There are many careers to pursue online, and going into freelancing is one of them. While contemplating what type of freelance work is a good fit, it’s wise to write down which skills a new freelancer needs. If going into tech is exciting, asking questions about the profession is a must. For extra guidance on how to make money as a freelancer, and setting up an online business, check out our free webinar training. For now, get a head start on learning if tech is the right field and what type of skills are ideal to have.
1. Am I on the inside looking in?
SkillCrush says you should ask yourself if you’re on the inside looking in. If you’re wondering what that means is you should be willing to learn and evolve with the field.
One of the biggest obstacles to pursuing a tech career is feeling like you’re on the outside looking in. If you’re new to the idea of working in tech and don’t know a lot about it, it might seem like you don’t have direct access to an inside track. Happily, there are a ton of resources out there to point you in the right direction. On top of that, your status as an outsider might actually be a BENEFIT to your tech ambitions.
Since tech is always changing and evolving, the more perspectives you can bring to the table, the better. Think of all the non-tech experiences in your life so far as a positive. You aren’t operating inside of a tech bubble so you might be able to think about things in a way someone inside that bubble can’t, or see things that others in the bubble can’t see.
By learning tech skills and combining them with your own unique pre-existing set of skills and experiences, you’ll be bringing a mind and a voice to tech that has spent time outside the confines of computer science degrees. And that’s certainly not a bad thing.
Embrace your outsider/newcomer status and let it help you stand out in a good way. Also keep in mind that the soft skills you’ve picked up along the way in other fields still apply in tech. This article from CIO.com talks about soft skills that employers in tech should be looking for, and none of them require a tech-specific background.
2. What are my goals?
Your goals should always align with your new profession, as The Muse reminds us. Ask yourself what your goals are and whether they will help propel you to excel as a freelancer.
Don’t always be taken in by brand names. Sam Gavis-Hughson from Byte by Byte says new grads, especially, need to ask themselves what kind of person they are and what their underlying goals actually are.
“Understanding that is huge because that determines what jobs you should look for,” he says. “Do you really need to get a job at Google or would you be just as happy anywhere else?”
Make a list of your top priorities and compare those to the positions you’re applying for. Are you looking to move up quickly, or wear many hats, or find a company with great continued education offerings? Now, reexamine that company profile in light of your goals to make sure it aligns with them before applying.
3. Do I enjoy helping people?
Flexjobs points out that it’s vital that you’re alright with helping people because that’s a large part of the job. If the answer is no, you should take the time to consider whether tech is really the right field for you.
Despite all the hype, technology is a tool—things we humans develop to solve problems we face, and our tendency is to focus on problems we understand. Therefore, many problems remain unaddressed (or poorly addressed), partly because women are woefully underrepresented in the pool of talent that is currently designing and building technology tools. The truth is that knowing the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of which tools to build is just as important as knowing the “how.” So if you want to help make a difference in people’s lives, creating technology can be a meaningful way to go about it.
4. Do I like to learn?
Rassmusen College says that since you’ll always be learning in technology, you should be okay with that. If growing and learning as technology evolves is not your thing, then technology may not be right for you.
Some careers don’t give you much room to explore your interests or pursue new learning opportunities, but technology isn’t one of them. In the ever-expanding tech world, curiosity is rewarded and encouraged.
“What surprised me most about coming to work in the tech field was how openly encouraged you are to explore and learn new things,” says Claire Whittaker, tech blogger and product manager at Amazon. “The fast-paced environment where you are constantly looking to innovate on behalf of your customers means those working in tech are continuously exploring new ideas.”
Forget about sticking to the status quo. In technology, your natural drive to learn more and pursue new ideas will serve you well.
5. Am I creative?
Another quality people who work in tech have, according to SkillCrush, is being creative. As you help others, you should be willing to follow your passions and infuse creativity.
There’s no more inaccurate notion about the tech industry than it being all about 1’s and 0’s. Those 1’s and 0’s play a big part of course, but tech is much more varied than that. From web developers to UX designers to marketing assistants and data analysts, “tech” covers a lot of ground career wise, and the one thing that all those jobs have in common is that they’re creative.
In fact, creativity is the foundation behind almost everything in tech, making it an ideal field for fusing your passions with dependable employment.
Do you like turning your ideas into tangible things? Expressing yourself on a stage, canvas, or page? If you have this creative drive you’re a short list of skills away from translating that creativity to the digital realm. Think of those 1’s and 0’s as creative tools like the language you use to write with or the paints or materials you use for visual arts. Do they seem a lot more friendly now?
Remember, at the end of the day any piece of tech hardware, software, app, or website is ultimately a creative work of art. If you’re creative, you’re a natural for this kind of work.
Rasmussen College also explains how creativity plays into technology:
Technology may seem cut and dry at first glance, with little wiggle room for creativity. At its heart, though, tech is all about innovation. That means letting your creative side shine as you explore new approaches and ideas.
“Creativity and creative problem-solving in the tech industry can easily rival any artistic endeavors the world may put on,” says Jake Woehlke, writer at Nomad in the Middle. He shares that having a creative attitude will serve you well in the technology field, which is constantly trying to stay ahead in an increasingly global market.
If you love pursuing new ideas and finding the best way to accomplish a goal, your creative mind would be a welcome addition to the tech world.
6. Is it the right fit for me?
As we’ve been hinting at throughout the article, The Muse sums it up quite nicely by suggesting you ask if working in technology is a good fit for you. To figure out if this is a good field, you should take the time to ask yourself some questions, write down your skills, and consider what type of work makes you excited.
Here’s the part we’re all familiar with—stalk (ahem, I mean research) your potential employer online. If you want a sneak peek at office culture, take a look at social media, Kelly advises. “Check out the profiles of people working at the company and see if they are the kinds of people you see yourself working with side by side every day.”
In addition to the people, look for keywords throughout a company profile that point to the company’s values. You can learn a lot about a company’s culture by discovering what values they choose to emphasize.
And, if you do make it to the interview process, ask the right questions to alleviate your concerns. “Asking ‘will I work with anyone who is remote or in another office?’ [means you are] better equipped to negotiate your own flexibility once you have an offer,” Kelly says. Posing questions like this is a better way to get info than just asking whether you can work remotely from the outset.
We hope to see you during our free webinar training! We often talk about new strategies to try to succeed online and bring more traffic to your site, whether it’s a blog, freelance website, and more.