Are you an engineer who’s disenchanted with engineering? Maybe you’re a programmer who’s peeved with programming? Career changes are a part of professional life now more than ever, even if you’re “simply” moving from a technical career path to a managerial one in your current field. Unfortunately, technical professionals are sometimes stereotyped as lacking the kinds of soft skills that employers like to see in non-technical roles.
Employers sometimes believe – mistakenly – that technical people, while great when it comes to the nuts and bolts of particular products and other pragmatic problems, are not practiced enough in the delicacies of dealing with people. They assume not only that “soft skills” is synonymous with “transferable skills”, but that these skills are innate rather than learned (or learnable).
So if you’re a technical professional trying to transition into a non-technical role, the key to success lies in overcoming the unfair stereotypes surrounding your soon-to-be former field by highlighting just how transferable your skills really are. Read more
Whether you’re in engineering, information technology, or another technical field, at some point in your career, you will come to a fork in the road. Each of these evermore divergent career paths will present to you their own unique set of obstacles and benefits. But the true challenge is in knowing which one to take: technical or managerial.
Whether you come to this junction after five years or 20, how to choose a career that you know is right for you will depend on how – and how honestly – you reflect on what you really love doing, what you really don’t love doing, and what you think you are capable of doing. Read more
As an employer, you have a comptroller whether you call them that or not. In fact, what a comptroller is literally called varies from organization to organization. Some say the word phonetically, while others spell “comptroller”, but say “controller”. In many companies, the full title is “financial controller”. Sometimes the CFO doubles as the comptroller. But in all cases, the comptroller is the person overseeing the accounting and financial reporting of your company…Or are they?
Traditionally, the duties of the comptroller included overseeing the day-to-day functioning of the financial department, monitoring accounting practices and cash flow (including accounts payable and accounts receivable, expenditures, budgets, etc.), and managing regular financial reporting. These duties scream routine. However, several economic forces have altered the role of comptroller, making it more demanding – and more in-demand. Read more
Your organization may not be in the oil and gas industry, software development, or aerospace manufacturing, but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t benefit from hiring people with technical skills and backgrounds. It may be off-putting at first to see someone who spent their university years – or even several years in the workforce – in engineering or information technology applying for a sales or training role. After all, such positions are heavily reliant on communication, relationship-building, negotiation, and other “soft skills” – skills not typically associated with those in the technical fields.
But as we’ve written about before, long gone are the days of the aloof, basement-dwelling tech support pixie. Technical skills are no longer considered enough to be successful in the technical fields, meaning a lot of candidates you come across with engineering or information technology backgrounds have probably had to harden their soft skills over the years. The emergence of soft skills as a cornerstone of success in the technical professions is even being leveraged as a way to attract more women into the STEM sector. But with so much emphasis out there on the transferability of soft skills – with many using the terms “transferable skills” and “soft skills” synonymously – are we losing sight of the broader benefits that technical experience can offer employees and the employers who hire them? Could it be that technical skills lend themselves to certain transferable skills that aren’t so easy to come by in non-technical fields? Read more
There’s no question that information technology (IT) is and will continue to be one of the most attractive fields for a thriving career. Many see IT jobs as sure things – for high salaries, job security, and great working conditions. And for many, IT jobs do deliver on those promises. However, as is the case with jobs in almost any field, IT jobs ensure that you get what you give. Read more
There is no shortage of talk these days about how advancing technology continues to transform the job market. Technology can replace jobs, create entirely new ones, and fundamentally alter existing ones. This latter phenomenon was even discussed in our previous article on the evolution of the administrative assistant. In that case, we pointed out how the tasks, and therefore the required tech savvy, of administrative assistants changed over time in order to adapt to advancing technologies. But what about jobs that lie within the technology field? While those must also change according to the new technologies that arise, the skillsets needed require more than tech savviness; in fact, they require skills that in many other fields are considered downright old-school. So-called “soft skills”, which include communication and interpersonal skills, are becoming just as important for a flourishing career in tech as tech savviness itself (and that’s especially true when trying to attract more women to the field). The permeation of soft skills into tech is perhaps most pronounced in tech support, the tech field that the average worker is most exposed to.
So how exactly has tech support changed over the years and why? And what sorts of qualities should employers look for when hiring the tech support professionals of today? Read more