There are lots of great options for tech jobs out there. However, some positions suffer from excessive hype, and that ends up hurting some of the technologists who pursue them. In short, they think the job will give them certain kinds of opportunities and tasks; but when they land the position, the reality turns out crushingly different.
In addition, some tech jobs can quickly turn grinding, with hard-to-meet deliverables and (in some limited cases) a lot of emotional hardship. As always, carefully evaluate any sort of offer before signing on. While everyone has the right to choose a job that fits their needs and career goals, the following positions might not be exactly the right fit for your skills and temperament.
Prospective data analysts picture themselves performing sophisticated analyses, creating amazing reports and visualizations, and solving complex business problems. And in some cases, that’s exactly what you get! At some companies, however, candidates are being “mis-sold” as to what their day-to-day duties will entail, warned Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break into Tech.
“Data analysts end up spending most of their time on data pulls, not on analysis,” Schifeling said. “It’s no wonder that they often refer to themselves as “SQL or Excel monkeys.” Those seeking a career in data analysis should research the job thoroughly before making the leap: You could end up mining awesome datasets for insights that affect company strategy—but you could just easily find yourself cleaning up endless sheets of messy data. Make sure to ask about day-to-day requirements of the position during the job interview.
Customer Success Representative
Working in an external-facing role could make you feel important, but it can also make you feel frustrated and powerless. “Armies” of customer success reps serve as the face of the company to clients, particularly at SaaS providers, Schifeling explained. When the software doesn’t work as it’s supposed to, they take all the heat from frustrated customers.
Worse, reps have limited control or input into the software’s design or functionality. Having responsibility without authority is enough to send some people rushing for the exit. In order to stick around (and find the job fulfilling), candidates should really love helping customers solve problems. If you’re interested in working a help desk or in some other customer-service role, also keep in mind that automation could radically change the nature of these tech jobs in the years to come.
Information Security Analyst
While information security analysts play an increasingly important role in protecting an organization’s systems and networks from cyberattacks, growing threats have created stressful working conditions that may take a toll on your peace of mind and job security, according to Kyle Kensing, online content editor for CareerCast, where he produces reports on worst and most stressful jobs.
In fact, the stress of trying to thwart bad actors caused Forbes contributor Dominick Paul to name “Chief Security Officer” as one of the worst tech jobs. However, for those who feel they’re suited for the role, the right education and certifications can prepare you for the heavy (and rapidly evolving) challenges in the security space. In addition, those with the right mindset can succeed, especially if they embrace emerging security tools and platforms such as artificial intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning.
Some workers at Facebook, YouTube and Twitter spend their working hours viewing graphic content involving violent crimes, suicides or pornography in an effort to keep the Internet safe. Some have developed mental health issues or PTSD as a result, according to a report from The Verge. Suffice to say, if you’re looking for tech jobs, a career as a content moderator is definitely not for the faint of heart.
Many software engineers and MBAs aspire to become product managers. In fact, senior pros consider product management to be the “it job” in tech, Schifeling said. Like many tech jobs, the potential pay and perks are high.
“However, engineers who dream about becoming the next Steve Jobs or Elon Musk by building the next killer feature or product may be surprised at the negative aspects of the job,” he added.
While a job as a product manager might be right for you, it comes with numerous challenges. For instance, you’ll spend most of your time building consensus among various stakeholders. Your creativity might be hindered by the constraints of the organization, and you’ll face tight deadlines.
On top of that, project managers must stay on top of changing terminology and methodology; for example, many organizations have increasingly embraced short-term planning over trying to plot out every single element of a project. If that wasn’t enough, constant communication with stakeholders and executives (some of whom might always be skeptical) is key. Some disillusioned product managers have called the job “thankless.”
QA and Software Testing
In many companies, testers are placed on long-term projects where they test the same application day after day. They may become bored or feel trapped by limited growth opportunities. What’s more, the emergence of the DevOps methodology is having a big impact on software testing requirements and practices, which could influence duties and satisfaction. And that’s before we get to the increasing need to code (which, to be fair, applies to most tech jobs).
Just make sure you understand what additional changes are on the horizon before pursuing a career in QA or software testing. Your happiness in tech jobs often hinges on the research that you put in.