Hey fellow dev! 👋🏻 How are you putting up in these uncertain times?
First and foremost, welcome to part 2 of the three part series titled: Things I wish I knew! If you are new here, go take a quick look at part 1. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy!
In part 1 we silently judged my younger self and the things she did not know back then. Just kidding. That'd be evil. 😈 Instead we went over topics such as:
- the importance of version control and "vanilla" skills,
- having proper hardware to work with,
- the wide variety of tools at your disposal and
- the struggle of learning tech skills.
Today we will look at a few more things I wish I knew before getting started in tech.
The importance of a portfolio 💼
Well, I'm not really one to talk, since I don't have a portfolio in place at the time of writing, 😕 but that does not mean portfolios are not important. As a matter of fact, it is the best way to showcase your skills. Portfolios are also incredibly useful when in search of a job in this field. It is the embodiment of letting your work speak for you.
My advise to beginners: start early. Don't doubt yourself so much. Build something, see it through the end and show your work. It pays off, I promise! 😉
Work experience is key 🔑
Now, this one is a no-brainer. I actually already knew this before getting in the tech space. However, it is still worth mentioning. Try to get a hold of an internship as soon as possible. If you can get a summer internship, go for it. All the internships you do, will not only help you gain some experience while studying, but it will also help you build your network.
Off you go, make a name for yourself! 🤩
Skills > Certificates
Here's a personal favorite. You have NO idea how many people I have seen on LinkedIn sharing that they just got a badge or certificate for completing I-don't-know-what-course. While that is a cool feat (also, I am by no means invalidating their efforts), how relevant is that? Most people can study a certain material, pass an exam and get a shiny certificate. BOOM! You are an expert now (certainly not)!
Here's what I suggest. Take it or leave it.
- Only get those certifications that are in line with what you want to accomplish. Passionate about web dev? Don't go and get that CompTIA+ certification. It can wait.
- Put skills before certifications. Build something to showcase what you learned. Or write blog posts sharing what you learned. The certificate is a bonus. But please BUILD! 👷🏻♀️👷🏻♂️ (Don't be like me: portfolio-less. Yes, that's not a word).
- Seek ways to apply your knowledge. This refers to the first point mentioned earlier: build a portfolio. Work in a project-based manner and you will see how your skills will grow stronger. (Beware of tutorial hell! 😱)
And remember...don't be a certificate H03... (Sorry, I just had to.) 🤐
Tech goes beyond Software Engineering
When I enrolled at the uni to study Information and Communication Technology (ICT), I was fixated on becoming a Software Engineer. I knew damn well that there were more things one could become after studying anything related to tech. But trust me, when you first get started, you probably have no clue what a DevOps Engineer is. Or a Data Wrangler. Or a Data Plumber...(you know, the ones that fix data leaks? Just kidding, that is not a thing. Yet 😅).
Here's a little assignment for ya.
- Check out the various job postings on your platform of choice. Don't know where to start? Check good ol' LinkedIn out for starters. Stack Overflow has job postings too, also a great place to start.
- Browse the various jobs and read their descriptions.
- Google search whatever sounds weird to you.
- If a job title appeals to you, you may want to look at the skills necessary to go that route. Else, you gained good insights into the various jobs in the field.
New badge unlocked! General knowledge expanded! Great, isn't it? 😎
Best way to learn tech is by building 🔧
I said it multiple times in this post. BUILD something. The best way to learn how to code is by DOING. Nope, your uni assignments won't be enough. That's basic. Nope, your code-along projects from tutorial hell won't cut it either. 🙅🏻♀️🙅🏻♂️
Be original, build something of your own. And fear not, Google is out there. So is Stack Overflow and a loving and supporting community of devs. 🤗 You. Are. In. Good. Company. Just BUILD it!
Hurray, you made it till the end of this one! 🥳 Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did (or didn't), let me know in the comments below. Anything you'd add to this list? 🤔 There's still one more part to go, so keep your eyes peeled for that one! 👀
To infinity and code on! 👩🏻💻👨🏻💻 See you soon!
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