At one point or another, when thinking about what career path you might want to train for, you’ve probably been told to follow your passion. Phrases like: “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” and “Don’t chase the money, chase the dream,” come to mind. Recently, an interview with billionaire entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” star Mark Cuban completely deflated that idea. Essentially, Cuban said that following your passion is easily the worst advice you could ever get. Instead, he advises to follow your effort by looking at where you spend your time.
“I was never into technology in college,” Cuban said. “I took one computer class and cheated at it. But, when I got one of my first jobs out of school using technology, it was like, ‘Wait, I love this.’ I’ve taught myself the program, I could go seven hours, eight hours without taking a break thinking it was 10 minutes because I was concentrating so hard and so excited and really loved it. And, that’s when I realized that I can be really, really good at technology.”
Even if you didn’t build computers as a kid or enjoy math classes, that doesn’t mean tech isn’t an option for you. So what characteristics should you possess that will lead to success? Here are a few questions to think about as you decide what path is right for you.
Are you self-motivated?
The technology industry doesn’t sit around waiting for you to catch up. It’s a fast-paced field and you have to want to keep up. In fact, most IT pros would agree that once you feel like an expert in a specific area, the “rules of the game” have already changed. In other words, once an IT student, always an IT student. If this is your chosen path, you have to be self-motivated to continuous learning throughout your education and your career.
Are you good at time management?
This may be a trait that all successful students possess, but is even more important for tech students. Think about it. You can listen, read and watch, but when it comes to technology – hands-on experience is key. That means that many tech students need to carve out time on their own to practice what they’ve learned while still keeping up on their studies, work and other responsibilities.
Are you a creative thinker?
Many tech roles are all about solving current problems and preventing future problems. And, most of the time there isn’t a standard protocol that works across the board. If you can think outside that proverbial box to create new processes and define new approaches you will see your star rise both in the classroom and on the job.
Are you a team player?
You can have the most knowledge, be the best problem solver and manage your time like a champ – but, if you don’t share anything with the people you are working with, it’s all for not. Being a team player in the classroom likely translates to group projects. But, those group projects translate to inter-department work on the job and maybe more importantly, being able to work with those outside of your tech team.
Do you have the right attitude?
Being a student is a unique chapter in your life where you are the only person in the driver’s seat. Where you go is completely up to you. Having a positive, open, flexible attitude to whatever is thrown your way during this time is perhaps THE most important factor to your ultimate success. Taking pride in your accomplishments and owning your missteps will not only contribute to true learning, but will be qualities that make you valuable to your future employer.
Want to take your student experience to the next level? Check out these three easy ways to start getting experience for the IT job you want.