Pursuing a Career in Technology
Have you decided to pursue a career in technology? There has never been a better time. The industry of technology is growing exponentially and if you're willing to keep up with the growth, you are going to be well on your way to a long and fulfilling career. Here are some eye-opening statistics about the growth of technology:
40% of the world’s population has access to the internet.
90% of the world’s data was generated within the past two years alone.
Only 8% of US households owned a personal computer in 1984.
5 billion people in the world own a mobile device.
2.65 billion people in the world use social media.
1 in every 5 Americans is smartphone-dependent.
Mobile banking adoption will produce 95 million jobs.
Resource: Lynkova, D. How Fast is Technology Growing Statistics [Updated 2021].
As you learn the digital languages, tech stacks, data structures and algorithms, it is important to also be preparing yourself for a competitive job market. The earlier you start this process, the easier it will be to market your knowledge and skills when it comes time to apply for jobs in tech. I have gathered some key advice from colleagues in the tech industry that will help you stand out in a competitive, fast-paced career field:
1. If you don't have professional experience, then make your own experience.
Personal projects can seem very time consuming, but if you're up to it they can be well worth it. There are plenty of ways to create your own experience: build a developer tool, make some mobile apps, build a website, etc. Build your portfolio with personal projects independent of coursework, display these projects on a Github account or a personal website and include these links on your resume. Aim to have at least one project with a WOW visual factor. When you display these personal projects, describe what tools and frameworks you used, what the project is trying to accomplish, and how you used those frameworks to accomplish it.
2. Job descriptions are wish lists, you don’t need to meet all of the requirements.
Apply anyway! Job qualifications are wish-lists for prospective employees- Hiring managers and employers may be flexible on experience if you have other skills they are looking for and they feel confident in your abilities. When you apply, sell yourself as enthusiastic and willing to learn. Don't be scared to apply to larger companies and organizations. Reach out directly to the IT head of department and ask them for an opportunity. What is the worst that can happen?
3. Customize your resume for every job application.
Each time that you apply for a job, look at what tech-stack that company uses and modify your resume to reflect your knowledge and skills using that tech-stack. Also, compress all of your non-development/tech experience into a couple lines MAX and push it to the BOTTOM of the resume.
4. The Technical Interview.
You should know at least one programming language really well, preferably C++, Java, Ruby, Python, Go, or C. Employers will often let you choose the language you’re most comfortable with during the technical interview. As you prepare, be sure to have your basic tech fundamentals down. Form an effective practice routine. Technical interview questions are often open-ended questions about how you would go about a given scenario. You will be able to pull from your fundamental knowledge to answer these questions. Additionally, here is a list of knowledge and skills that should be on-point before your technical interview (this is not a conclusive list):
Resource: Bradford, L. Learn to Code With Me: The ultimate guide to acing your technical interview in 2021 [Updated 2020].
5. Use your networks.
When you boil it down, it is all about connections and showing off what you can do. Use your available networks. Join Linkedin Discussion groups, Reddit groups, Slack Channels, Discord channels- there are so many networks for you to take advantage of! If you attended any higher-education or technology bootcamp, find their alumni network or if there is none, reach out to a former educator. Use this link for tips on how to effectively utilize your social network.