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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Busted: Biggest myths about techies – People Matters

There are several misconceptions out there about techies – largely stemming from the stereotypical images that we have about them, and their work.
According to popular perception, techies are unique with a euphoric energy surrounding them, especially when they are building products. Professionals from non-technical background, consider coders and programmers as tech wizards and geeks. While they might have an affinity towards logical reasoning and data mining, this assumption is not entirely true.
October 3 is observed as National Techies Day in the west to celebrate and acknowledge the talented techies and encourage students to seek a career in the technology industry. On this National Techies Day, let us crack the code and unravel a few misconceptions and myths about “tech gurus”.
The biggest myth about techies that is not true is ‘Techies don’t care about business; all they do is write codes.’
“In fact, techies make excellent business leaders,” says Mohit Joshi, senior product manager, BlueStacks.
Techies have to work very closely with the consumer and in the process, they understand the audience much better than others. They not only understand the big picture of industry evolution but also the immediate consumer trends that help them shape the business better than others.
“Case in point is Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, and Sundar Pichai who is the CEO of Alphabet Inc. Tech geniuses such as these not only ace the coding game but use their technical skills coupled with business acumen to run global companies of such high stature. Technology enthusiasts not necessarily come with a limited skill set but can have the aptitude and attitude for a 360-approach to business,” Joshi says.
One does not necessarily have to separate one from the other, and technology enthusiasts can run successful businesses as they possess leadership skills, management prowess and business mindedness. They can be often addressed as geeks and coders but that does not limit their skill to programming languages alone, as most often you can get an entire package.
“Techies as we call them, definitely know how to grab lucrative positions if and when the right opportunities present themselves.”
In movies and TV shows, techies are generally portrayed in two ways: either as loners or as someone who only hangs out with other techies.
Unfortunately, these depictions are based on the incorrect assumption that technology is the only interest that the tech enthusiasts have, says Vinayak Shrivastav, co-founder and CEO of AI-driven video technology company VideoVerse.
Take, for instance, the depiction of techies in cartoons like Dexter’s Laboratory. These stereotypical depictions of techies have stuck over time.
Techies are also believed to be unpopular and socially difficult to interact with. This however isn’t true as not all technology enthusiasts are on the same spectrum.
“The picture portrayed of techies earlier is changing slowly but steadily now. Take, for instance, the depiction of techies in contemporary programmes like ‘The Big Bang Theory’ where Sheldon, Raj and Leonard each being techies are portrayed as also having a social balance and cool lifestyle or in movies like ‘The Theory of Everything’ which illustrates a beautiful relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife,” Shrivastav contends.
One of the most stumbled upon misconceptions is that people who work closely with technology only speak and understand geek as a life solution, which most certainly is not true.  
“A lot of people get to the nuances of technology because it ignites a sense of passion in them. Many individuals who work closely with technology generally understand when it becomes obstructive or even dangerous and understand when to draw a line and stop. There are several examples of how turning to technology in search of a solution can go terribly wrong,” says Shrivastav.
“Every technophile is generally expected to know everything related to technology. This is like expecting someone who watches films to like all films. Just like how not all movie buffs would enjoy watching romantic movies and prefer a thriller movie, not all techies enjoy everything blockchain related and may express a great interest in AI. Additionally, not all techies would know every technological development out there. There are a few individuals who do like and are interested in everything tech, but often, most techies have their niche area of interests and likes,” he adds.
Some newcomers who decide to enter the tech sector assume they will have a comfortable 9 to 5 work schedule. However, if this is the mindset that they bring with them, they would be in for a surprise.
“Many technology related jobs require one to work fully remotely or allow worker flexibility. A techie might need to be on the job at even 3 a.m. owing to a software malfunction, systems crashing, data retrieving, help prevent frauds etc. A techie’s job can be one which requires attention and assistance 24*7, 365 days. Our stereotypical classification of techies having a 9 to 5 work schedule and stuffed in small cubicles can be credited to movies like ‘Office Space’.
“Depending on the nature of the job, a tech worker can set their own working hours or may face long working hours and calls on weekends, they may also be privileged to embrace a digital nomad lifestyle or work from office,” Shrivastav says.
This is a preconceived notion among aspiring engineers that only a degree from a top tier college will fetch them good tech-based job opportunities.
Sarvesh Navelkar, senior director of engineering at social game developer Zynga India, says degrees from top institutes certainly add value to your profile, making it easier to land a job in the initial years of your career. However, an engineering degree from a legitimate institute along with enhancing your portfolio by taking various courses or freelance/hobby projects does hold merit, and you will find hiring managers interested in onboarding you.
“Tech industry is dynamic and ever evolving, so techies learn on the go and as a result, regardless of your educational background, there are certain aspects that you learn on the job. Like they say, talent is the only virtue that cannot be discriminated against and when coupled with skill, it makes for a perfect profile,” he adds.
It is never too early or too late to learn and unlearn.
If you have a passion for tech and have the time and energy to spend understanding the domain, you can be a techie at any point of your life and excel at it, says Navelkar.  
There are multiple courses available that you can take up to learn whichever aspect of technology you are interested in.
“Coding has become an integral part of kid’s lives today, as many children are learning programming languages at a young age. If you have the aptitude and the interest, there is nothing stopping you. On the other hand, there are founders today with no tech-background, but are learning the intricacies of technology and building tech-laden products, which just goes on to show that with resilience you can be whoever you want to be at any point in your life. Age no bar is what we all should take cognisance of and take the plunge if that’s what our heart says,” he adds.
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