There’s no 1 single way to break into tech. Nor a particular company type or specific degree. And believe it or not, many people claim they “just fell into it”. Whatever that means, it’s no help to individuals trying to break into tech. Judging by the few “Break into Tech” Facebook groups I am a part of, many people are just doing random things with the hopes that something sticks. Honestly, I found myself doing the same in 2019.
SHOP THIS HOODIE!
The best way to break into a tech career is by doing the work it takes to break into any new industry that interests you.
But tech specifically requires thick skin and the ability to be super authentic. A really good read is 7 Essential Secrets of Tech Recruiting. The author, Jeremy, started his career as a Kindergarten teacher.
Lately, it seems as if so many people are looking to break into the industry. And honestly, we’d all love to see it. Not just because it appears to be the “cool thing to do”; but it’s necessary to remain relevant as society progresses. However, diversity remains one of the largest pitfalls of this lucrative industry. And in order to get your foot in the door, you have to be willing to overcome the obstacles and barriers that may stand in your way.
Black women hold only about 3% of computing-related jobs. Still, many Black women, including myself, are committed to getting these numbers up by spreading the wealth of knowledge and resources.
Build and invest in your network.
Building your network is only half the job. But it’s literally the MOST important way to break into tech. Who you know and the social spaces you’re a part of is key! Investing your time and energy into growing and maintaining professional relationships is the true hard work that does pay off.
If you already have your eye set on a certain field or role within tech, start engaging with people who already do what you want to do. Don’t be afraid to cold message meaningful messages to people on LinkedIn, join industry organizations and ones made for Black women, or even work the power of social media.
It’s always said that people have no problem talking about themselves. So, when in doubt, ask people about their own experiences in tech before asking for personal advice. Then, if you’re willing to put in the work to engage your network, you might find a mentor or someone ready to help you find your in.
Create a professional website.
It doesn’t matter where you’d like to work in tech—having a clean, professional-looking website that shows off your portfolio or technical skills is an excellent way to stand out from the crowd. It shows that you’ve taken the extra step to put yourself out there; something employers love to see.
Not only is a website the easiest way to showcase your portfolio, but it comes in clutch for building your network, too. It also shows confidence in your skill set and your personality. It doesn’t have to be all career focused (unless you want it to be), it’s nice to show a bit of your character and how it would be to work with you on a personal level.
With a website, you can guide people quickly to find everything they need to know about you with one click: your background, portfolio, technical skills, and social media links. Wix is probably the easiest platform if you want to build something quickly. It has drag and drop features that allow you to plug your content in the appropriate place. WordPress is a bit more hands on and not as user friendly as Wix, however, is a powerful platform that allows more advanced customization. Either option is a great start in my opinion.
Customize your resume.
If you aren’t tailoring your resume to job descriptions, it’s time to get on that. Recruiters and employers are looking for specific skills and talents that align with the open role, so make sure your resume aligns with what they’re looking for.
Edit your resume side by side with the job description to get a good grasp of what to include. Don’t lie on your resume—just think critically about how your content could stand out to the employer and insert the best keywords and descriptions that you can.
And don’t be afraid to add the work you’ve done in a bootcamp or training course. So, while it might not be professional experience, education is still very important contrary to popular belief. We hear so often that experience is all that matters, but, you have to start somewhere. Education via degrees, certifications, licenses etc. are all relevant to include and highlight on your resume.
There you have it! If you found these tips helpful, leave a comment below and tell me what you’d like to see next!