A lot of people asked me how I went from education to tech in a year. Let me start by admitting that some pieces were luck and right place at the right time. However, a lot of it was sacrifice. In the past I've provided 1:1 sessions to share some ways to make the switch, but I thought it might be useful to share these tools with a broader audience.
I hope they help.
Step one: Before you begin the journey of switching your career make sure that the people in your life know how important this switch is.
I lived a hermit lifestyle in Europe and north Africa for about a year, but everyone cant do that. But, you can at least let people know that you wont be available as readily for the next 6 - 12 months.
You're trying to change your life. GO ALL IN!
Step two: Make sure that your Github and personal website, blog, projects, etc are updated. Make sure they are beautiful.
If you send your resume over the internet, provide links to your best work. If you have a Github make sure that you pin your best projects, they have a README and they have links to the deployed website. Links, links, links. Its the best way to get others to link 😉 with you.
Step three: get up your network by any means necessary.
How do you do that? Do whatever feels best for you. I went all the way in on LinkedIn. I got a premium subscription and I followed people that I knew had a large network and then I went through and followed their network. I now have connections of software engineers, senior software engineers, engineering managers and VP's of amazing companies because I wasn't afraid to drop them a line.
Now, there is a right way to do it. Ava Duvernay once said "in order to make real connections take off the stinky coat of desperation." (I'm paraphrasing). Essentially, you both have something to offer so ask for connection. Not help. Here is the message that I sent to hundreds of people:
Hi person! I am new to tech and looking to connect with like-minded engineers and others in the tech sphere on LinkedIn. Hope to connect soon!
Short, sweet and not making others feel like a transaction.
Step four: learn how to make a connection in less than 30 seconds.
When you get on a coffee chat with a new person, what do you do? What do you say? Well, you can honestly say anything. But, I always start off with connecting questions. How are you? Where are you from? Tell me about yourself. How was your weekend. As they are answering I'm thinking of something that connects us and then I talk about that. You're from an Arabic speaking country? Oh, cool, I speak a little Arabic. You like Bollywood movies, so do I. Pizza is your favorite food? With pineapples or without? You get the gist. The trick is to get the other person talking and then positively engage them in the first 30 seconds to a minute. Then talk about work and end talking about something outside of work. This is a sure way to leave a lasting impression.
Step five: The final step is to follow up with those connections.
If you see a role at Deloitte and John from Microsoft has 100 connections with people from Deloitte, reach out to John. I've been able to get so many informational interviews this way.
The overarching theme and the short and sweet of it is to make connections! You got this.
Feel free to connect with me!