Having Autism and working in tech

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This post is an account of my experiences of  having Autism and working in the Technology sector. As part of this post I want to provide a realistic picture of what working in Technology is like for someone who is Autistic.

From being very young I have always known that I wanted to work with computers. I achieved that goal and since graduating from University I have been working as a Database Developer. The role combines the need for strong verbal and written communication skills in addition to mandatory technical skills. I mention the need for communication skills to be as strong, if not stronger than technical skills because it is inevitable part working in the Technology Sector nowadays, particularly if you want to work in a Support or Development capacity. l like many on the Spectrum struggle with language and communication and it is probably the one skill I have developed and worked on the most, because I knew how much of an important skill it was to have.

I want to continue along the people aspect of working in the Technology Sector for a moment because it really does make up a big part of many of the jobs that exist out there. If you end up working in a small organisation working as a Developer it will probably be your responsibility to not just write the code and develop the code the new website or software application but also to gather the requirements from the user.

If however you are working for a large multi-national then it could be that your manager allocates you work and therefore all of the requirements have already been gathered, which means that all you have to is develop the software application or web-site.

Looking at the transferable skills required for a Support, which will involve anything from fixing and install PCs, to maintain and managing servers. Just as in development, the need for strong communication and interpersonal skills is just as important as technical skills and knowledge.

Support roles commonly divided into levels or lines. So, for example, a job, which has First Line in the title may involve you be logging support requests, resetting passwords and communicating directly with end users. Depending on the size of the organisation you are employed by you may also function as Second Line support, which will mean that you can talk tech all day long.

It is the chance to talk tech all day that makes a career in the Technology Sector a good choice for those on The Spectrum. In my experience, most people who work in the IT Team are usually all share similar interests and mindsets.   On the whole, I  have always felt accepted by the teams I have worked in.  Away from having similar interests, I have also found working as part of the IT Team to be a very supportive place where if you have a problem with a piece of work you will all help each other. In addition to having a good support structure amongst your colleagues, I have also found my direct manages to be supportive and that a lot of managers in the Technology Sector will have potentially had prior experience with autistic employees and therefore understand how to effectively support them and also what an asset they can be for the team.

To conclude working the Technology Sector is a good career choice for those who are autistic because it is a place where you are likely to find kindred spirits and generally feel accepted. In addition to the likelihood of working with people with similar interests to yourself, the environment in which you work will quite often be a supportive one.  However always keep in mind that the Technology Sector is extremely people orientated. Gone are the days where those who worked in the IT Department are tucked away somewhere in the bowels of a building who are heard but rarely seen, similar to Roy and Moss from the hilarious Channel 4 comedy <a href="http://www.channel4 explanation.com/programmes/the-it-crowd/” onclick=”__gaTracker(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘outbound-article’, ‘http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-it-crowd/’, ‘The IT Crowd’);”>The IT Crowd. Communication and people skills are amongst the most important transferable skills to have. I hope this post is informative and the information contained with provides a realistic insight into what work in the Technology Sector is really like.

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