Originally published March 2016 on NUMA’s Bostinno Channel
Walking into my first co-op I was terrified about the idea of working in a tech field. The company I work for, Rapid7, focuses on cyber security, of which I could have told you approximately zero things about. I was afraid that knowing little about the tech industry would hinder my ability to be a good marketer. Thankfully I have found the opposite to be true. Marketing for a tech company is exciting, and I feel as though I have learned so much in just two months.
Last week NUMA hosted a tech panel titled “Marketing in Tech,” and our panelists helped shed some more light on the tech industry, which I found to be very helpful considering my newly discovered interest in the field. What surprised me was that even though our panelists were from many different sides of marketing (content, events, and product to name a few) they all echoed similar sentiments about what they’ve learned by being in a tech field, both positive and negative.
Opportunities to Learn
My favorite thing about working in a tech company is that there is so much to learn. This is my first co-op, so I have a lot to learn when it comes to marketing as a whole, but with tech so much is new. On top of learning about marketing, I have had the opportunity to learn the basics of coding, cyber security, and so much about the mechanics behind technology. One of our panelists, a product manager from Rue La La, echoed this statement, saying that since she is in charge of making sure the Rue La La app worked, she has to constantly keep learning how people interact with technology and all the ever changing technical aspects of phone applications.
One of the coolest parts of tech companies is that they usually have a ton of amazing benefits. For example, I know that Rapid7 offers unlimited vacation time, fun events outside the office like yoga and bowling, free snacks, and a ton of swag. On top of this I get discounts on things like theater tickets, health club memberships, and clothing. This all ties back into the fun culture the company has, which I find to be one of the most enjoyable things about the job. I’ve even had meetings with my boss while playing ping pong, something that seems to be much more common in tech companies.
Another nice part of being in tech is that you are working on things that are on the cutting edge, thanks to the constantly changing environment. The company NUMA is hosting this week, HubSpot, demonstrates this perfectly. HubSpot essentially mainstreamed the idea of inbound marketing, which is the idea that instead of buying ads and buying names of people to call, a marketer should focus on creating content that will attract a customer to your product and your company. Tech companies are amazing to work for because you have the opportunity to not only be part of a major trend in technology, but help create it.
One of the most agreed upon topics of our panel was the incredible passion people have for their jobs. The representatives from Rapid7 and Akamai spoke about how dedicated the people working for them are. The people that want to work for companies like theirs are people that love what they do. They are the ones that want to not only do what they are told, but go above and beyond, creating and developing new ways to make change. They are the ones that put in the extra hours because they are just so excited about their work, they don’t want to stop. They are the ones who work not because they have to, but because they love to. They are the people of tech companies.
A concern of some students at the panel was whether or not long hours were expected from such hard working companies. Some of the speakers said it wasn’t that it was necessarily expected, it was just that the people who worked for them were in love with the work they were doing, and thus wanted to work more. Rue La La’s representative said that while there were many people in her office who did enjoy working a lot, she herself leaves the office at five each day because she doesn’t feel as though she has to stay late each day to be successful. So while for some it can be considered a drawback of tech fields that so many employees work more than the typical 40 hours a week, it depends entirely on the company, the team, and what guidelines you set for yourself.
Hearing so many tech companies speak the last week was an enjoyable experience, especially for someone new in the tech industry herself. I’m excited for this week to hear HubSpot speak about inbound marketing and about their co-op opportunities, and for all upcoming NUMA events this semester!