National Techies Day 2022
This week, on October 3rd, we observed National Techies Day. As a part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, National Techies Day is set aside to encourage students to pursue a career in technology and highlight the promising opportunities that will be presented to them as the technology field grows.
According to CompTIA, in August 2022, employment in the tech industry increased by 175,000 jobs, 46% higher than in 2021 and 92% higher than in 2019. In fact, by the end of 2022, the tech industry will take up 35% of the world market alone. To keep up with the demand for specialized technologies, such as healthcare and cybersecurity, the technology industry is progressively searching for qualified professionals to maintain the tech space and keep it alive.
We sat down with one of Sertifi’s senior software engineers, Shaun Cruz, to find out why he entered the tech industry, learn about some of the defining moments of his career, and collect any advice he may have for students who are considering a career in tech.
Mimi McNulty: Hi Shaun! Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today.
Shaun Cruz: Hey Mimi, happy to be here.
MM: Let’s start at the beginning. When did you decide to pursue a career in technology?
SC: It was during high school. I always liked working with computers, and I was really interested in video games – how video games were made, how programming worked, and how I could make a video game. So, I took programming classes in high school to learn more about it. My interest didn’t peak until I moved to a different school and met a programming teacher who let us students be creative with whatever we were working on. I got to create some interactive games that allowed me to enjoy the tech field.
MM: That’s so cool! Did you make anything that others could play?
SC: Oh no, no, the real stuff didn’t come until college.
MM: What was the defining factor in your decision to pursue a career in technology?
SC: I was considering other things to study, but the ability to be creative while solving puzzles is what made me decide technology was the direction that I wanted to go in.
MM: How did those high school programming classes prepare you for your college classes?
SC: When I got to college, I realized that I still had to learn everything that had to do with programming but being in college allowed me to focus on learning about my interests, which made the experience much more exciting.
MM: What did you do in college to prepare for graduation and your career?
SC: I had a bunch of internships. I had one internship that involved helping build a social networking site. I worked on a lot of front-end stuff like the user interface – and that was really interesting for me and really helped me focus on what I wanted to do. It helped me realize where I wanted to go within the tech field.
MM: Do you have any advice for those who want to enter the field of technology?
SC: That’s an interesting question because the field is always changing. It changes year to year so my advice would be to always keep learning, stay curious about how things change, think outside the box, and never tie yourself down to a specific type of technology. You never know what is going to pull your interest. Sometimes, following specific patterns others have followed may not be the best solution. Stick to your gut about where the field will take you.
MM: Now that you are officially working in tech, what is your favorite part about it?
SC: I like solving puzzles and with software, there are new puzzles to solve every day. The work that I do allows me to get creative with the different ways I solve those puzzles.
MM: Has there ever been a puzzle you couldn’t solve?
SC: Absolutely! When I encounter something that I’ve never encountered before that contains a puzzle I can’t solve – when I get to say out loud, “I have no idea how to do this” – that actually is something that is really exciting for me. I’ve learned over the years that there is a solution to every problem; I just haven't figured it out yet. Not knowing something is just an opportunity to learn something new, and that comes up a lot in this field. It has to be something that excites you. If I came into work every day thinking, “I already know how to do this; I’ve done this a thousand times before,” that’s a sign for me to move on and find the next puzzle.
MM: I love that attitude! It keeps you sharp and it keeps you honest. Do people have misconceptions about those who work in the technology field?
SC: Well, the process of building something like a webpage or application is a lot more work than people think, and it takes a lot longer than people think. The puzzles are very intricate, and there are usually a lot more people working on the puzzle than one would think.
MM: Is that why Sertifi continues to grow?
SC: Yep! There are a lot of roles to play. We all do our part.
MM: What is something you and the rest of the Sertifi team are working on right now?
SC: Right now, we are working on the Next Gen platform. Specifically, I am working on the front end and our new signing experience.
MM: Are there any hard puzzles?
SC: Nothing that I can’t handle!
MM: Awesome! Well, I’m glad you are a part of our team. Thank you so much for meeting with me and telling me a bit about your career journey. It’s been really fun!
SC: Any time. Thank you for listening.
Help us celebrate National Techies Day! Share your experience with technology or your career path that led you to the technology field using the hashtag, #NationalTechiesDay. You may inspire future technology professionals to learn more!