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What does it take to be a leader in the technology industry?

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

In this industry, we ALL are bright minds and innovative working on cutting-edge technologies that not only transform our communities but transform the way we live, see and do things, so what does it actually take to lead in the tech space?

Does it require you to have a vast knowledge of technology such as do I need to be a CS major, spend years coding as a Software Engineer? Can I, be someone that started out as a customer service rep, spending years providing service to the customer and worked my way up to leading teams similar path as the CS major? Or wait! Do I simply need to be surrounded by those whose skills align with mine to bring my idea or goals to full circle?

I came across an article written in 2020 by Insider where they listed 52 tech CEOs and founders. After using my basic mathematic skills, I came to the realization that roughly 20-25% of these founders had non-tech degrees, didn't finish even one major was unknown. As we look at the current trend of CEOs leading the tech space most if not all have a formal degree that falls under the College of Science & Engineering but wait there's a few that got through the cracks that have degrees in non-IT fields and/or who didn't finish college but yet spent time cultivating their craft and surrounding themselves with those that had the experience or knowledge.

A few years ago, I worked within tech support for a middle school and one class, in particular, that I believe should be a class that’s standard across the US especially in urban areas called “AVID”. AVID stands for Advancement via Individual Determination it focuses on providing an in-school academic college support program for grades 4-12 that prepares kids for college success. Many of the kids in this particular class would be the first generation to attend and graduate college. I remember vividly, I created a presentation in which I found individuals who were all successful in their own right one went to a community college, a few went to an Ivy League and one in particular, didn’t finish high school. One 7th grader, at the time, interrupted me and asked me, “If this class is supposed to prepare us for college, why are you showing us people, who didn’t finish?” My response to her was, “Because everyone will most likely start on the same path but not all will keep going. Some will divert, others will get discouraged and stop altogether. I’m showing you this diverse list to let you all know that no matter the journey they took and how they compared to their peers look at their outcome.

I know one can’t simply answer this question as it just depends on but here is my take no one truly knows the outcome of their achievements; we hope we are rewarded kindly by society. In most cases, "YES" in others "MAYBE" and sometimes it's a "NO". But, if I’m striving to be a CIO, I will not let my educational background deter me from feeling that I can and deserve to be a contender if that’s something I desire. My aim would be to put in the work, learn all that I can, talk to people to build those relationships, attend tech conferences, meetup groups, take online courses and most importantly, learn the business acumen, you need to set yourself to be present in all those moments. Now will all of these get you to those highest easily heck no because in the midst of this there will be some uphill battles but don't give up. And when it’s showtime, you better let your light shine!

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