Professional Development
Resources / Roundups / Tech jobs

What 3 Delaware RealLIST Engineers wish they’d known before starting in tech

Working in tech means more than understanding technology. Deanna Bledsoe, Matt Sharp and Scott Shaw offer advice for aspiring and developing technologists.

Deanna Bledsoe, Matt Sharp and Scott Shaw. (Courtesy photos)

Editor’s note: This story first appeared as a newsletter alongside a roundup of Technical.ly’s best reporting from the week, job openings and more. Subscribe here to get updates on Delaware tech, business and innovation news in your inbox on Thursdays.


The new year is a time for new beginnings and thinking about the future.

Considering a career pivot into tech? Or maybe you’re just starting out and getting ready to enter the tech job market? One thing you can’t have too much of is good advice.

Technical.ly reached out to honorees of Delaware’s 2022 RealLIST Engineers with a question for our aspiring and developing technologist readers: What is one thing you wish you had known before you started working in tech?

Here’s what three of them said.

The value of soft skills

Deanna Bledsoe, IT director at the Delaware Office of State Treasury and founder of the Hockessin-based edtech startup Kai Coders, has been a technologist for more than two decades. While tech pros need to know technology, she notes that other, “softer” skills are necessary for success.

“I really wish I’d known when I first started in tech just how valuable and important non-technical skills would be,” Bledsoe said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re the most skilled or knowledgeable IT person in the room, if you’re not able to get your message across to your audience — whether it be other IT staff, end-users, leadership, etc. — the value of your work is diminished. After all these years, I continue to work on bettering my listening, communication and presentation skills.”

Always be marketing

Some technologists work for big companies with big marketing departments. For indie game developers like Matt Sharp, marketing is a skill he wishes he was more prepared for. Sharp is the founder of Bridgeville-based Momiji Studios, which dropped the game Video Game Fables last July.

“As an indie game developer, I definitely underestimated how important and difficult marketing is,” he said. “The game market is so saturated that you’re incredibly lucky if you can even get your game noticed.”

Don’t take your passion for granted

Scott Shaw has said he has the best job in the world, as Nemours Children’s Hospital’s very first game and technology specialist. Before that, he pioneered Delaware’s first game design and development degree program at Wilmington University. He wants young people to know that technology is more than fun and games.

“The one thing I would have wanted to know before working in tech would be that the world is your oyster if you can figure this stuff out while you are young,” Shaw said. “I was always techy — being the son of a creative mom and an engineering dad, it came easy for me. However, what I didn’t realize is that you can create and engineer your way to happiness, success, and empowerment.”

###

P.S. We love our RealLISTs! Our original list, RealLIST Startups, returns at the end of January, as is our annual tradition. We don’t do formal nominations for this RealLIST, but if you have founded or know of a startup that you think should be considered, drop me a note at holly@technical.ly.

Before you go...

Please consider supporting Technical.ly to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

Our services Preferred partners The journalism fund
Engagement

Join our growing Slack community

Join 5,000 tech professionals and entrepreneurs in our community Slack today!

Trending

Cal Ripken Jr. essay: The MLB legend explains his drive to build STEM centers in schools across the nation

The end of software as technology

Startup302 awards nearly $200,000 to esports, environmental analytics and more

After shutdown threat, transformative Wilmington art space finds a new home

Technically Media