Course info
Dec 29, 2014
2h 44m

Having a career in high tech is awesome. You get to work with and be part of creating new technology. You get to solve problems and help make the world a better place. You get to work with smart and interesting people. And the money is good. But there's a dark side to technology careers as well, a side they don't teach in school. There are tricks and traps that are rarely discussed, that you learn about over time and sometimes the hard way. You'll learn about such things in this course...if you dare to continue.

About the author
About the author

Dan Appleman is a well known author, software developer, and speaker. Currently the CTO of Full Circle Insights, he is the author of numerous books, ebooks, and online courses on various topics (technology and other). His latest book is "Advanced Apex Programming" - Personal Website

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

If Only I Knew Then What I Know Now
Having a career in high tech is awesome. You get to work with and be part of creating new technology, creating the future. You get to solve problems that help make the world a better place. You get to work with smart and interesting people, and the money is good, sometimes really good. But it's not all good times. There's a dark side to technology careers as well, a side that they don't teach in school, tricks and traps that are rarely discussed, that you learn over time, sometimes the hard way. Things you will learn in this course if you dare to continue. Think about the way technology and technology careers are portrayed in the media and society at large. Technology is cool. Everyone gets excited about the latest gadget or innovation. People stand in line for days for a new phone. The number of websites promoting and reviewing new gadgets is beyond measure. As for technology careers, they're in high demand now, and the need for technology experts will only increase. By all accounts, a career in technology is a sure path to job satisfaction and financial security. Of course, there are some naysayers, some who question the value of technology and technology training. Ignore for a moment the luddites who romanticize more primitive eras and wish to return to a world where germs were undiscovered, raw sewage ran through the streets, and all it took to be considered highly educated was the ability read and write. Who else would dare question the merit of a career in technology? Perhaps someone who tried a career in technology and failed, someone who is stuck in a terrible job or whose company failed or they found themselves unemployed. Someone like that might have a few words to say about the endlessly positive way in which tech careers are portrayed. Or perhaps someone who is jealous, who finds that their hard work to gain a degree in a different field, say print journalism, has been just good enough to get them a freelance gig, blogging at $10. 00 per hour about the excesses of high-tech millionaires, while secretly wishing they had studied computer science instead so they too could be a high-tech millionaire or at least be able to eat something other than ramen seven days a week. Somehow, I don't seem to fall into either of those categories. I like technology, and have no objection to modern plumbing, though I confess that an IP-connected toilet that measures the characteristics of my output and forwards images and analysis results to my doctor if it detects anything unusual, does seem a bit extreme. The truth is, I've had, and am having a pretty great career in technology. I've worked on some great projects with great people, I've had a lot of fun in the process, and have made a decent living, but it hasn't been perfect. Bad things have happened along the way. Like anyone, I've made my share of mistakes. Some of them are the usual mistakes that we humans tend to make from carelessness, laziness or ordinary misjudgments, but some of them were mistakes due to ignorance where the way I viewed the world and our industry turned out not to match reality, mistakes I would not have made if I knew then what I know now.

Human Resources (That Means You)
Usually, when we think about careers we think about it from our own perspective, looking out at the world. In my other career courses, the emphasis is always on how you see your career and the things you can do to succeed, and this makes sense, because how we perceive the world, the things we do, the things we learn, and the choices we make, are all ways in which we influence, create, and define our career paths. For this course, and particularly this module, we must turn things around. The dark side of technology careers is about those things over which we have no control, the things that surprise us and scare us. So let's turn things around and focus on how the industry sees us, the outside forces that can turn our destiny. For now, we are not individuals with hopes and dreams and knowledge and skills, but human resources to be recruited, used, and sometimes exploited or manipulated. But don't be afraid, this perspective has its uses as well. Understanding the ways in which our industry manages its human resources can also help us, the human resources, to use and sometimes exploit or manipulate our industry in return.