The six secrets to becoming a tech leader

The technology industry is evolving at a rapid pace, and for any senior-level technologist seeking career progression, it can be overwhelming. But the key to embracing the constant shifts is learning to develop your own skills. Changes in the tech industry aren’t part of natural evolution – they’re driven by tech leaders, fuelling innovation and inspiring those around them to think outside the box.

Who are these tech leaders – and how do they fuel innovation? Leadership in technology isn’t simply about your talent and experience – it requires insight, and excellent collaboration and communication skills to build the perfect team.

What does it mean to be a tech leader?

“Don’t be afraid to change the model.”
Reed Hastings, Co-Founder & CEO Netflix

If you’re a senior-level developer, software engineer, or project manager, career growth is likely to be top of mind. But what defines leadership? And how do you make the leap from your current role into a leadership role?

Becoming a significant player within the tech industry requires honing your skills, from problem-solving, to negotiation and presentation skills, in order for you to develop and explain technical concepts in engaging ways. Tech leaders can initially emerge through innovation: those who’ve worked individually, or as part of a team, developing new technological advancements and solutions that make a significant impact on the industry.

Tech leaders encourage others to innovate, mentoring and supporting the teams around them to experiment and develop new ideas. Key qualities of being a tech leader include:

Collaboration skills

Collaboration skills are imperative in leadership, as technology requires teamwork. Collaborating with others, from those you manage to clients and external stakeholders, is beneficial because it allows different professional strengths and disciplines to work together. If you’re developing an app for a television network focusing on improving customer experience, and you’re solely from a technology background, you will need to successfully collaborate with experts at the network to hone your knowledge of the subject and to extract important research and information to help with the development of the app.

Inspiration and motivation

The ability to motivate others is a key quality tech leaders possess, enabling them to share their innovations and knowledge with those around them. This can include inspiring teams to try new things and to think outside the box during the development stage of a project, or inspiring other tech leaders to collaborate on innovative projects. Motivational tech leaders communicate clearly with their teams and other members of the industry by presenting at public industry events and sharing their thoughts and insights through articles and blogs.

Efficiency and time management

Efficiency and being able to manage your time effectively are key transferable skills that enable tech leaders to multi-task and produce various projects and initiatives at the same time. They strengthen your ability to focus and innovate while managing teams and juggling a series of tasks.

If you want to become a leader in the tech industry, here are six industry secrets that can help you to reach your career goal:

  1. Network and learn from the best

We are all inspired by those around us who strive for greatness. Is there someone in the industry that has impressed you? Networking with other tech leaders is a great way for you to ask questions, discover insights and learn firsthand what it’s like to be a leader in the industry.

You can network and engage with like-minded professionals at events and conferences, across social media, or via courses and learning opportunities. Perhaps they’ve written an article that inspired you, or worked on a project in your specialist field. Reach out and ask questions – from how they first emerged as a leader in the industry, and any lessons they learned along the way, to advice for those starting out on that same career path.

2. Share your knowledge via Open Source

Don’t hoard your skills and knowledge – share them with the world! With almost 30 million technologists across the globe, it’s essential for you to stand out from the crowd and center yourself as a thought leader. Contribute to open-source projects or start your own, to encourage others to follow your lead. Open-sourcing your ideas and innovation can help support other technologists, from software engineers to project managers, and it can also encourage input from your peers, and advice from other tech leaders that can help you to hone your craft and develop your own skills. You can also create articles and tech tutorials based on your findings and ask for feedback from the community. We regularly invite our own Andela Community members to share their thoughts on our blog! Check out our #WritersRoom. And don’t forget to get your hands dirty! Keeping a delivery mindset, and ensuring your close involvement via open-source, retains your perspective and can help remind you of the hard work required to deliver a project or app.

3. Sharpen your tech skills and knowledge

You can’t lead if you’re not up to date on current technological advancements! From online learning platforms – such as the Andela Learning Community – to webinars and events, there are plenty of ways to stay one step ahead. Subscribe to newsletters and email updates from tech organizations, to find out about the latest industry trends, and join online chats and webinars to showcase your own ideas. E-learning platforms such as ELSA SPEAK and Educative allow you to upskill your tech knowledge and English language fluency in bite-sized pieces. As well as your studies, you can hone your knowledge through listening to tech podcasts, watching YouTube tutorials, and following like-minded content developers on social media.

4. Embrace diversity and inclusion

“Technology is best when it brings people together.”

Matt Mullenweg

The tech industry can feel like a closed shop to some communities – but things are improving, and it’s imperative for tech leaders to be the catalysts of positive change. The best tech communities are comprised of diverse members, with different experiences and outlooks that can benefit the growth of an organization. Good tech leaders champion inclusion and embrace diversity through community engagement, supporting initiatives, and hiring. Be an advocate for change, support diversity and the inclusion of women and minorities in the tech industry, to place value on the productive possibilities differences can bring.

5. Build your own start-up

Start-ups are the future of the tech industry. From individual entrepreneurs to multi-employee enterprises, start-ups disrupt the tech world as we know it by delivering new innovations and customer/user experiences. And today, more and more technologists are founding their own start-ups to build the industry from within – becoming tech leaders as a result! Andela’s 2022 Africa Developer Survey discovered that over 1/3 of technologist respondents across the continent of Africa had founded their own start-up, while Latin America has over 47 start-up companies already achieving a $1 billion valuation. Technologists are at the vanguard of the technological revolution, with their ears to the ground on the latest developments – and demands. Think about the specialist knowledge you possess – have you spotted a problem you can solve or a need you can satisfy? Once you’ve determined your goals, you can slowly build an organization (an app, a project, a product) focused on achieving them.

6. Appreciate the value of technologists

“It’s not a faith in technology. It’s faith in people.”
Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple.

Technologists are the heart of any technology organization – businesses wouldn’t exist without their skills and expertise. Sadly, in some organizations technologists aren’t valued to the degree they deserve. A good tech leader should appreciate tech teams, investing time and money in their development. Technologists should be framed as the drivers of real value – to both a business and its clients. Appreciate those around you and you will not only attract the best team members and collaborators, but you’ll instill the belief in the value of the technology industry as a whole.

Want to be part of the Andela Community? Then join the Andela Talent Network!

With more than 175,000 technologists in our community, in over 90 countries, we’re committed to creating diverse remote engineering teams with the world’s top talent. And our network members enjoy being part of a talented community, through activities, benefits, collaboration, and virtual and in-person meetups.

All you need to do to join the Andela Talent Network is to follow our simple sign-up process. 

Submit your details via our online application then…

Complete an English fluency test – 15 minutes.

Complete a technical assessment on your chosen skill (Python, Golang, etc.) – 1 hour.

Meet with one of our Senior Developers for a technical interview – 1 hour.

Visit the Andela Talent Network sign-up page to find out more.

If you found this blog useful, check out our other blog posts for more essential insights!

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