Have you ever been to a foreign country and didn’t speak the language? Adventurous but also challenging, right? Sure, these days you can rely on using English almost anywhere you go, but there’s still a lot that gets lost in translation or is just plain impossible to translate. Local dishes, alcoholic beverages, and swear words, are just the tip of the iceberg. The fact is, speaking the local language, or at least trying to, shows interest and respect for the local culture and earns you respect in return. It also make life much easier whether you are trying to order coffee or give directions to the airport.
Now, let’s migrate this story to the magical lands of modern corporate and startup life. Pretty much anywhere you look, technology is a part of your environment. You have every right to be on either side of the tech-savvy spectrum, but if you want to break the very present yet invisible barrier of entry into the tech world, you gotta work on it!
Haters gonna hate; some might say that tech lingo is no different from any other profession-specific jargon and that it doesn’t deserve any special treatment. Valid point; it’s just that, well, you know, our world is highly technology-driven. From the moment you wake up, you depend on and are using a variety of apps, gadgets, you name it – it’s probably tech-related. Tech is everywhere! I really wish I could insert a Hitchcock’s Psycho inspired scream here… oh, wait, I can!
Anyways, back to the point: if you want to learn to speak tech, you gotta work for it! How?
There is no such thing as a stupid question; uninformed questions, maybe. So get informed! Google. Read. Watch YouTube videos. Listen to (or if necessary, eavesdrop on) engineers when they discuss what they are working on. Talk to them and ask them questions! If you’re the studious type, there are a ton of free and easy resources online. Pick one or as many as you like, you are bound to find something that will make the learning process fun and easy.
Not sure where to start? You can read about some basic tech terminology here. If you’d rather learn by doing, check out Codeacademy.com or Code.org to get your hands dirty and deep in the code.
2. Put Your Pride Aside
It’s okay not to understand everything at first as long as you are ready to learn. Spare yourself the frustration by managing expectations: set a goal that aligns with your current occupation, work environment, or interests. Before you do start on anything, ask yourself this: How much do I need and want to know?
3. Remember, You are Not an Engineer
Kind of obvious, I know, but it keeps expectations at bay. Also handy to keep in mind, you are (most likely) not trying to become an engineer. Sure, some of you might discover that the deeper you go, the more you want to know, and maybe even turn it into a skill or profession. That’s awesome! For the rest, think of learning tech as investing in a better understanding of your environment, your coworkers, and, well, the world in general. If you by some miracle haven’t figured it out on your own already don’t worry! We are all in the same tech boat together (see what I did there ;))
4. It’s About You
As you grow your tech knowledge, keep in mind that you’re doing it for yourself. In a tech company especially, it can be a matter of life and death — at least career wise. If you want to be fully immersed and engaged into your company work life, development, and wellbeing, you can’t play hide and seek with the technology or product that your company uses, builds and/or sells.
The Cost-Benefit of Speaking Tech
What will “working on it” cost you?
Time and nerves. You will have to invest your free time to explore the strange new lands of the tech lingo world. On the bright side, your wallet doesn’t have to be affected at all by your determination to learn something new… praise the Internet and free learning resources!
What about the benefits? Learning makes life, or in this case working with engineers and developers, much easier. Also, these new skills might help you advance in your job and eventually manifest as a bump in your salary in the long run.
From a Non-Tech Point of View
As a non-tech person (HR is my arena), I’ve gone and still am going through the process of learning. I started by simply Googling unfamiliar words and terms I came across while reading resumes and cover letters. Then I continued on by reading blogs, watching videos, asking questions, etc and it’s been enlightening! Just the other day in a meeting discussing job descriptions for the mobile team, I found myself really appreciating the knowledge on tech jargon (and tech in general) that I’ve accumulated so far. As a result of taking the initiative, I now feel more comfortable in my position and am much more productive in my work. My conclusion? The benefits of learning tech definitely outweigh the costs!
Are you a non-techie working in a tech company or maybe just interested in understanding the tech world better? Awesome! Do you already speak tech or are you working on it? Tell us about your experiences and/or struggles in the comments below!