The tech industry, especially in an industry like Toronto’s, tend to produce very different experiences for different people. It’s an industry that tends to be in very high demand, but not always consistently across different positions and types of development work.
This can lead to fairly sizable portion of tech workers being told that the industry is always hiring, but whom are unable to find jobs. The truth is: the industry is always hiring, but being right in their line of sight isn’t as easy as it was a decade go.
Tech is in high demand, but it’s very competitive when you want to stand out from the herd. This week, we’d like to send you off with some of the clearest, concisest tips you can use right now to exceed in your job search.
#1: You’re not a Developer if you don’t Develop
This probably goes without saying, but it’s a fallacy a lot of early-start professionals fall prey to — especially before they’ve really cut their teeth in the industry. We all know the person who doesn’t write yet calls themselves a writer. But who knows a developer who doesn’t develop?
Most new graduates, as it turns out.
If tech is in the cards for you, your education and your work experience will only take you so far – doubly so if your CV is lacking on either of those fronts. Real, demonstrated portfolios go miles further than your accreditations when it comes to demonstrating:
- Can you organize and plan a technical project?
- Can you demonstrate your process in a way that a hiring specialist is going to understand?
- Can you demonstrate development work ethic with results?
Your portfolio is the only part of your work that you can always guarantee represents the best of yourself. Take the time to work on it and develop it.
#2: Make Connections in your Sphere
Half of what you know is who you know. And it goes far and beyond just getting your foot in the door. In reality, while a large portion of jobs staffed are doing “off-listings”, it isn’t your ability to schmooze and socialize that’s going to get you your dream job. But your ability to communicate and connect definitely will.
Why the distinction? A wide professional network in your industry is worth more than it’s weight in gold, as it gives you an insider perspective on companies while still being an outsider. By knowing what companies are focusing on in their development cycle, or by knowing what emergent skills are going to be hot on the market, you’re setting yourself up to always be prepared to fill those niches in the market.
#3: Focus on Specific Skills and Know What You Want To Do
The tech industry, as ill-defined as it can often be, is still a niche industry. The better you can fill those niches, the more marketable you are. While the principles of computer science or web development have interchangeable elements: generalists don’t really exist, at least in how we see them.
In a traditional workplace, one would be seen as a generalist in a low-level position, then transitioning to a more specialized role. Knowledge workers grow a little differently, marketing specific technical expertise that grows, slowly over time, into long-term project development or (and God help you) full-stack familiarity.
So if you’re working in tech, start making a hard definition as to what you’re selling to employers. Are you a mobile developer? Do you work in Native or HTML5? Do you publish to iOS or Android? What API are you most familiar with, and can you troubleshoot it?
Questions like these are likely to come up in interviews. And if an interview is the first time you’ve ever had to think about a question like that: you aren’t making that definition clear.
Your skills, your connections, and your work are the best indicators of the value you can bring as a knowledge worker. So instead of polishing off your CV one more time, start polishing your portfolio and reaching out to your contacts.