Breaking into tech is hard enough, and adding a global pandemic to the equation doesn't make it any easier. If you're a career changer, or a code newbie trying to land your first dev job (like myself!), I'm sure you're feeling the impact.
I started my job search in February, and made some good progress. Sure, I didn't land a job from the interviews I had, but I made some great connections, gained some knowledge and practice, and came pretty close making it through to a final round for a Software Developer role. Some may say these were failures, but I see them as wins. I was able to get my feet wet and work towards building my confidence. Like they say, each rejection gets you one step closer to that yes.
Times have definitely changed from February to March/April. I'm not hearing back from many jobs I've applied to (not even rejections) and barely seeing new job postings, it's been rough. I've noticed a few tweets about 'levelling up your skills' during this time, but I personally think that's easier said than done. Productivity has dropped, responsibilities have changed, priorities shifted. There's a lot to consider when the world is on an indefinite timeout, but your life isn't.
I pride myself on being a pretty productive and focused individual, but I'll be honest - the last week has been rough, and weekends rougher. I continue to stay positive, and have learned that...
And when plans change, you need to adapt and roll with the punches.
Re-evaluating to understand what works and what doesn't work is key for any plan. For myself, I use this in my strategies from studying, to organization, to my job search. So what's my plan you ask? Here are a few tweaks I've made to hopefully help me break into tech while the world has shut down.
Networking: Continuing to network and attend virtual meetups. When I say networking, I don't just mean strictly job related. I truly believe in building real relationships with people. You never know where a conversation will lead!
Follow-ups: I'm reaching out to companies that I've had conversations with before, or have caught my eye and introducing myself to see if there are any possible fits for their needs and what I can offer. If this doesn't lead to anything now, it possibly can in the future. You never know til you try!
Skills: Like I mentioned above, productivity clearly has dropped - so I'm working more so on improving and learning what I can without being too hard on myself. Understanding and remembering that any progress made IS progress. I'm not pressuring myself to learn a new skill, I'm more so ensuring that I am continuing to learn. Some days I won't want to code, so I'll read articles/blogs or even browse through relevant twitter threads.
Leverage current situation: I'm grateful that during this pandemic I am lucky to have a job at an amazing company with a great team. I mentioned earlier that I'm a career changer - I'm moving from E-Commerce/Digital Marketing to Web Development. I was still a Flatiron School student when I started my current job and have been very transparent with my career goals. My interest in web development and coding is no surprise, so I've been leveraging my current situation to involve more development work hoping to transition into a web dev role. If I do, great! If not, I am still actively practising my skills at work so that's added progress.
I know that my plan (version 1!) won't work for everyone, but maybe it will? Or parts of it at least - but that's the purpose of this blog post. I wanted to share where I'm at and learn more about what others are doing. If what you're doing is working for you, maybe it'll work for me too?
So with that being said, how are you staying focused on your end goal when curve balls are being thrown left, right and center? What is your 'breaking into tech' pandemic plan?
Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash
Top comments (13)
"I am lucky to have a job at an amazing company with a great team" - count your blessings! Plenty of people don't have a job, or lost the job they had as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
Just a thought, can't you try to move into (web) dev at your current company?
If you're happy with them (as you say you are) and they are happy with you (as I assume) then the two of you shouldn't part. As they're in the digital business already why don't you offer to do some pet projects for them at no extra pay/salary, sort of as an internship next to your paid job.
Hi Leo - Yes, that's what I'm trying to do - I mentioned in the post that I'm trying to transition into a web dev role at my current company. I've already had the discussions with my boss, and I do code on the job already, sooo I'll keep my fingers crossed and hopefully will have a follow up blog post with good news.
Sounds good, I'm sure you'll get there!
This is a great plan, especially about not being too hard on yourself!!!
It's definitely hard to not be hard on yourself, but yes - it's much needed at times like this. We are all going through a lot, any progress IS progress!
Hello fellow Sarah!
I'm brand new to the tech field, making a career as well. I'm finishing up the code bootcamp I started in January. I'm going to use our regular class time as dedicated study time when we are finished. I've got a long list projects that I'm excited to work on, topics to research and I'm saving as many job postings as I can find. I'm working on making this career development and learning time a habit so that I will stay productive outside of class. I just got done reading Atomic Habits and I think following the suggestions in that book will be a game changer for me!
Hello Sarah! I actually have Atomic Habits in my long list of books to read, and this reply motivated me to jump on Amazon and order it, so thank you! And congrats on taking the leap into tech! Nearing the end of your bootcamp is a huge milestone, celebrate it! Do you find that certain times of the day are most productive for you? Morning vs afternoon vs night? Also, starting conversations with some companies now before you graduate may be a good idea. If you haven't gone to many virtual meetups yet, try to fit those into your schedule too. You'll definitely make some great connections!
I feel like I'm most productive in the morning, but I absolutely have to get enough sleep for that to happen. Otherwise it's a wash. I can get some good work done in the afternoon too once I get into my office space. I used to do a lot work at night in college, but I've shifted away from that. What about you?
I've been going to meet ups and will continue to do so. I'm fortunate to have a community organization here that fosters those relationships.
Great plan! I think the steps in your plan are really positive and can provide a big upside. These uneasy times can be difficult so it is really important to take care of yourself as well through it all! Good luck and looking forward to reading how it works out!
Thanks Kyle! I hope I'll be able to share some good news in a following blog post! Fingers crossed!
That's great news that you're starting to feel more drive and confidence, Justin! Stay at home first felt like an opportunity to tackle on more studying, but quickly I realized it's the opposite. Maybe if you tweet your progress more (as small as it may seem), you'll feel more motivated with feedback from your followers. That seems to push me a bit.. Good luck with everything, I'm trying to land my first dev job too. It's a tough time, but we'll get through! Stay positive.