We’ve all been there- starting a job and feeling like you don’t know enough. Or wondering if something that is out of your comfort zone is the right fight after all. What I want to do today is share some advice and my perspective on being a non-technical person working in a technical space. This topic is inspired by many conversations with candidates that felt like they didn’t have the technical skills to succeed.
These tips are useful for everyone; the people who might feel underqualified or uncomfortable entering into a new realm, and for the technical folks mentoring us through this journey.
Technical vs. Non-Technical
First, let’s define what it means to be technical and non-technical. For me, I use technology all the time, I use the internet daily, I love my iPhone. So, I see myself as a tech user more than a tech creator. I think given enough resources, time, and motivation, most anyone can learn technical skills. However, my personality is not technical. When my computer breaks, I don’t feel like figuring out how it works. I accept technology the way it is, not the way it could be.
There are a few different things that make companies successful. It’s understanding your employees for what they are (and aren’t) and letting them be their authentic selves at work. It’s hiring diverse teams with diverse personalities and interests. And it’s working together to understand each other and unique perspectives.
Over my last two and a half years here at LogicMonitor, I’ve reflected on how I got here, and how sometimes I really feel the technical barrier. But ultimately I’ve enjoyed this journey learning about new concepts, and more importantly, learning a lot about myself. I’ll share some of my learnings below, which have been inevitable when you start at a company of 250 people, blink, and there are 700 employees. Over this time I’ve worked on filling many different roles- from SDR’s, to procurement managers, to accounting associates, to sales engineers, to product managers. I now naturally gravitate towards those hard-to-fill, niche, roles, because what I’ve realized is I like the challenge of finding the right fit for a team.
What amazes me is my gradual understanding of a technical roadmap, just by forcing myself to have those conversations and seeking out answers by a more than willing-to-answer team. This quarter I’m challenging myself to learn Kubernetes and machine learning concepts (at a high level of course) which my former self would have had a good laugh at.
How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome
With that, here are three pieces of advice that have helped me overcome my imposter syndrome:
- Understand that the role you’re being brought into will have building blocks to help you be successful, and that doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient with yourself.
- Be truthful with yourself and with those around you about what you know and don’t know, and about the areas you want to grow into.
- Leverage your resources. Seek out a friend at the company who has a true understanding of the product. Many people want to share their knowledge, so if you’re the person asking or the person being asked, understand that how technology works doesn’t click for everyone, and that’s okay.
- Be honest with yourself about what drives you. For me, it’s working with people to create meaningful and productive relationships. If that means learning our product roadmap to create trust with a candidate, I’ll dive into it, because that’s important to me.
My goal with sharing these tips today is to inspire and encourage readers to continue to grow and evolve in this technical world, realizing that if you feel imposter syndrome, you’re not alone. I hope to continue to build meaningful relationships with people and inspire them to be their best selves. If you’re interested in starting your career at LogicMonitor, visit the careers page to see the technical and non-technical roles that we have open.