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4 myths about having an IT career

*PING* your friend hits you a message eagerly announcing they found you your dream job. Excited, you click the job opening link they shared. Unfortunately your excitement is short-lived because while the job truly is the dream, it’s in the IT field and you know that is not even an option…

Sounds familiar? Each day IT career (Information Technology) sets off similar thought-patterns. And sadly, most often these thoughts are based only on the general believes about the field. I call them myths. I also take pleasure in breaking them. So let’s break some shall we? 😉

Myth 1: “IT career is not an option because I don’t know how to code”

Let’s begin with one of the worst stereotypes in the field which I too believed for years. If everyone working in tech was a developer writing code all day long, what would it look like? It could be compared to the construction field. How would it look if construction had none but builders – the people doing the heavy lifting so to speak. No one would know what to build, when to build, where to build, who pays the costs…

In reality, IT field is full of opportunities of which just a few involve coding. Like construction is found in every job field there is, IT has begun spreading into all other fields as well. Now, you can pick almost any field and find a job involving IT skills or knowledge.

For me, even 5 years of studying IT couldn’t get this myth out of my head. My turning point from fact to fiction was when I begun my work at Sofokus. Why? Witnessing just how many roles we have in our house (and we are an IT company) that don’t require any coding skills opened my eyes.

Myth 2: “IT field is not an option because I don’t have the proper education”

Always changing and expanding, is the IT field. Poetic but true. Also true is the fact that the most important work life skills are not taught in school (even the futurists think so, I’ve heard). IT seems to understand this extremely well which shows in recruitment situations where companies have begun valuing other matters in applicants than just their education or grades.

I found my self working in marketing without a marketing degree. I had mostly studied algorithms and math at that point. My colleague used to be a chef and is now selling and concepting IT-projects. I also have a colleague who is a developer, a rather great one, and he had never written code. If this myth still seems legitimate for you, I’ll give you an exercise. Think of a company you think embodies this myth and ask: is the demand of school degrees justified? Are the company’s values maybe a bit old-fashioned?

Education does serve a purpose. It creates the foundation for skills and knowledge and at least aids in understanding what you like and do not like. Recruiters can also get hints of what themes you might be interested in by looking at your education, but anything else can be influenced by being active in other ways.

Myth 3: “The IT-field is not for me because I’m a woman”

This myth is older than me and it will probably take years before it can be wholly broken. Let’s forget the genders first hand and just look at the field in general.

Most work in IT is so-called brain work. There is need for creativity, problem solving skills, communication, computation, etc. As the hammer is a tool anyone can learn to use, anyone can work in IT. Taking any demographic factor into account when deciding the suitability of a person applying in an IT job is simply a waste of energy.

Where does this myth then come from? I would say mostly from fear. A delusion still exists that there is correlation between competence and gender. There isn’t. I however understand the emotion of fear and suggest anyone struggling with it to network as much as possible and seek information about professionals in IT (of all genders).

Many companies are already doing a lot in order to break this myth. One common mean is to increase diversity which is important especially now. Without temporarily highlighting genders other than male, this delusion will only grow stronger. It’s important but temporary because I for one would never wish to be hired just because the company’s diversity would increase through my hiring. After the delusion has ceased to exist widely enough I’ll stop worrying!

Myth 4: “I can’t apply for that job because they require skills I don’t have”

Sure some skills can be of utmost importance for a specific job, but have you ever decided not to apply because the description had a list of requirements and you met only some of them? I have, too many times. Especially any jobs requiring tech skills received only a glance from me because I didn’t seem myself qualified. I didn’t give any recruiter a chance to evaluate this because I had already declared myself unworthy.

This myth is pain in the a** for many students and people changing fields. If a company is looking for a worker who can write in 10 different programming languages without a sweat or something similar…good luck! My advice is to look at job ads the way you look at someone’s Tinder-profile. With some healthy critique and bravery. Swipe right if you’re even a bit interested and apply for a job even if the ad is intimidating.

If you don’t apply, someone less suitable might get that job only because you were too afraid to apply. Then both you and the company behind the ad have struck and missed.

A modern company doesn’t believe in myths

In our recruitment process we value soft skills – are you motivated, willing to learn, excited for the job you’re applying for etc. Experience matters whether its from work life or from school, but a person’s CV, demographic factors or the ability to fit through a sieve the size of a needle head won’t result in a successful recruitment. Instead, the compatibility of the company’s and the applicant’s values and how well they can adapt to the company’s work culture mean much more. At least for any modern company.

Interested in busting some more myths? Even though equality is at the heart of our operations all year round, International Women’s gives us a special reason to bring women’s contribution to the IT field into the spotlight. Why not start with listening this Better Monday podcast episode where Milla and her guest Catalina Butnaru discuss business ethics and gender equality in tech field.

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