Being a geek doesn’t mean you need to struggle to find a career or suffer in one you don’t want. Here’s some solid career advice for geeks going into 2019.
Learn To Code
Many geeks are interested in computer-centric careers. This includes software development, network architecture, cloud computing, cybersecurity, programming and more. Coding is an integral part of computer science. It is also useful for geeks who want to go into video game design. Even if you are not in the tech field, coding is a valuable skill to learn. It will help you understand technical jargon when speaking with IT professionals at your place of business. It even helps teach you how to think.
Get Certified In Specific Software
Software vendors often offer certification programs for users. Being certified in a variety of heavily-used software tools looks very good on a resume and increases your chances of landing a job. There are a number of courses and certifications available for Microsoft software, for example. Other popular software companies with certification programs include Java, Adobe, Apple, Oracle and more. Even if a software program commonly used in your industry does not offer a formal certification, you can still take it upon yourself to learn it inside and out. Free trials can help you gain a strong understanding of a program if you don’t wish to buy a full version.
Leverage Your Geeky Experiences
Nearly all employers consider volunteer experience when evaluating your suitability for a position. This includes your geeky experiences. For example, if you volunteered at an anime convention or as a member of the Star Wars 501st Legion, you have gained practical experiences that are useful in the working world. Put these on your resume. You never know when an employer might be geeky too or sufficiently impressed by your devotion to your hobbies.
More Introverted? No Problem
Being an introvert is far from a bad thing. In fact, it can make you more valuable as an employee in a world that often values extroverted traits more. Introverts are often more creative, better listeners and more independent. They forge deeper connections with their network. Because they take the time to carefully deliberate decisions, they often make better decisions as well. If you are more introverted, play to these strengths in your career.
Focus On Soft Skills
Many employers report having a difficult time finding employees with the requisite soft skills to thrive in their organizations. Soft skills include interpersonal skills, critical thinking ability, problem-solving ability, oral and written communication skills, leadership skills and more. Sadly, many geeks find these skills more of a challenge than the average job seeker does. Soft skills can also be harder to include on resumes than more clearly-defined hard skills. Focus on achievements you have accomplished that demonstrate the use of soft skills you are trying to showcase. Continually work to improve your soft skillset as well.
Have A Geeky Career
You aren’t just limited to traditional careers. For example, you may love playing video games and want to be a videogame designer, or you may love comics and want to be a comic artist yourself. If you are passionate about it, put in considerable practice and have a little bit of luck, you can go pro in these fields. There are countless careers in specific industries you may be interested in as well, such as biotechnology, zoology, history, engineering, psychology and more.
Content Creation Is the Ideal Side Job
First things first: Breaking it big through content creation is a lottery-style endeavor with even worse payouts. With that said, jumping into making YouTube videos or podcasts as a side hustle works as both a creative outlet while also posing the possibility of making money on the side. Even if your video essays on video games don’t make it big, you’ll learn valuable lessons in video editing, voiceover recording, scriptwriting, improvisation and a whole host of other associated skills.
Until you make it as a Twitch partner or a big-name YouTube draw, chances are you’ll have more luck drawing support through sites like Patreon and Ko-fi than through ad revenue. This is especially true if you have a niche hobby with a small yet dedicated fanbase. Tabletop wargame fans may not be the biggest tabletop market, but its fans know how expensive the hobby can be and may be more sympathetic to your content and support you accordingly.
Artistic Skills Are Marketable Skills
Finding a fanbase through your artistic work isn’t always a guarantee, but creating works that are homages or references to popular media with your own stylistic twist is a relatively easy way to get eyes on your projects. Whether you have an affinity for traditional art or have recently jumped into blacksmithing just for the novelty you can leverage your nerdier interests into a career path.
For maximum returns you’d be best off joining a community centered around your interests before showing off your work. Even masterful pieces can receive negative attention if you appear to be joining a community just to try and draw eyes to your portfolio or website. Being social is key to marketing most anything you create and entertainment communities are no exception. If you’re lucky, you might just wind up enjoying your time within that community even if your Etsy store doesn’t make a big splash.
Micro-Gigs Make Niche Interests Profitable
The popularity of Fiverr brought acute awareness to just how many jobs are out there that can’t be easily defined by a traditional job structure. It is far easier to classify an arts and crafts commission or voiceover work for a fan film than it is to try and establish a contract for painting figurines for a tabletop game or brainstorming creative writing ideas. Ideally, you can carve out a specialization where others have not.
Yet the best part about taking on small task jobs is just how flexible or specific you can be and still find people interested in what you offer while gaining experience in your interests at the same time. If you’ve brushed up on your coding you can capitalize by offering bug-hunting services to other fledging coders. Artists can create, critique or even re-interpret the work of other fans. Don’t be afraid to sell your skills piecemeal style whenever possible.
Geeks make great employees in a number of fields and employers are beginning to realize that. Leverage your geeky nature to grow your career by leaps and bounds in 2019.