If at this very moment you’re already dreading the sound of your alarm clock going off tomorrow morning, maybe it’s time to start thinking about finding a different gig. Intelligent, creative problem solvers who love a good challenge—read on. The tech world might be for you.
We spend more time working than anything else we do. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that’s more time than we spend sleeping, more than we’re with our families, it’s even more time than we spend eating, relaxing and taking care of the house—combined. Those hours matter. They can be enriching or depleting, inspiring or discouraging. If we’re lucky, our job helps us feel happy, energized, appreciated and fulfilled. You’re at work for more of your waking hours than anywhere else. It’s pretty important.
“It is possible to find work that is life-enhancing,” writes author of How to Find Fulfilling Work Roman Krznaric, “That broadens our horizons and makes us feel more human.”
There are a lot of ideas out there about what makes a fulfilling job: is it feeling like you’re contributing to a meaningful cause? Being so interested by your tasks that time flies and you get into a state of flow? Is it being appreciated? Having autonomy over what you do? A chance to move up? Or maybe is it, for every individual, a unique cocktail of each of these things. We’re not sure, but it’s probably the latter.
We’re realistic. We know there’s no such thing as the perfect job, but it can get pretty darn good. If you wake up in the morning and feel excited and inspired about the majority of what you’re going to do with your day, you’re one of the fortunate ones.
If you’re struggling with the following three things in your current position, a tech career might be what you need to find fulfillment in your work life.
1) Staying Interested
In the world of tech, problem-solving is king. Whether your puzzle is in building a beautiful, functional website (aesthetically-included problem-solvers, check this out), orchestrating an elegant back-end, optimizing your company’s top line with innovative data analysis (head here if you have a mind for numbers) or revolutionizing efficient data management, a tech career will keep you on your toes. Having a task that’s engaging to you is key to getting into that state of flow, you know, when you’ve been so engrossed in something hours simply passed you by? Imagine feeling that way about your work.
2) Permission to Create
There’s something incredibly satisfying about making something new, making your unique contribution. The tech world is actually filled with opportunities to do just that, for those who want to take advantage. Where it’s in front-end or back-end web development, if it’s in data engineering or data science, there’s a crucial element of work in these fields that that keeps people motivated: Permission, reward, even, to be creative in their individual approach. Because you’re facing new problems with every project, because your company wants to be on the cutting edge, and because nothing amazing ever happened without a little creativity (yes, even in data science) your drive to find your way to do your job better is valued.
There are those who thrive with self-contained work, and there’s nothing wrong with that. And there are also those who like the give and take of exchanging ideas, who want to contribute their piece to a greater whole alongside their teammates doing the same. If that’s you, keep reading. Collaboration is key in the tech world. The back-end developer’s got to keep in synergistic communication with the front-end team, and a data scientist is the chocolate chip the data engineer’s cookie (pun intended). Plus: Look at it this way, coding has improved immensely over the last decade because programmers can draw on the innovations of an army of other programmers instantaneously connected–and they’re happy to contribute their part, too. Imagine being on that team.
Bonus: You know the conventional wisdom that what matters isn’t so much what you do, but who you do it with? There is something to that. Who you work with can be a crucial part of being happy at work. That’s why picking the team you join is so important. Empower yourself with a highly in-demand skill set so you get more freedom to be selective about the office culture that’s right for you. Data science was named the hottest career of 2016, and the need for web developers is pretty huge, too.