Technology is an interesting industry sector to work in, as it covers so many bases. I’m going to broaden the term “Technology” to be “Information, Communication & Technology” (or ICT) covers everything from providing end user support to writing hardware device drivers that sit under any operating system to writing about developments. ICT is a core part of developed society and has gained a foothold in developing countries – witness the meteoric rise in Internet users in India as one example. The smartphone is at the centre of this particular universe and Android is the dominant smartphone operating system, so essentially Android is at the centre of consumer electronics. It has a bigger bite of that particular apple than any other mobile operating system, although with this great power comes great responsibilities. It’s very difficult to work in a developed country these days without some involvement of technology. As well as almost completely covering the world, technology also has another important characteristic: it changes very quickly. That we cannot easily get away from technology and how it has been in a constant state of change makes it an exciting area to work in.
Something that we notice is how those employees of successful technology businesses that have been in a constant state of evolution and change acquire certain intangible skills and experiences, which they are able to take with them along their life journey. It’s something that the industry has seen from people who have worked at Google and it is not that Google only hires the best people, because there are many brilliant people working elsewhere and presumably some less-than-brilliant individuals working for Google. But it is more that the Google culture seeps into employees so that if they decide to move on, they take some of this brilliance with them. It is not just Google – any transformative technology company instills a subtle advantage into employees, so this means in addition to Google, we can also include Apple and Facebook as two obvious businesses. However, there are many more large and small.
Two of the skills picked up by employees working for a fast paced, successful technology company include understanding what motivates brilliant achievers and understanding what high performance feels like. It’s about having a “can do” rather than a “we can’t because.” Let me give an example: “we’d love to hire this engineer, he’s very interested but we can’t match his current salary.” Instead, the attitude should be, “where can we place this engineer for the biggest impact?” A Google phenomena during the early years is that engineers felt called to join in order to participate. Many of the early engineers were settled and established in jobs that they enjoyed. However, people didn’t just go and work for Google… people joined and worked with Google. This is because the attitude of the founders was instilled into the business from the top down.
The career advice here is not if you want to work in the technology industry, find another Google. It’s to find a business that is involved or leading a face-paced industry, a start-up business, venturing into something new and different, with strong management with the aptitude and attitude to solve a valuable problem. Here, you will learn positive habits from brilliant people as they are at their most productive. This sort of life and career experience will be invaluable going forwards.