Every great tech superhero has a great origin story. What will yours be?
The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson, shows us a younger, less refined Caped Crusader. A man at home in the shadows of Gotham, yet still honing the skills he needs to truly become the Bat. Because even the world’s greatest detective has to start somewhere.
If you’re about to develop your career in tech, what can be learned from the crime-soaked characters of The Batman?
Batman // Front-end engineer
- User-centric whatever it takes;
- Adept at using multiple tools to attain goals;
At first glance, it might seem that the Dark Knight has little in common with a front-end engineer. For starters, those working in front-end – the parts users actually see – don’t typically wear capes and cowls. But dig a little deeper (just like DC’s most famous detective), and you’ll uncover plenty of similarities.
Front-end engineers are laser-focused on everyday users – whether they live in Gotham City, or beyond. In this role, they create experiences that are accessible, usable, and secure. Detailed-orientated, they optimise performance through design and development. And, thanks to a strong emphasis on user testing, they’re all excellent trouble-shooters and problem-solvers who won’t shy away from what needs to get done.
If you want to take up the Batman mantle without going into front-end engineering, DevOps engineer would be a great alternative role for you.
This is a position that prizes maintaining stability, bringing together the creatively chaotic nature of development with the need for balanced operations. It requires in-depth knowledge of a vast pool of tools and an understanding of both software and releasing engineering (plus a lot of hard work and training, but on the plus side, you won’t need to witness the heartless murder of your parents in Crime Alley to do it).
Catwoman // Software tester
- Understand and minimise risks;
- Agile mentality;
- Focused on ‘the best’.
Catwoman. Gotham’s greatest cat-burglar. A woman who knows what she wants, and won’t stop ‘til she gets it.
Just like a software tester.
See, Catwoman is zeroed in on mitigating risk. If she can avoid a face-to-face confrontation, she will – she’s got too many smarts to swing muscle at every bug that crosses her path. For her, it’s all about adapting her thinking, using her smarts, her wiles, and her brains to get what she needs.
As a software tester, your role is to use every trick in the book to check the quality of the software development and deployment. You’ll slip in, unseen, just like a stealth hacker might, infiltrating the tech to ensure bugs are swiftly eliminated before users come across them.
When Catwoman wants to heist jewels from the Gotham Museum of Antiquities, she won’t just rock up with smoke bombs and a sledgehammer. She’ll check every inch of the area for potential vulnerabilities. Software testers do exactly the same, stress-testing the environment to see where the weaknesses are, whether it’s a mobile app or a global website. This is especially important during the early stages of development, where you’ll help refine the experience before the development team fully commits to the project.
To succeed as a software tester, you’ll need to be focused on the details, show creativity, and have an analytical mind when it comes to solving problems.
Alfred // UX designer
- Understanding of people’s needs, goals, and behaviour;
- Creating frictionless experiences.
UX designers champion the users – whether it’s an app, a website, or a cool bit of software. They want to understand what people do and why they do it. They’re skilled at evaluating human behaviour and offering vital feedback that helps developers and engineers create solutions that work.
In other words, they’re the Alfred Pennyworth’s of this world.
Sure, to the outside world, he may just be Bruce Wayne’s long-suffering butler. But we all know he’s the real reason Batman can do what he does.
In the competitive digital space, a user-centric focus is essential. We all want apps that are easy to use and navigate. We want to avoid on-screen clutter and we demand absolutely no friction when we try to do what we do – whether it’s buying something from an e-commerce store or finding our account settings in the latest mobile game. The whole process, from start to finish, should be seamless and intuitive.
That’s precisely what a UX designer achieves.
If you fancy yourself as a bit of an Alfred, but UX isn’t your thing, web development may be a better career move. In this role, you’ll need a broad understanding of web technologies and a head for creative, analytical thinking to bring a website to life (and keep it functional). Just as Alfred helps make the Batman a reality.
Jim Gordon // Project manager
- Working with cross-functional stakeholders;
- Understanding team members’ roles and personalities;
- Balancing development needs with business objectives.
Even in the lowly role of lieutenant (although, one day he’ll reach the rank of Commissioner), Jim Gordon has a managerial head upon those weary shoulders.
If you’re something of a Lt. Gordon yourself, then project manager is the role you’ll want to shoot for – preferably without a hand cannon in your holster, of course.
The project manager has total oversight across the product being developed. They’re responsible for the teams creating and executing the development of a product. Milestones must be met. Release dates must be hit. Quality must never wane. And that’s all within the purview of the project manager.
You’ll also need to be a people person. You’ll need to draw on the skills of other departments to help create the finished product. And although you won’t have an entire police department to look after, your team will be vitally important to you. Project managers thrive on running meetings and check-ins with staff, to make sure your team is on track (and not overwhelmed with a bajillion tasks). It’s about balancing the care for your team with the project’s demands. The same way Gordon balances the needs of Gotham’s populace with the confines of the law. That’s not always easy when you have a rogue’s gallery of criminals breathing down your neck.
The Riddler // Business Intelligence Analyst
- Data, data, data;
- Problem-solving and logical thinking;
- Excellent communication.
A business intelligence analyst is a hero of the development process. Not really a villain. But, like the Riddler, they’re obsessed with data. And discovering patterns.
But while the Riddler deploys his skills to force others to give up information and to further his maniacal schemes, true business intelligence analyst value logical thinking to identify areas where a business can improve and grow. They’re also not known for gate-crashing funerals and taunting Bat-based superheroes.
Riddle me this. Leads are down for a website, compared to three months ago. What is the cause and how can this be rectified? A business intelligence analyst ponders the question and asks how and why and what. A business intelligence analyst trawls the site’s analytics. A data scientist spots the information that shows since a recent update, traffic is being diverted away from the core function. Deploying their awesome communication skills to present the problem, they can report to the relevant stakeholder, who will take the necessary action to revert this drop in leads. Or whatever problem pounds onto their patch.
The Riddler prides himself on being the smartest person in any room he walks into (especially a room inhabited by arch-nemesis Batman). But a business intelligence analyst really is the smartest one in the room. Armed with imagination, an unrivalled understanding of the product, and the ability to pair technical know-how with business objectives, the role centres around gaining insights no-one else can.
If your skills and passion are for logical thinking and problem-solving, hardware engineer and computer systems analyst roles may also satisfy you as much as successfully tricking the Dark Knight.
Penguin // Business analyst
- Outstanding communication and presentation
- Management skills
- Analytical mindset
Business analysts might not spend every minute of the day coding the latest innovation. But they’re critical to the smooth operations of business technology – the same way the Penguin (or Oswald Cobblepot, if you prefer) is integral to running the Falcone criminal empire.
The Penguin is a natural showman. Adept at putting on a professional front. It comes with the territory, managing a classy joint like the Iceberg Lounge. A business analyst needs exactly the same professional, persuasive, presentational skills to communicate their findings and gain buy-in from the higher-ups.
This is a tech role built for those who crave an understanding of systems and process. They can take in vast amounts of data. Create a big picture abstract in their minds. Then figuring out ways to make those processes even more efficient to benefit the company. Because someone needs to keep a close eye on performance and the bottom-line. And it’s better than letting an unhinged, ornithologically obsessed nightclub manager do it, right?
‘It's what you do that defines you’
Hero or villain, the one thing that connects the characters of the Bat-verse is a vision. A hunger to reach their goals – whatever it takes. Through careful strategy, tactics, and sheer tyranny of will. And that’s no different to anyone serious about taking their career to the next level.
As an older, wiser Batman reminds us: it’s not who we are underneath, but what we do that defines us. What career goals will define you on the next stage of your journey?
Together with your trusty sidekick KWAN, create your own awesome origin story and start your career in tech.