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JC Smiley
JC Smiley

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Takeaways from the "My Journey into Tech" meetup

The following is a few takeaways I took from a panel of speakers at a Code Connector tech meetup. You can watch the entire video here.

It's important to be willing to take calculated risks to get where you want to be.

You have to be willing to give up something to create an opportunity: time, rest, convenience, and etc. One of the speakers reflected how as an immigrant to the U.S. with very little saving, she quit her job to pursue two tech boot-camps back to back. The first boot camp was low cost and the following one was free. Her testimony reminded me that if you have the will there is a way.

Be willing to say yes even if something is uncomfortable.

I can personally attest as a stutter and person with social anxiety that the road into tech is full with uncomfortable spaces. Saying "Yes" led me to working as a teacher assistant at a boot-camp, leading tech meetups, getting paid for a freelance project, working for free for a startup, and giving technical talks. All of these uncomfortable scary tech-adjusted opportunities lead to my first job in tech.

Don't be scared to ask for what you want.

One of the speakers felt like she didn't ace an interview for a developer role and pivoted to ask if they had an internship. The answer was yes! She now has her first tech experience by simply being courageous.

Don't underestimate the power of networking.

Job hunting can seem like a black hole sucking up every job application you submit. Networking can and should be an essential part of connecting your face, name, or reputation to a job application. Use LinkedIn, Twitter, and tech meetups to connect with others in the tech industry.

Have one intentional conversation a day with someone in your network or complete stranger.

You have to have the attitude that every tech-related person you meet is an opportunity to impress and get a referral down the line. In the job search, the key is making relationships. Its depth, not width.

I would love to read y'all thoughts on these topics?

Discussion (2)

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Corey McCarty

I completely agree with everything here with one small nuance. If you are talking to/networking with people, then you should make a point to make a legitimate personal connection with them. This doesn't mean that they have to become your best friend, but there should be an interest in the person, and NOT just what they can do for you.

Engaging with people honestly and openly (as is appropriate) will bring a deeper connection than "I'm trying to get a job at your company, can you give me a reference?" If you do find yourself starting this conversation, then you should open discussion about the company and their experience there. Make it rather personal. Let them tell stories about their experience there. This will help you to better understand what a day in the life at that company looks like. Moreover, learning this information about several companies will help you to understand the differences between them.

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JC Smiley Author

This 100% great advise. This builds a stronger connection that grows over time, have more benefits then just a job, and isn't transactional.