Tech jobs are always in high abundance, which creates an impression that if you have the tech skills, you should be receiving plenty of offers for tech positions. Yet, many graduates struggle to find work. This is because tech companies are increasingly more selective about what they want in candidates. However, there is one skill that can help you stand out from the rest: critical thinking.
The ability to perform technical tasks does not always translate to an ability to identify and solve technical problems. Problem solving requires disciplined analytical thinking, a skill that has been increasingly left behind as education focuses more and more on meeting testing and standardization requirements. If you want to increase your chances of having your choice of tech jobs, there are three things you can do to improve your analytical thinking skills.
Take a philosophy class
Critical thinking is the linchpin of philosophy. If you're a university student, your school likely offers a relevant philosophy class as part of its liberal arts core. If you're not in school, look to a local community college. Philosophy teaches you to take a deeper look at a subject, evaluate all sides of an argument and use reason to make decisions. With hiring managers for the most elite tech jobs specifically asking for candidates with critical and analytical thinking skills, having philosophy classes on your transcript can only help.
Embrace word problems
Students in math and science classes often groan and roll their eyes at the mere thought of word problems, but those problems are designed specifically to make you think critically. It's not enough to be able to follow all the steps to get a known solution to a known problem; any computer can do that. True problem solving means taking the skills you have and applying them in unexpected situations, which is exactly what word problems teach you to do. So, instead of eschewing word problems, learn to love them. Tackle those word problems with enthusiasm, knowing that they are preparing you to be a better candidate for those tech jobs you covet.
Asking questions helps you understand how other people think and learn. The more you understand other people, the better you are at looking at problems from different perspectives. This ability is important to developing strong analytical thinking skills. To really benefit from this, make sure you are asking good questions, be thoughtful in your approach to questioning others, and ask open-ended questions to draw out meaningful answers. Don't just dismiss the answers you get. Spend time thinking about them and what they tell you about the people you talk to.
Improving your critical and analytical thinking skills is an important step to take in your pursuit of tech jobs. It's not something you can learn overnight; critical thinking takes time to cultivate and develop, but it's worth the effort. In the end, you'll not only be a better candidate for the job, you'll be a better thinker and problem solver as well.
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