How to Start the Next Facebook and Make Billions (Kind-of)

technology-career

Okay, so no one is going to give you a direct path to billions (or they would likely take their advice themselves!) Regardless, technology can be a very attractive career path for many young adults, but what does it take to set oneself up for a career in the technology field. Even so, what types of opportunities are available? Technology can certainly be a great career path if it aligns with ones interests and skills, but it would be nightmare to enter college thinking it is your perfect career, only to find differently when it is too late. Find out everything you need to know before making any decisions.

Technology Sector in Modern Time

From 2000 to present time (2016), the technology sector has seen unprecedented growth, and this statistic is likely to stay equivalent throughout time, although there is likely to be a slowdown in sector growth long term, as it will eventually become to difficult to build upon current technology levels at a rapid pace. Nonetheless, technological growth will always (an opinion, but highly likely)- be a major part of the U.S. and global economy.

 

Careers Available In the Technology Field

Engineer – this is a broad definition that refers to those that create new products for technology firms, focused on product design and function/implementation

Product Manager – these positions can be promotions from engineering roles, because they require leadership (ie managing employees) but also require a background in their respective technology area. Any major/or even medium sized/small technology firms will need creators to develop new products as the industry is constantly changing at a rapid pace.

Company Founder – This route can make perfect sense if you are someone with an idea and the technological capabilities to make it tangible. After all, life is short right? Proceed with caution however, for many it may make sense to learn as an engineer or product manager first and then eventually try to obtain venture capital/angel or other investment forms to go out on your own.

Keep in mind that these divisions have been kept very high level, and there may be many more types of positions listed at many technology firms, but as a person seeking a position with work related to technology creation these are the basics.

Technology Start-ups – “Silicon Valley”

Silicon Valley has become known as the new go to location for engineering college graduates across the country due to the success of technology firms such as Facebook, Google, and others. The reality is that the outstanding majority of these technology startups fail, leaving investors and employees without any gains. This is not meant to deter those that are seeking to become technology entrepreneurs, it is meant to set realistic expectations.

We recommend thinking carefully about joining a start-up technology firm as the risk may outweigh any potential benefits. However, if you are able to intelligently access that a company has high revenue and growth potential, then it may make sense to take some risk and enter into the company. Those employed will likely receive an equity position in the company. This is due to the fact that many startups have little or no revenue and need to compensate talent somehow. For instance, one will receive shares as a % of total company value, say for example you are given 1% share in the company. If that company valuation grows to $1bn then your equity stake will be valued at $10 million. As one can see here, there are potential benefits, but remember you are taking a risk and many company’s fail before seeing valuations close to $1 billion.

Requirements

Many technology positions can pay 6 figure salarys to recent college graduates, however remember that it is very difficult to obtain these positions. If you are dead set on such though, here is how you can go forward.

1) Perform very well in high school (ie. receive as close to a 4.0 GPA as possible)

2) take the SAT or ACT exam and aim to scores close to the top percentile as possible.

3) These two points will help you gain admission into a  college where large technology firms generally recruit employees from

4) Major in an engineering vertical that interests you. This may not be a 100% necessity, but it makes sense that those hiring you will enjoy knowing you are interest in technology enough to make it your college major.

4) Attempt to have internships starting your freshman year and onward so that you will be best positioned to interview for a top entry level job at a large technology firm (Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, etc.) These companies will provide the highest level of pay and benefits and without the risk that a startup has of failing.

This does not sound easy because it is not an easy option, many of these positions are highly sought after, so an outlined plan like the above will give you a great chance of success. However, keep in mind that there are opportunities for those that do not follow this path, and networking/connections can have a huge impact. Also, do not be discouraged if you are someone interested in technology, but cannot or do not want to obtain a college degree. Anything is possible with enough time/learning, and effort!

 This article is part of Choose the Right Career Path For You Series. 

For help picking a career for you, or switching to one that’s for you check out these great articles.

How to Successfully Switch Careers
4 Industries that are Great for Second Careers
Career in Public Service: Worth the Risk?

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