In order to find a job that would be great for you, you must first answer what does great mean to you?
Here are 5 tips to help you answer that question and get ready to look for your great job. These tips are based on my own experience and helped me work on some great projects and meet amazing people.
We won’t cover how to look for, preparing your CV, applying for a job, etc. That comes second to knowing what you actually want. If you want me to cover those parts in other posts just let me know!
Let’s get to it :)
1. Learn things that interest you on your spare time
The tech industry is huge and there are many areas you might like: websites, operations, mobile apps, security, games, communications or data analysis, just to name a few. Many areas use different technologies, require different skills and appeal to different kinds of people.
Keep your eyes open for areas and technologies that seem interesting and get to learn about them.
Luckily nowadays there’s a vast amount of resources to learn: books, online courses, blogs, recorded talks from conferences, etc.
If you are studying Computer Science, your university will probably only teach you the underlying principles of computing. It’s probably up to you to get exposed to different areas and figure out which ones appeal to you.
2. Experiment with what you learn
Once you start learning, experiment with the things you learn and put them to good use. Watching talks and reading books is great. But nothing beats getting your hands dirty and using what you have learned.
Build your own experiments, tools and mini-projects. You can do anything, from silly projects where you just play with technologies, to tiny products or tools to be used by you or others.
This will not only help you learn more, but it can be very be helpful when you are interviewing for a job. It shows you are proactive, can learn by yourself.
You can also attend some hackathons or join some rapid development competitions. Those are sometimes great to come up with small ideas and execute them. You can also team up with some people, which brings us to the next tip.
3. Meet people with similar interests
Ok, you are learning about some bit of technology that interests you. Maybe you are even using what you are learning (go you!). Now it’s time to get to meet people who are interested on the same.
There are many ways to do this: participate in the related IRC channels and mailing lists, attend local events, conferences, hackathons, etc.
Meeting people with common interests can bring you many benefits such as:
- Learning from each other about the technology
- Getting feedback on what you are doing
- Coming up with projects to work together
- Meeting people with work experience who can give you advice
- Getting job referrals
- Making some good friends and having a good time
I met some of my best friends and the most amazing people I know through events and communities. Not only that, I met my business partner when in a hackathon we were both attending. Also, once you start knowing cool people they’ll introduce you to other cool people!
One tip for those like me who are not great introducing ourselves and making small talk with strangers: doing presentations about what you have learned/built is a great way to get to know people. You can present in a local users group or present a proposal for a conference. After the talk you’ll usually have some people approach you with some comments or questions. You’ll already have something to talk about!
4. Try to get some experience
This is more focused on students or graduates. There are many things that you probably won’t experience until you work in a real project: working with other engineers, working with an existing project with a big codebase, running a service with live customers, etc.
I think having some real-world experience can be a huge learning experience and helping identify what kind of company you would like to work with.
The traditional way to do this is applying to an internship opening at a company. However, there can be other options. Some of the ones I’ve seen:
- Contribute to an established Open Source project
- Looking for a company that interests you and asking them to take you as an intern rather than limiting yourself to advertised internships
- Collaborating with a startup for free in your spare time, which is what I did while I was in university
The key is working somewhere where you can learn something relevant to you. Don’t just look for something to fill your CV. Look for some experience that will help you grow.
5. Make a list of what things matter to you
Not only there are many different roles and technologies in our industry, there are also many different kind of companies which appeal to different people. Some people like solving technical challenges while others prefer building customer facing products. You might prefer making working longer hours as long as you like the project or the company culture.
This part is completely personal and it’s all about you figuring your what you value the most. If you don’t want to find a job, but a great job. You must know how to differentiate them.
There are many questions you can ask yourself to come up with your list. The following list is just some of them:
- What role do you want?
- Do you want to work with a specific project?
- Would you consider moving to another city? How far?
- What kind of work environment do you prefer? Serious or relaxed?
- How much freedom do you want?
- Do you want to work on hard technical challenges?
- Do you prefer a big or an small company?
- How important is the salary?
- Do you want to work a fixed schedule or flexible hours?
- Do you mind working long hours?
This list is just an example. You might find other things are more important to you. Once you have the list make sure you think what tradeoffs you are willing make. E.g: You might be willing to accept a lower salary if you can be based in certain city. Figure out what your priorities are.
You’ll later use this list to filter and rank the jobs you apply to and to decide which job offer to accept.
One important point to keep in mind that these list is not set in stone. What matters to you can and will change. Be ready to revisit your list and update your priorities!
How can you find out what might be interesting to you?
We know it can be very hard to figure out what might be of interest to you. As we commented, the tech industry is huge, so how can you get to know what you might be interested in?
We are starting with techinsiders.io. We are interviewing some great people across different kind of companies and roles. We’ll get their persona point of view about what they do, why they like it and how they got there.
We hope you will get a better insight on what the different areas of the tech industry are like. You might even read an interview and think “that sounds cool! I want to do that too”.
If this sounds interesting and you want to learn more about techinsiders and other related projects, subscribe here.
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I would love to hear from you :)