Choosing a career path is no small decision. You want to do something long-term that excites and challenges you, yet you want to be part of an industry that’s going somewhere, where companies treat their employees well.
There’s no one right answer, but there are many factors that can help you figure out whether tech is the right path for you—or not.
What does it mean for a career path to be good or bad? And what are the biggest pros and cons of tech?
What makes for a “good” career path?
Today’s workplaces always seem to be changing. Employees’ priorities alter all the time, more recently centered around wellness benefits, family leave, and flexibility. And then there’s, ya know, a global pandemic that completely uprooted most businesses over the course of more than a year, changing the way executives and managers need to approach responsible leadership.
It’s true that certain industries offer more benefits than others. A “good” career path, however, may mean you have access to competitive offerings like the following:
Excellent pay: Let’s state the obvious. People want to be paid well. One survey showed that workers with high incomes are more satisfied at work and pull more meaning from their jobs.
Great benefits: Todays’ workers put a lot of emphasis on benefits like health coverage and paid time off, and offering these perks can sometimes offset a lower salary.
Personal fulfillment and satisfaction: Younger generations like millennials and Gen Zs care more about aligning their own values to that of the companies they work for. If they do align, they’ll feel more fulfilled and satisfied at work.
Job security: Even though these young generations keep an eye out for the next best thing, they still want to feel like they’re secure in their positions. Or at least secure in their chosen career path, like tech. This means the industry itself should be able to offer enough jobs for the demand.
Opportunities for advancement: What are the opportunities to move up at the company or in the industry? This is a major consideration.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives: DEI is a big deal in most industries right now. Workers want to feel supported and accepted—they want to have a sense of belonging—and they prioritize industries with this focus. When workplaces are more inclusive, everyone benefits.
Flexibility: Working from home is clearly going to be prioritized in the near future and probably forever. Most workers want to continue working from home in some capacity after the pandemic is over, according to InHerSight research.
These factors can help determine whether or not a chosen career path or a company is considered good or bad. So, do they all apply to the tech world? Let’s take a look.
The benefits of working in technology
Probably the biggest perk of tech: potential for great pay. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, tech jobs ranging from computer research scientists to systems analysts to software developers saw the low average at around $77,000 and the highest median pay at nearly $127,000. The median annual salary for all computer and information technology jobs was $91,250 in May 2020. Some of these jobs require a master’s degree, but some only an associate’s.
Working in tech also means you’ll be pursuing pretty interesting work. Many tech jobs require you to get creative on a daily basis, solve complex problems, and learn new skills as new technologies emerge.
And on that note, working in tech means you’ll be in innovative fields, which are more likely to harness the latest in AI and automation to improve processes. So, you can stay ahead of the game in this industry.
Read more: What Is Considered a Good Salary?
The downsides of the tech industry
Of course, there are downsides. It’s well-known that the math and science fields are lacking in gender representation. This doesn’t mean that women shouldn’t pursue these jobs, but just that they have been less likely to historically.
Data from Accenture and Girls Who Code, whose mission is to close the tech gender gap, reported that just 22 percent of computer scientists are women, which is actually a drop from 1995, when they made up 37 percent. Even worse, only 3 percent of computer scientists are Black women.
The same report showed that women are leaving their tech jobs at a 45 percent higher rate than men are, and less than one in five CIOs or CTOs are women within the biggest 1,000 tech companies.
The reasons why there are so few women in these fields are hard to nail down, but they likely stem from facing discrimination, lack of women leaders and role models, discrepancies in women’s and men’s pay, and uninviting work cultures, like boys’ clubs.
Read more: What Does a Software Engineer Do?
5 tech companies going above and beyond
Fortunately, it’s not all bad news. Many tech companies are trying to address these issues and are providing more benefits than ever before to support employees. Let’s walk through a few great tech companies that deliver on these benefits that you want in your career.
Computer software company UKG ranks highly for telecommuting and paid time off, offering lots of flexibility to workers to create a position they’re comfortable with. In addition, reviews from women workers have shown that women don’t feel like they’re competing with counterparts who are men when working there. They also have more women on the executive team and in senior leadership positions than other tech companies.
HubSpot is an IT services company that offers telecommuting options and shows how much it values its women employees. InHerSight data shows that this company has great ratings for fostering a sense of belonging among workers and great paid time off benefits.
The software company behind sites like QuickBooks and TurboTax, Intuit prioritizes parents with great family leave offerings, including maternity and adoptive, and paid time off in general.
Another software company, Databricks, is based in San Francisco and gets great ratings for telecommuting, offering flexible work hours, great leadership, and promoting women workers.
Lever is a computer software company that’s known to support women in their careers, including in leadership positions, and offers a lot of benefits and perks for employees, including work flexibility. It’s rated highly on InHerSight for providing equal opportunities for both women and men
Even though tech still has a long way to go, this career path may be the right option if you’re looking for great salaries, flexible work options, and positions where you’ll be challenged and engaged. Companies continue to improve the way they approach diversity and inclusion, and women are getting more of the support they need to succeed.
Read more: Are You a Workaholic? Here’s How to Know