If the defining property of your activity is that you are trying to negotiate messes that other people have made in order to make things happen, where the things you are making happen are not novel in themselves, that is pretty much what working in a bureaucracy is like. So you can think of it as "working in a vast decentralized computer bureaucracy" rather than "working in tech".
Any technologist who believes they're not working in a vast bureaucracy (both of the political kind and the technology itself) is not paying enough attention.
I agree whole heartedly, learning the science is key.
There's no such thing as working in "tech". You are always working in "tech", whether it is using Excel or WebGL. When newspapers call the latter "tech", what they really mean is "new tech".
Programming a 3D multiplayer game in a browser is a re-combination of existing technologies, and therefore not "new tech". (Though of course, new, compared to Excel, but only by a few years.)