three philanthropic endeavors for CompTIA, the world's largest IT trade association, including Creating IT Futures, CompTIA's IT workforce charity. His first book, "How to Launch Your Teen's Career in Technology: A Parent’s Guide to the T in STEM Education," is available at www.tinstem.com.