'Technology industry has home for every type of talent'

The software space is booming globally. While industries such as travel, tourism and entertainment have struggled in the Covid era, firms that are building software or leveraging technology are doing well. Companies such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix have grown in market prominence. In Nepal, we have seen businesses in software development, ecommerce, telehealth and related industries boom.

Generally speaking, technology industry jobs pay relatively well and many want to work here. Yet, the myth is that only young male engineers with IT backgrounds have opportunities here. As a result, many non-engineers don’t try to get into this space. While it is true that many young male engineers work in tech, it is totally wrong that there are no opportunities for female engineers and non-engineering talent. Based on my experience building software companies for the last two decades, the good tech companies have a lot more than engineers working for them.

Technology firms serve everyone – young, old, men, women, kids and more – and many industries – healthcare, retail, finance, government, non-profits and others. Yes, tech companies have lots of engineers. However, engineers only love to do certain types of tasks – design, write code and automate. There is a lot more to making products that your customers love than just writing software. Tech companies that only have engineers struggle to serve their customer needs effectively. To gain widespread adoption, you need colleagues who are like the customers you are trying to serve, who speak your customer’s language.

For example, a software tool for doctors must be built by those who understand the doctor. Yes, it needs engineers but also nurses, doctors, writers, designers, customer success, marketers, sales and others. Many engineers don’t know how doctors work. If your software serves teachers, you need team members who understand them and the school environment. Unless someone in your team has worked in education, it is impossible for you to build a good product for teachers. Our firm GrowByData provides marketing intelligence for global brands and marketing agencies. We started building software with engineers. But we added colleagues from digital marketing who understand search engines, pricing, promotions, advertising, competitive intelligence and more. If we only had engineers, we wouldn’t have built products our marketing customers love.

For individuals wanting to work in technology, find a company that matches your interest. If you are a writer, find a company that doesn’t explain its product easily to customers. Explain the product in your own words that the customer will understand, and pitch. For example, we at GrowByData are focused on digital marketing. We need good writers to write excellent digital marketing stories and prefer candidates who bring these skills to interviews. If you are a designer who loves to create graphical children’s books, mockup a new product design and share it with an educational product company. If you are a math major, showcase novel uses of data. In our case, we like math majors who analyse marketing data and show advertising trends. You may be interested in social media. Explain how you would use social media to get leads for the firm. If you are interested in public relations, explain how you would get the firm’s articles published in relevant media. You may be interested in organisational training. Explain how you would help the firm attract, recruit, retain and rejuvenate talent in the increasingly virtual remote working environment. You may enjoy detecting problems in healthcare. Find a problem of a healthcare product company. If you love keeping customers happy, explain gaps in the company’s customer service and how you fix them. If you enjoy driving regulatory change to bring adoption, you may be perfect for the firm’s government relations group.

Examples of opportunities are many. Hence, I encourage all with interest in tech to find a firm working in your space of interest and pitch your unique value to them. This is a winning formula for you and the firm. We like to hire like this and companies that understand your value will accept you. And this will be your entry-point into the booming field of technology.

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Prasanna Dhungel

Prasanna Dhungel is an expert on applying Big Data and Human-in-the-loop models, the science of applying data to human interactions, to optimise how consumers buy online. His company, GrowByData, based in Boston and Kathmandu, provides marketing intelligence to help some of the largest advertising agencies and brands in the world. Dhungel advises Clinic One, Kathmandu valley’s leading preventative healthcare clinic. He has previously advised the Gates Foundation, Evolent Health, and others. He received his BS with Honours from Cornell University, MEng from Princeton University, and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

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