Just starting out in tech? How to choose your pathway

Careers, Guest Post, NextGen | | 5 min read

Are you considering starting a tech career? Or just getting started and trying to make sense of the many options available? It can be hard to decide which path is right for you. So we’ve partnered with Le Wagon to provide a guide to choosing your own pathway and what to consider. It’s full of tips to help you with your journey.

What are your interests and skills?

First of all, really consider where your current skills and interests sit. Do you find yourself digging into data to uncover interesting insights and improve processes and want to explore the various roles in Data? Or you may enjoy tinkering with CSS or want to build things and want to learn more about Web Development. Are you creative and want to create visual data dashboards or use your creativity to design websites? Reflect on what interests you the most during your study, at work or any relevant hobbies. And remember that your interests can also be reflected in the industry you want to work for. A passion for arts or healthcare can lead you to work in large companies or cutting-edge startups. Uncovering this can give you a great starting point in narrowing down your options to find roles that align with your goals.

Research Different Career Paths

You then need to think about where your interests lay as this can be a good starting point for exploring different roles and paths in tech. A wide variety of roles are available, from software developers and data analysts to UX designers and product managers. 

As an example, at Silicon Milkroundabout we split our events based on different career paths.

Saturday is traditionally our softer side of tech and includes

  • Product (product managers, product designers, product analyst & service design)
  • Marketing (from strategy to execution to the creative aspect)
  • Design (UX, UI and graphic design)
  • Data analytics and BI (using data in a business/strategic manner)

Then on Sunday we have the more technical tech roles

  • Software engineering / web developement (front end, back end & full stack)
  • Data (data science, data researchers, data / ML engineers)
  • Supportive roles (QA testing, cloud specialists, Sysadmin & DevOps)

These are by no means definitive but give a good starting point for different career paths to explore. So take some time to explore the different options and learn more about what each role entails. This will help you get a better sense of what you might enjoy doing, as well as what skills and experience are required for each role.

You can also search Youtube or social media for first-hand accounts of what it’s like to work at certain companies and in various roles.

Explore your choices

Once you’ve identified which areas you’re curious about, search for various learning resources to explore whether learning these new skills will interest you. If you’re interested in Web Development, you might start learning about Ruby. You might look into Python to explore Data Science, Web Databases or automation.

There are many free resources to get you started, including free online or on-campus workshops and free online courses. It’s a great way to gain hands-on experience and explore your interests, your learning style and where you want to develop these skills.

What does your future role look like?

You should also consider what you imagine your future work life to be like. Do you see yourself working with clients as a freelancer or working as a company employee?


  • It gives you flexibility and autonomy to pick which companies you work for,
  • It helps you explore which industries you’d want to work in,
  • It gives you the potential to earn more as you develop your expertise as you set your own fee.

However, it can be challenging to find clients, especially if you’re junior and still developing industry contacts. Because of this, freelancing can lack financial stability until you’re more established.

Company Employee:

  • Depending on the company, you may be given career guidance, mentorship and access to training to help you progress in your role.
  • Access to financial stability as you’re given a salary over finding your own clients.
  • Access to other benefits such as health insurance and employee discount schemes.
  • You’ll get to meet and learn from other people

However, many people find working as an employee might not be for them. They’re restricted to working the employer’s hours with limited work-from-home options. And their pay doesn’t reflect their actual level.

Would you prefer to work at a tech startup or a big company?

What type of company would you want to work for if you become an employee? While startups may offer more flexibility and growth opportunities, big companies often have more established resources.

Startups and scaleups, on the other hand, can give employees more autonomy and the opportunity to work on a wider range of projects. But can also come with the risk of instability and less job security.

Additionally, working at a startup often means being part of a small team where everyone wears multiple hats and has a sense of ownership over the company’s success. In contrast, working at a big company usually means being part of a large team where individual contributions may be less visible. However, big companies can offer more structured career paths and opportunities for advancement.

If you value flexibility and the opportunity to take on various responsibilities, a startup may be better for you. If you prioritise stability and the chance to work on larger, more established projects, a big company may be the way to go.

Network and Seek Out Mentors

Networking is essential if you’re looking to get your foot in the door of any industry or company. Even if you have no experience, networking allows you to meet people working in roles that interest you and ask them about their experiences and advice. Many might have switched careers into tech or worked with career switchers and can give you real-world advice.

Networking is essential to any career and particularly important in the tech industry. Seek opportunities to meet people working in roles that interest you, and ask them about their experiences and advice for getting started. Join online or offline industry groups, attend industry events, and even reach out to people on LinkedIn or your company for advice.

Stay Up-to-Date on Industry Trends

As tech is a fast-evolving industry, it’s important to remain up-to-date on the latest trends and tools. Attend events, subscribe to newsletters, and follow tech influencers and leaders on social media. This ensures that you’re kept up to date with the latest tools, tech, and best practices, which will be invaluable as you work to build your career in tech.

Choosing a career path in tech can be daunting, but it’s also incredibly rewarding to discover a new career that suits you. By following these tips and staying focused on your goals, you can find a role that aligns with your interests and strengths and build a successful career in the tech industry.

Take your first steps in discovering which path is for you with Le Wagon’s free online or on-campus workshops and free online courses.

Or get started on your journey here and join a free workshops in June 2023:

Curious about Web Development? Build a game with Javascript with a Web Developer Q&A

Data Analytics? Data Analytics and Python Workshop with a Data Analyst Q&A

Data Science? Build a Machine Learning Algorithm

Good luck!