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When the majority of us think about a career in tech, chances are our minds conjure up imagery of hooded figures coding in a dimly lit room, or a sterile office space filled with men in business attire.
But the technology sector is so much more diverse than you can imagine, and tech professionals don't necessarily have to be computer scientists or ICT staff to feel fulfilled when working in this evolving global industry.
Even so, finding the right professional pathway within the tech sector requires a foundational understanding of the skills and disciplines that make up the fabric of the tech industry.
Today, we'll be exploring some of the most popular professional pathways that make up the modern tech landscape, and how Aussie students can find their footing when entering the sector from any of these avenues.
Software engineering is a highly rewarding discipline that primarily incorporates elements of design and computer programming as a means of creating highly intuitive computer and mobile applications.
Students can engage with the fundamentals of software engineering by enrolling in a software engineering course, and seeking out professional opportunities like internships or contracted roles to deepen their understanding of the discipline in a real-world context.
Individuals with an interest in software engineering are also encouraged to have a go at developing their own software.
You can learn a lot from planning out and creating your very own mobile app, regardless of whether you're an iOS or Android developer.
Beginner app developers may also choose to take advantage of the plethora of 'no code' app development platforms available across the globe, so that they can engage with all the basics of app development without necessarily having to learn how to code first.
Like software development, web development is largely all about creating gorgeous platforms that feel like an extension of your user in itself.
The only difference between these two disciplines is that software engineers work on contained apps, whereas web developers build and design websites.
Budding web developers can find employment opportunities and educational experiences in a fairly similar fashion to software engineers, although it can be argued that web developers may find themselves with a more diverse selection of potential employers or internship placements.
The reason for this is that many companies do maintain their own in-house development team, meaning that web developers can either work for a dedicated web development agency, or perhaps work as the devs professional for businesses operating out of virtually all industries.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the push for companies to invest in digital processes to cater for a growing population of digital customers, has resulted in virtually all sectors requiring web development professionals simultaneously.
In essence, this is a discipline that is likely to futureproof your career.
Forward-thinking students with a keen interest in tech are advised to build foundational web development skills however they can as a means of addressing our global shortage of web developers.
If you're into consumer technologies or love the idea of being a traditional 'inventor', then chances are you'll enjoy a career in product design and development.
Product design holds few similarities to other schools of design, as it is an incredibly technical and multidisciplinary profession.
Alongside possessing a keen eye for intuitive design, product designers are also expected to maintain a thorough understanding of UX (user experience) research and design principles, digital marketing, electronic and hardware engineering, and UI (user interface) development.
As product designers are required to possess a myriad of skill sets in order to excel in their roles, many industry leaders often view this discipline as being one of the hardest professions within the tech sector.
Despite how dynamic this discipline is, however, there's no denying that product design is a highly engaging profession that has the potential to be quite fulfilling, especially for students who see themselves as modern day tinkerers and inventors.
As we delve deeper and deeper into the digital age, it has become abundantly clear that the world itself runs on data.
Data is what shapes the majority of modern business growth and development, as well as the evolution of virtually every technological aspect that makes up our day to day lives.
Our social media platforms change in response to metrics. Even our smart home technology is designed to take stock of user and device data in order to provide users with a tailored user experience.
Like web development, all businesses operating out of each and every industry have a growing need to understand their data.
This is precisely why data analytics is largely considered to be one of the most lucrative fields within the technology sector in the present day.
Not only do the data analysts of today have total freedom over the trajectory of their career pathways when compared to other professions within the tech sector, but they also stand to make a decent income depending on the professional roles they adopt.
Students with an interest in mathematics and understanding statistical information are likely to enjoy a career in data analytics.
You can get to grips with data analytics as a discipline by enrolling in a data analytics course, seeking work placements or other professional opportunities, and spending time with web metrics tools like SEO tools and other kinds of data trackers.
One other discipline that's well and truly been on the rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic is network security and cybersecurity.
Network security encapsulates a collection of different professional roles, including network security engineers, administrators, ICT support staff, and information security managers, just to name a few.
Virtually all network security specialists are expected to keep up to date with evolutions in cybersecurity, an area of study which is essentially evolving on a daily basis, as hackers and other malicious parties across the globe continue to produce increasingly sophisticated malware and digital scams.
Network security specialists can keep malware and other malicious content at bay by designing and maintaining cybersecurity measures and processes, spanning from the implementation of firewalls and VPN servers for local area networks, all the way through to cybersecurity protocols that wider bodies of staff must follow in the event of a data breach.
Similarly to web developers, network security specialists can work for independent organisations and companies, or even find a role within a dedicated cybersecurity agency.
Wherever you do find yourself as a network security specialist is likely to be largely dictated by your technical background, capabilities, and interests in different industries or sectors.
Finally, it's important to note that these professional pathways aren't all the options that are available to young professionals hoping to forge a career within the technology sector.
There are a myriad of other professions to choose from, including graphic design, technical writing, computer research scientists, sales and digital marketing, and a myriad of other creative, business, and scientific fields.
Young professionals are urged to explore a variety of disciplines within the tech sector in order to find a field that aligns best with their skill sets as well as their personal and professional interests.