What to Say to People Starting Out in IT and Also Veterans

November 28, 2017

Techbytes-WhattoSay

I was recently asked to participate in a charitable event aimed at young people starting out in an IT career. I made a few notes for myself – I will only have 5-10 minutes at the start of the event, so I need to be crisp. As I started doing that I realized that what I was saying was just as applicable to the people who currently worked for me as it was for newbies.

So, here are the three things I captured. (By the way, if you get asked to do this sort of thing, have exactly three things to say).

  1. Learn how a computer works underneath, it’ll make you a better <X>, where you can insert X. Whether you are coding, designing, maintaining, inventing or using, knowing how a computer actually works will make you better at it and more able to speak to other techies about what’s going on. This is especially true as the age of IoT approaches.
  2. Treat “IT” as a craft, not as a skill. Coding is a craft. Coding in Scala is a skill. Designing is a craft. Designing for web is a skill. Of course, get good at a range of skills, but get better at the craft. This will give you a longer relevant career and open up the whole industry to you. Be a “T-shaped person”.
  3. Be a great team member. Many IT disciplines feel like solo activities, but building great things is a team event. You will have your best and most rewarding personal times in your work when you are part of a great team working on an impossible thing. Be a great team member and great teams will want you. Seek out employers who not only value people, but value and nurture teams.

I will let you know if I get booed off stage.

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What to Say to People Starting Out in IT and Also Veterans

Jul 19, 2018, 13:01 PM
I was recently asked to participate in a charitable event aimed at young people starting out in an IT career...
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I was recently asked to participate in a charitable event aimed at young people starting out in an IT career. I made a few notes for myself – I will only have 5-10 minutes at the start of the event, so I need to be crisp. As I started doing that I realized that what I was saying was just as applicable to the people who currently worked for me as it was for newbies.

So, here are the three things I captured. (By the way, if you get asked to do this sort of thing, have exactly three things to say).

  1. Learn how a computer works underneath, it’ll make you a better <X>, where you can insert X. Whether you are coding, designing, maintaining, inventing or using, knowing how a computer actually works will make you better at it and more able to speak to other techies about what’s going on. This is especially true as the age of IoT approaches.
  2. Treat “IT” as a craft, not as a skill. Coding is a craft. Coding in Scala is a skill. Designing is a craft. Designing for web is a skill. Of course, get good at a range of skills, but get better at the craft. This will give you a longer relevant career and open up the whole industry to you. Be a “T-shaped person”.
  3. Be a great team member. Many IT disciplines feel like solo activities, but building great things is a team event. You will have your best and most rewarding personal times in your work when you are part of a great team working on an impossible thing. Be a great team member and great teams will want you. Seek out employers who not only value people, but value and nurture teams.

I will let you know if I get booed off stage.

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