How you got hired in the first place is beyond you. Not you, nor anybody you know understand how you acquired your new position with a tech company. You’re overall bad with technology and you’re knowledge of this realm is largely built around your social media expertise (or lack thereof).
Well that’s okay, because you’re here anyways, and so am I- I’m currently in my second week interning with a tech company and I can’t even begin to articulate (because I still don’t understand) the massive strides in knowledge I’ve made since I started. So I feel obligated to divulge as much information as I can to help you with your new position. I’ve compiled a list of five tips that should help you on your tech journey.
1. Don't Worry About Your Flaws - Be True to Yourself
The company hired you for a reason- because you’re you, and in one way or another, they saw value in your skill sets and personality traits. It doesn’t help to worry about the ways in which you lack expertise.
Learning is the foundation on which you’ll find improvement in the workplace. Genuinely working towards understanding the framework of your company and its goals will allow you to eventually become an expert in your company. Until then you, like everyone else, must develop your craft before you’ll be fully comfortable in your new workplace.
Until you’re comfortable with the overarching framework of your job, there will be some amount of unease. There’s no reason to stress over things out of your control. Focus on what you can control: promoting a positive workplace environment, absorbing as much info as possible, and being yourself.
2. Be Open About What You Don't Know - Ask Questions
The worst thing you can do is allow unknown concepts, practices, or software to remain unknown, especially if you aren’t tech-savvy to begin with. Neglecting information and programs that make up the foundation of your tech company’s mission and goals leads to uncertainty and stress which will disrupt your work. Ask questions about the concepts and programs you’re unfamiliar with and make sure you understand the essential building blocks of your industry before you get in too deep.
I’m lucky enough to be working with a company that embraces learning as one of the foundations of my work. My boss along with the other full-time workers encourage asking questions. If you’re not running into question after question, you’re not working hard enough. Learning as you go is inevitable, but you should have the foundation of your work already established in mind before embarking on projects. If your superiors don’t seem motivated to answer questions as you need, try to have a talk with them so they understand your needs.
3. Champion a Growth Mindset
New information is emerging rapidly in the ever-expanding tech industry. Acquiring a growth mindset is imperative to seeing the bigger picture of your company and its goals. If you feel as if you’re the glaring semblance of disappointment in your office, you should feel better knowing that new information is also being thrown at everybody around you. Don’t break under the weight of new information, but allow the growth mindset to pave the way for you on your journey.
Once you become acquainted with the growth mindset, it will become apart of you for the long haul. Investing time into changing your unwanted behaviors and working towards the growth mindset will help you to grow as an employee and as a person.
4. Commit to Learning Outside of Work
If you’re spending 30+ hours in the same professional environment every week, there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be doing everything you can to optimize that time. If you want to do your job well and be seen as an asset to your employer, look for ways to improve your performance outside of work. Do work outside of work from your laptop, study concepts complementary to your work and figure out how to apply them, and discuss what it is that you do (at least what you think it is that you do) with friends and family. I found that simply discussing my job with my peers helped to normalize and understand some essential, yet unfamiliar concepts.
If you work in the morning, wake up an hour early and read up on relevant information. This will help you find the rhythm of productivity that is sometimes hard to get into during the morning hours. Adding just a half hour of study before work will help you to increase your workplace efficiency.
5. Take Advantage of Free Online Resources like Lynda.com
There are numerous resources that offer free tutorials and courses on technology and software. I enjoy using Lynda.com when I want to become proficient with a program or learn more about a concept. Lynda provides courses sorted by skill level from beginner to advanced for those interested in learning tech. There’s an abundance of online resources that can help you if there’s nobody around in your office to assist. Learning about the rich body of free courses online almost makes me feel bad about having spent so much money on tuition. Probably stay in school, but do utilize these free resources online that can help you every step of the way when learning.