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What Surprised Us About Working In Tech


If you’ve been scrolling on TikTok lately, you’ve probably noticed the plethora of videos on how to break into the tech industry. Creators are emphasizing the perks that can come with working in tech, like working remotely, earning a competitive salary, and being able to transition from another industry. With the Great Resignation, it’s a candidate’s market, and an increasing number of people are interested in tech.

While there are numerous known benefits to working in the tech industry, it’s an ever-evolving field, which means your career can end up being completely different from what you first imagined. Here’s what has surprised us the most about working in tech:

“While I knew there would be a fair amount of interfacing with clients and internal stakeholders, I never imagined it would be as much as it is. As someone who genuinely enjoys talking with others and breaking down problems, I’m glad this was the case! Think of your typical ‘nerd in a cave’ stereotype — it’s very different from what we do on a daily basis.”
Kitto, Software Engineer

“Algorithms don’t matter in your daily work.”
—Sasha, Tandem Alum

“Being able to draw is a plus, but not a necessity in becoming a designer. Appreciation for visual balance and classic proportions is a must.”
Lin, Design Manager

“The tech you choose is usually not as important as the architecture you design, how you manage complexity, and what your team is already trained in.”
—Cain, Tandem Alum

“Lots of meetings and context switching. I did not expect to be in so many meetings or to have so many different things to check off my list before the end of a sprint. It’s not bad, just something new.”
Sara, Software Engineer

“There’s a lot more active collaboration between engineering and design!”
Chris, Client Engagement

“You can target the types of companies you work for based on the tech stacks you choose to learn.”
Varell, Software Engineer

“There really is no dress code. I thought I would have to dress in a black turtleneck for the rest of my career.”
Lin, Design Manager

“You have to ask a LOT of questions before you ever start drawing or wireframing. There is more interaction that happens after the designs are ‘done’ — there’s chatting with the development team, possible re-scoping, etc.”
McKenzie, Product Designer

“I think one thing that has surprised me is how important building long-term industry relationships has been. I generally don’t love ‘networking’ at all, but my network has definitely helped my career along and still provides tons of perspective and help when needed.”
Darcy, Engineering Manager

“Visuals are important, but design is a lot more about understanding how people think and behave.”
Eli, Product Designer

“Well the first two things that come to mind are ‘tech-bro stuff’ and ‘business’. I assumed I’d be the type of person to have a bunch of tech gadgets and a bunch of ‘things I have or do because I work in tech.’ Maybe I do have some of these habits/items and just don’t notice them yet! Then with business, I had very little insight into how many decisions are put into UI/UX.”
Caleb, Software Engineer

“People skills are a must. There’s no ‘lone artist working in the corner’ in the design world. Communication is key!”
Lin, Design Manager

“Same for developers too! The ‘cowboy coder’ isn’t a hero, but rather a drain on the team and a liability.”
—Aji, Tandem Alum

“Collaboration — the industry has transformed from developers working on their own features to each line of code being worked on in pairs.”
Varell, Software Engineer

When you are looking to break into the tech industry, everything seems new. But even after a long tech career, you’ll still probably find things that surprise you!

Next time you take a break from scrolling through #TechTok, check out our open roles to jumpstart your career.

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