Ambiguity in Tech

Tech is unique. It's young and ever changing. It gets bored easily. It likes to feel special.

This is great for a lot of reasons.

1) It helps you stay on your toes and forces you to be flexible.
2) It's socially progressive (relative to other industries like banking) so it's a friendlier place for women and people of color.
3) It has a lower barrier to entry and it comes with less bullshit. Are you smart? Can you show it? No fancy degree? No problem.
4) It embraces non traditional thinkers. Maybe you're smart but horrible at tests and school. Maybe you're dyslexic (me). Maybe you're autistic. Regardless, you can still find a place in tech where you can shine and be appreciated for you originality.

It is, by all means, not perfect. According to the Harvard Business Review, 41% of women working in tech eventually end up leaving the field (compared to just 17% of men). There are also barely any Black people in tech (source : me). 

After eight years in software, I've noticed a recurring characteristic: Tech is really ambiguous. You don't know what you should do in your job. You don't know how to grow your career because you don't exactly know what your career is. Your title could mean many things. You don't know who your boss really is. Someone got hired and you don't know what they do or how you should interact with them. 

This can lead to paralysis if you're afraid of conflict or screwing up. What if you miss something you should be doing? What if you step on someone else's toes by doing something you shouldn't have?

I'm guilty of paralysis. My mentor, Glen Lipka, offered this piece of advice: If you don't know what to do, go solve a problem and show it to your execs. Any problem. If you make something awesome, others will recognize it and you can have a huge impact on the company. If you don't, you made something for your portfolio, you've learned something, and your execs think you're prolific. You have nothing to lose.

Don't let tech's ambiguity overwhelm you. Keep learning and growing regardless of the rules (or lack thereof). That's what leaders and innovative thinkers do.