By Paulina Paruszynska
You’ve just finished your “Become a Wealthy Programmer in 30 days” course, and your adventure in the marvellous world of computers, code and numbers is just beginning. But there’s already a huge brick wall right in front of you, with the words “What to do now?” written on it in pink with your favourite Comic Sans font. Here’s some advice from someone who has smashed through that wall like the Kool-Aid man from American commercials.
Step one: get a job in IT!
Getting your first job in IT is most likely the hardest part, and you may be deterred by the fact that there’s a lot of people like you that want to get an entry-level job in this sector. But don’t worry, you’re already halfway there. Fortunately, there’s a lot of jobs in IT, and many people’s first job in the business was different from the position that they are in now. So don’t be discouraged if your first job will be as the Assistant to Junior Programmer (not to be confused with Assistant Junior Programmer).
Now you will probably ask: how to be attractive to employers? We all already know that you’re beautiful, so it’s just a matter of working on your CV and your interview skills. Here are some ideas to help you when applying for jobs.
1. Code, code and code. And open your sources
If you want to let people know that you know your stuff, there aren’t many things that will convince them more than showing your code. It’s like letting people take a look deep into your soul, but better, because you can accept pull requests and get stuff improved.
2. Learn solving problems, not coding solutions
3. Don’t be afraid to ask
People can be intimidating, but in reality, the more questions you ask the merrier. It’s better to be sure that you completely understand the problems before you tackle them.
4. Admit that you don’t know, but be willing to learn
Remember that running a business is an endless battle of cost versus profit. If you say that you don’t have a clue on how to solve a problem, the company will save some money by not waiting for you to ultimately not deliver the expected results. You can always ask to be a part of the team that tackles the problem and gain some fresh funky experience!
Don’t allow yourself to code your favourite programming language for the rest of your life. Exploring different areas of IT lets you gain knowledge of patterns that you can later use in your career. And believe me, there’s a lot of patterns in IT! In the end, everything is a bunch of zeroes and ones after all.
6. Apply to many positions simultaneously
While you just need to land one, it’s great to have options. One of those options could be a job at Marviq – just take a look at our Careers page, so much good stuff there!
7. Don’t be afraid to fail
Applying for jobs in IT is like Tinder for nerds – you’ll be rejected many times before your candidacy for a job gets accepted and you’ll live happily ever after. It can hurt, but as they say: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! Except for gamma radiation, which is always nasty.
Eventually, you will succeed and you’ll be knighted by a fellow nerd. You’ll start using the hexadecimal system when counting money and start speaking in code. What’s next, you ask?
Step two: build your career!
This is the fun part. IT is very often the backbone of many different industries, which means that there are many different areas that you can pursue. Front-end development, back-end development, system administration, dev ops, witchcraft, data analysis – these doors are open and right in front of you.
But which one do you choose? Well, that depends. That’s probably not the answer you were seeking, but allow me to elaborate: you don’t even need to become a specialist. Generalists are needed just as often and it’s up to you if you find any of the aforementioned avenues interesting. But keep in mind that outside of them there are certain fields that you’ll encounter anyway that are worth learning, like databases, system console commands, repositories, etc. Make sure you’re up to speed with those during your career, as they are great building blocks for further expansion of your abilities.
Did I mention that this is your career now? That’s right, so despite what the internet is saying, it’s perfectly fine to not code in your spare time, to not be super passionate about the frameworks and to just generally lead your life like a normal person that is not a geek at all. Of course, it’s great to have a passion for programming when you’re programming because everybody loves to love their jobs, but it’s never a requirement.
On the off-hand that you feel that you’re stagnating or have the fear of falling behind when you go on a holiday, here’s a tip: what counts the most is your logical thinking. As long as you can do that, you’ll learn the latest and greatest programming techniques in no time, even after a long break.
Step three: profit?
There’s a well-known saying: “When life gives you lemons, you paint them gold and sell them to whoever pays the most”. To translate that to non-native speakers (we’re the experts, as Marviq has offices in both Poland and The Netherlands) – you’ve been given a great opportunity and it’s up to you on how you handle it. Just take it easy. It’s very easy to burn out when you’re coding eight hours a day for ten years, so don’t be afraid to mix it up a little sometimes. Do you want to code eight hours a day, but on a beach? You can! (not recommended though, the sand gets everywhere). Maybe don’t even code at all for a day? That’s also possible, by transitioning to the role of a project manager, solution architect or coach!
You may come to a point where coding stops being interesting for you and you want to do a complete 180 to become a heavy metal vegetable farmer. Please do that, because that’s great and I’m happy for you. The skills and the way of thinking that you’ve gained throughout your career will definitely come in handy.
Some words of closure
No matter where you end up, this will be a very exciting journey. Just be sure that you stay healthy, get treated well and have fun! We at Marviq do treat people well and have fun, so if I did not mention that before, take a look at our Career page. Hopefully, our paths will cross at some point, like those streams in the Ghostbusters movies. Take care!