13 Things About the Tech Industry Every Job Candidate Needs to Know

Members of the Young Entrepreneur Council share some important insights every entry-level tech candidate should know before joining the field.
Young Entrepreneur Council
Expert Contributor
May 13, 2021
Updated: August 19, 2021
Young Entrepreneur Council
Expert Contributor
May 13, 2021
Updated: August 19, 2021
job-seeker-tech
Top row, from left: Andrew Howlett, Matthew Weinberg, Shu Saito. Second row, from left: Meeky Hwang, Miles Jennings, Thomas Griffin, Tyler Gallagher. Third row, from left: Colin McGuire, Andrew Schrage, Jared Atchison. Bottom row, from left: Blair Williams, John Turner, Daisy Jing.

You’ve completed your education and training, you’ve done research on the job market and you’re ready to start applying for positions in the tech industry. But before you do, it’s important to know how the industry operates.

Like every industry, the technology sector is unique. It’s also evolving and advancing quickly, which means hopeful candidates will need to constantly sharpen their skills. Keeping these facts in mind will allow you to not only find the position that best fits your skill set, but also map out how your career may look in the future.

Below, 13 members of Young Entrepreneur Council share a few other insights job candidates will need to keep in mind if they want to enter and succeed in the tech space.

13 Things Every Job Candidate Needs To Know About the Tech Industry

  1. The Best Tech Employees Are Constantly Experimenting
  2. You’ll Have To Teach Yourself New Things Every Day
  3. Tech Needs Team Players
  4. You Must Be Flexible and Adaptable
  5. Programming Languages Will Continue To Change
  6. You Need Solid, Real-Life Experiences
  7. You’ll Need To Be Creative, Not Just Technical
  8. Your Degree Doesn’t Mean Much Once You Start Working
  9. Only Apply for Jobs You Actually Qualify for
  10. Make Sure You Have a Genuine Interest and Drive
  11. You May Need To Develop Knowledge Outside Your Area of Expertise
  12. You’ll Need to Keep Up With Industry News
  13. Tech Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All

1. THE BEST TECH EMPLOYEES ARE CONSTANTLY EXPERIMENTING

The industry is always changing, so look around and experiment with new tech. The best technology employees Ive ever had are those who experiment or have fun with something new or interesting during their free time. It helps them keep a bigger-picture perspective and also be better prepared when the landscape shifts and they need to change roles or jobs. — Andrew Howlett, Struck

2. YOU’LL HAVE TO TEACH YOURSELF NEW THINGS EVERY DAY

The tech industry is a moving target, and you need to be prepared to teach yourself new things every day to keep up. The most important thing we look for when bringing on team members who are new to the industry is the ability to learn on your own. Thats far more important than any specific technology or tool that may be popular today and gone tomorrow. — Matthew Weinberg, Happy Cog

3. TECH NEEDS TEAM PLAYERS

Even in the tech industry, you still need to be a team player. Whether as a developer, team leader or engineer, most tech jobs require working with others. Although technical skills are crucial, you need to be the best team member you can be. I suggest three steps to achieve this mindset: Leave your ego at the door, embrace feedback and be accountable. — Shu Saito, All Filters

4. YOU MUST BE FLEXIBLE AND ADAPTABLE

Be flexible and open to new things. The tech industry is a fast-evolving field. Things that are the greatest and latest today will be gone tomorrow. For that reason, tech is exciting for people who are adaptable. Always be ready to accept that what you know now could be replaced by more innovative solutions. — Meeky Hwang, Ndevr, Inc

5. PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES WILL CONTINUE TO CHANGE

If youre working with code in any capacity, be prepared to keep learning new programming languages for the rest of your career. As tech evolves, new languages come and go, and youll need to stay on top of them. But thats not necessarily a bad thing; with each new development comes new opportunities to innovate and push the industry forward. — Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com

6. YOU NEED SOLID, REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCES

You need to have solid, real-life experience around what you actually do. You can follow tutorials and guides in the beginning, but eventually, youll encounter real-life problems and have to develop your own solutions. So, make sure you have the right skills for the position youre applying for. — Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

7. YOULL NEED TO BE CREATIVE, NOT JUST TECHNICAL

The idea that tech jobs arent creative is false. If you want to succeed in tech, be prepared to solve problems creatively or else you might be replaceable by AI or bot programs. Lateral thinking is a key skill in technology, and youll have to see patterns where others dont if you want to rise through the ranks within the industry. — Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets

8. YOUR DEGREE DOESNT MEAN MUCH ONCE YOU START WORKING

As soon as the job starts, your educational accolades mean nothing, and everything comes down to how well you execute. Being in the tech industry means being extremely scrappy, being a proactive problem solver and evolving at the same fast pace as the industry. If you want to build a successful career, you need to be prepared to continue growing. — Colin McGuire, Boomn

9. ONLY APPLY FOR JOBS YOU ACTUALLY QUALIFY FOR

This can be a tough nut to crack because oftentimes job listings, necessary qualifications and other criteria are rather vague in the tech industry. Make sure you know what you’re applying for, be sure you have the right qualifications and go from there. That’s the best route to save time and energy. — Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

10. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A GENUINE INTEREST AND DRIVE

To succeed in the tech industry, you need to have a genuine interest in the subject. Make sure you can keep up with the field’s changes without feeling burned out or overwhelmed. New advancements are always taking place, so prepare yourself to wear many hats and keep the learning process going. — Jared Atchison, WPForms

11. YOU MAY NEED TO DEVELOP KNOWLEDGE OUTSIDE YOUR AREA OF EXPERTISE

When doing a tech job, youre expected to be highly skilled in a specific area. But this doesnt mean that you wont be asked to develop your knowledge in other languages or carry out other functions. You should be willing to learn about new technologies and languages if that crosses into your main work. So, keep an open mind and be ready to build your skills in new areas. — Blair Williams, MemberPress

12. YOU’LL NEED TO KEEP UP WITH INDUSTRY NEWS

The tech industry is all about staying up to date on the latest industry news. I suggest you spend some time reading tech blogs and getting a handle on how much this industry has changed over the last several years before hunting for your first job. — John Turner, SeedProd LLC

13. TECH ISNT ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL

You need to be flexible. You should understand that this field is not one-size-fits-all. Theres a possibility that you will multitask, work in different roles and have a changing schedule. To be in the IT world could mean good compensation, but you should also know how to work your way in and out of the field. — Daisy Jing, Banish

More for Job Seekers8 Strategies for Acing Your Next Career Opportunity

Expert Contributors

Built In’s expert contributor network publishes thoughtful, solutions-oriented stories written by innovative tech professionals. It is the tech industry’s definitive destination for sharing compelling, first-person accounts of problem-solving on the road to innovation.

Learn More

Great Companies Need Great People. That's Where We Come In.

Recruit With Us