In-house Fireside chat: Tips on Building a successful career in Tech
Date: June 18th, 2022
Speaker: Kayode Alade, IoT and Embedded systems engineer
Topic: Tips on Building a successful career in Tech
In the last decade, the world has evolved to become more technology-driven. Individuals, businesses and countries now have more ties with technology than ever before. The merits of the tech-inclined world cannot be over-emphasized, and with the world needing more dynamic uses of technology, it becomes exciting to acquire the right skills that position one for the ongoing technology evolution.
Although the word has become a bit casual, ‘Tech’ is a far more dynamic word that embodies different career paths. However, the common denominator to all the career paths in tech is consistency. In an in-house session with the interns of Milsat Technologies Limited, Kayode Alade, an IoT and Embedded systems engineer at Milsat technologies speaks on ‘Tips to Building a successful career in Tech’.
Q. Kindly introduce yourself, Kayode
Ans. My name is Kayode Alade, an IoT engineer with a background in electronics design. These days, I’m more focused on building scalable devices for the cloud. In short, device-to-cloud communications. To begin with, I will like to drop a disclaimer, Tech is not a Ponzi scheme and you have to put in the work before anything, irrespective of the part you are focusing on.
Tech is not a Ponzi scheme
In today’s session, I will discuss four-pointers; from the technical aspects to the soft skills, networking and mentorship.
To begin with, I will love us to explore the technical aspect of tech. I for one don’t have an eye for design so I believe if I’m exploring the visuals (frontend, graphics or UI/UX), I might struggle without a high level of consistency. So as a prospect in the tech world, you have to profile yourself, and know your strength before you decide on which path to explore. You can easily surf the internet (introductory videos on Youtube) to know the skill requirement for each career path in tech, this will help you to arrive at a better decision.
In simple terms, your tech journey starts with your choice after proper research.
In acquiring the technical skills, you can go the route of certifications or choose to learn on your own. Although not so common in this part of the world, boot camps are a very good avenue to learn. However, as a person, I self-learned. Self-learning is the harder route, it takes a lot of consistency and can be stressful but it has become the most explored route in this part of the world. Once you identify the path you want to follow, you can use platforms like YouTube, Udemy, Coursera, Udacity and other platforms in existence.
When self-learning, be sure not to be caught up in the ‘tutorial web’, where you just keep watching videos without practising.
The best way to learn is to practice various problems that help you understand the logic you just learned. Document whatever you learn or use the ‘learning with the public’ approach where you share whatever you learn on Twitter, medium, LinkedIn or any social platform that can serve as a knowledge repository.
As important as your technical skills are, the soft skills you’re required to have as a tech person cannot be underrated. A principal soft skill is communication which sets the tone for your ability to seamlessly share your understanding of the problem and also connect with other like minds seamlessly. Networking is also very vital in Tech. It improves your chances of having a successful career massively as it becomes easier for people to recommend you. Your network is your net worth. When you tell people what you do, you become a possible resort for future considerations when there is a need for the skill. Also, get a mentor. Mentors are not to be bugged with all your technical problems but they can help you gain clarity over issues of complexities in your field when needed. Their experience can also set the tone for you to imbibe the best practices needed to be good.
Q. You started by saying ‘Tech is not a Ponzi scheme’, can you tell us more about that statement?
Ans. Well, it’s a social media age and we see the ‘tech bros’ on social media showing off their cars, workspaces and travels, it is easy to get carried away and expect a $3k equivalence in Naira after 6months. While nothing is impossible, there is a 99.9% chance of not getting there in 6months. You are required to put in the hard work that most people might not see. So the disclaimer is just to make you set realistic goals so you don’t end up being frustrated.
Q. You mentioned that you were previously focused on a different field before you moved into IoT. So what advice do you have for someone that is looking to transition from one path to another distinct in tech e.g. Frontend to Content marketing?
Ans. Before you transition, you have to go back to the basics. transitioning is similar to starting another cycle, the only edge is that you’re more familiar with algorithms, your strength and problem-solving. No matter the tech stack, you will have a product, you will have a target and a process.
When you are transitioning, it is important to network. Networking helps you get a first-hand experience from the “been there, done that” in that field of interest.
Q. “Tech is blood money”, Do you think money should be the push or what comment do you have on the statement?
Ans. I won’t lie to you, poverty is a major driver. However, no matter the field you exploring, tech or not, your passion to succeed supersedes all other factors. For me, poverty is a major driver because I have a very expensive taste and to keep up with my taste, I need to have money so it’s one of the things that keeps me going.
There is money in tech but you have to put in the work. The sweet part? Kunle from Ajegunle can be in his room working for a company in the US. I think passion is a driver when you start but sustaining the interest is often attached to the fear of being broke.
Q. I am super interested in learning different technologies (frontend, backend, data science and Artificial intelligence), what do you think it takes to be at the fore of these career paths?
Ans. Only, these whole stacks? This is a full team. My simple advice? Start with one first. At Milsat for example, we have various teams and their expert. But as an IoT engineer, I still have to access the backend to retrieve some information of interest for my devices. It is not my job, but I do know my way around it. To advise you, you have to pick one first and master it, I can assure you that it becomes easier to learn others. If you try to learn all at once, you will not master any of those roles.
Q. You mentioned leveraging social media as a developer and the use of the community. But I think social media can make people feel intimidated. What do you think can be done in this regard?
Ans. Well, it’s a chain. As of now, some social media users intimidate me, there are some others that I intimidate, and on and on the chain goals across both sides of the spectrum. As a developer and learner, you have to learn to sieve out the noise because there is no way you can completely block out the effect of these things. The only way intimidation can get to you is when you are without goals. At that moment, you can get carried away but when you snap back to reality, take it as fuel to become better.
Nobody is a complete embodiment of knowledge. When you see people posting on social media, it’s best to just extract the knowledge and stick to your passion. You can also take it as a point to network, ask questions for the poster and learn a thing or two.
Q. Is Tech for everybody?
Ans. It is important to correct the misconception that “tech is coding”, once that is out of the way, everyone can do tech. While there’s a part that requires coding, there are also other parts that do not require the slightest bit of coding such as Marketing, Auditing, Content creation and others.
Fit yourself into what you’re comfortable and capable of, you necessarily don’t need to “code” before you can start a successful career in Tech.
Conclusively, before you decide to begin any career in tech, ensure there’s a tangible, reasonable and standard answer to the question “why”.