How to get a job
One of my objectives with this book is to help you to find a great job. One that you will love going to everyday; one where you are in for a steep learning curve and one that aligns what you are passionate about with what your employer is happy to pay for.
It is very important to realise that if you are in a job (or school) where your learning curve is not off-the-charts, you are short-changing your life and your career. Nobody cares as much about your career as you do, and you are the only one that has full control over your attitude to learning. You can chose everyday on how engaged and receptive you are to learn and to be taught by others. It is not exaggeration to say that you decide your future's direction and path with every decision you make.
There is a lot of competition out there and if you look at what is coming next, namely AI and the next billion internet users, you'll need to maximise your chances and opportunities.
I really like the Gen Z realization that a job is something that should be rewarding and not just a way to make money. After all, the best job is when you are paid to do something that you would do for free. Although I am very fortunate to be in that situation, where I love my job and what I do every day, it didn't happened by accident. I made a number of key decisions in my life, some with very short-term negative implications, that allowed me to align what I love to do with what the market wants to pay.
Being passionate and loving your job
Find what you are passionate for, what you really care about and align your career with those ideas. The best part is that this is a massive win-win situation, since the more passionate you are about a particular topic, the more you care about it, and the more valuable you are to the company that is employing you.
Having one competitive advantage
The best way to get a job is to have ONE competitive advantage. One activity or task that you can do better than the person or company hiring you. For example in the 1990s for a lot of companies it was simply that you could use a computer! In the 2000s is was using the Internet. In the early days of software development or security, all it took was good programming or hacking experience. Although it might look that the bar was lower those days, the reality is that those who could do it were the ones who proactively embraced the technologies and learned them against all odds. Individuals can become experts at new technology faster than the tech companies. You can be first in line for a job when they need that expertise. These days, it is technologies and ideas like (all covered in this book):
- Chaos Engineering
- Creative Commons Licences
- Continuous Integration
Own your career development
You are the one in charge of your career. Yes, listen to advice but only you can ultimately choose which paths to follow. You need to discover those paths by yourself, via trial and error, and a great way to do that is to work for companies who are aligned with those paths.
And how do you start working with those companies?
Easy, start collaborating on their Open Source projects. Act like you are part of the company. Understand their values, and behave in ways that will add value to that company, namely the tech stack.
Start by approaching the key individuals and developers from those companies and communities, both offline and online, in a way that adds value to them. Build relationships that will teach you a lot, and potentially lead to very interesting job offers, or at least references. Start by learning how to add value and how to become good at proactively solving problems, which is one of the most valuable assets you can bring to a company.
What's interesting is that there is nothing stopping you from doing this! We are in very open, collaborative and creative times. You have nothing to lose by giving it all you've got, and everything to gain.
This post is released under an Creative Commons license, and is based on the ‘How to get a Job’ chapter from the Generation Z Developers book I’m currently writing.