5 Mistakes That Can Kill Your Tech Career Before It Starts

Tech careers are in high demand, and that makes sense.

With a career in tech, you don't have to choose between doing something fun and getting paid well.

If this interests you, it's crucial to avoid the mistakes that can stop you before you start.

Mistake #1: Labeling yourself

People give themselves destructive labels all the time. They'll say things like "I'm not one of those tech whiz kids," or "I was never a code person."

The thing is, no one is born with tech abilities. These are learned skills, and they're not restricted to a special group of people.

When you label yourself as someone who can't do things, you sabotage yourself for no reason.

Will everything fall into place if you just believe in yourself?


Instead of worrying whether you believe in yourself, take the smallest possible first step to learn. Then repeat.

If you keep taking small steps to learn, your doubts will slowly become irrelevant because you'll have concrete progress under your belt.

Soon, you'll be the "tech genius" others tell themselves they can never be.

Mistake #2: Listening to everyone at once

"What should I learn if I want to make a website/app/startup?"

You'll see variations of this question all over the internet.

Each time, the same pattern ensues.

Everyone will jump in with a well-intentioned list of things the asker should learn. Since each person named the three to five things relevant to themselves, the overall result might turn into a list of 40+ things to learn.

This is overwhelming, and it can discourage people from learning tech skills.

Your path will vary depending on what you want to do. For many areas in tech, there are a few core pieces you'll want to focus on, and you can safely ignore the rest while you're learning. To learn web development, for example, you can start with HTML and CSS and then move onto JavaScript. If you're interested, I've put together a quick road map for people who want to learn web development.

In general, the best way to cut through the conflicting advice is to know your goals. Research which areas in tech sound most appealing to you, and then you'll be in a much better position to evaluate what you need to learn and whether it fits your goals.

Mistake #3: Moving slower by rushing

Rushing is the quickest way to slow down your progress.

It's ironic, but it's true.

When learning to code, it's natural to encounter a concept, understand it, and move onto the next thing. On the surface, that sounds like a normal progression, but it's actually a problem.


By moving onto the next thing immediately after understanding a concept, you haven't given yourself time to practice that concept and retain it. As a result, you'll feel like you're making progress, but you'll soon realize you've forgotten everything. When you can't remember what you learned at the beginning, all the later steps become impossible. You then have to skip back and forth trying to move forwards and play catch-up at the same time. You start to feel like coding is impossible, and then you give up.

This has happened to too many people, but it doesn't need to happen to you.

The key is this: when you understand something, don't immediately move on to the next thing. Take some time to play with what you just learned. Build something neat. Try a variation. See if you can type it without looking at any examples.

At first, this approach will seem to take longer, but it will save you a ton of time as the later stages become much easier.

Mistake #4: Being good at everything you do

The people who end up good with tech are not afraid to be bad with tech.

That's because tech requires a lot of learning, which means frequently feeling like a beginner. While this might sound daunting, it can actually be reassuring. If you find yourself feeling like a beginner, that means you're learning things, and therefore you're on the right track.

However, if you find that you're good at most of the things you do, maybe it's time to step out of your comfort zone and learn new things.

Mistake #5: Convincing yourself you don't have enough time

I purposely put this at the end of the article because if you have time to read this, you have more than enough time to learn tech skills.

The reason it seems hard to find time is that people treat learning like it's a big thing that requires hours at a time. However, when it comes to other activities, such as reading articles or browsing social media, we tell ourselves, "I'll just check this one thing quickly." That one quick check turns into 3 hours of reading.

The truth is that you can learn to code in 20 minutes a day. The easiest way to find time is to treat it the same way you treat other activities. Tell yourself you'll learn for just one minute. That tiny commitment makes it much easier to start, and starting can be the hardest part. If you do this, you'll have a much easier time fitting learning into your schedule.

Key takeaways

Here's a recap of the points that will help you in your quest for a tech career:

  • Avoid giving yourself destructive labels.
  • Replace doubts with progress.
  • Get clear about your goals to filter through all the advice out there.
  • Take your time, and you'll go faster.
  • Get comfortable being a beginner, and you'll end up more advanced.
  • Make tiny commitments so you won't struggle to find time.

If you're interested in web development, here's a quick roadmap of what you need to learn.

I hope this article has been helpful!