Breaking into tech is hard enough, and adding a global pandemic to the equation doesn't make it any easier. If you're a career changer, or a code newbie trying to land your first dev job (like myself!), I'm sure you're feeling the impact.
I started my job search in February, and made some good progress. Sure, I didn't land a job from the interviews I had, but I made some great connections, gained some knowledge and practice, and came pretty close making it through to a final round for a Software Developer role. Some may say these were failures, but I see them as wins. I was able to get my feet wet and work towards building my confidence. Like they say, each rejection gets you one step closer to that yes.
Times have definitely changed from February to March/April. I'm not hearing back from many jobs I've applied to (not even rejections) and barely seeing new job postings, it's been rough. I've noticed a few tweets about 'levelling up your skills' during this time, but I personally think that's easier said than done. Productivity has dropped, responsibilities have changed, priorities shifted. There's a lot to consider when the world is on an indefinite timeout, but your life isn't.
I pride myself on being a pretty productive and focused individual, but I'll be honest - the last week has been rough, and weekends rougher. I continue to stay positive, and have learned that...
And when plans change, you need to adapt and roll with the punches.
Re-evaluating to understand what works and what doesn't work is key for any plan. For myself, I use this in my strategies from studying, to organization, to my job search. So what's my plan you ask? Here are a few tweaks I've made to hopefully help me break into tech while the world has shut down.
Networking: Continuing to network and attend virtual meetups. When I say networking, I don't just mean strictly job related. I truly believe in building real relationships with people. You never know where a conversation will lead!
Follow-ups: I'm reaching out to companies that I've had conversations with before, or have caught my eye and introducing myself to see if there are any possible fits for their needs and what I can offer. If this doesn't lead to anything now, it possibly can in the future. You never know til you try!
Skills: Like I mentioned above, productivity clearly has dropped - so I'm working more so on improving and learning what I can without being too hard on myself. Understanding and remembering that any progress made IS progress. I'm not pressuring myself to learn a new skill, I'm more so ensuring that I am continuing to learn. Some days I won't want to code, so I'll read articles/blogs or even browse through relevant twitter threads.
Leverage current situation: I'm grateful that during this pandemic I am lucky to have a job at an amazing company with a great team. I mentioned earlier that I'm a career changer - I'm moving from E-Commerce/Digital Marketing to Web Development. I was still a Flatiron School student when I started my current job and have been very transparent with my career goals. My interest in web development and coding is no surprise, so I've been leveraging my current situation to involve more development work hoping to transition into a web dev role. If I do, great! If not, I am still actively practising my skills at work so that's added progress.
I know that my plan (version 1!) won't work for everyone, but maybe it will? Or parts of it at least - but that's the purpose of this blog post. I wanted to share where I'm at and learn more about what others are doing. If what you're doing is working for you, maybe it'll work for me too?
So with that being said, how are you staying focused on your end goal when curve balls are being thrown left, right and center? What is your 'breaking into tech' pandemic plan?