All posts by hotskillspaybills

Why Does My Resume Need to be in Microsoft Word?

There are two kinds of recruiters and they ask for your resume in Microsft Word for two separate reasons:

  • One kind of recruiter works for an outside agency that gets paid by a client to find candidates for a particular position. This recruiter gets paid only when the position is filled. This type of recruiter may take off your contact information and send the resume to the client. This is to make sure the client doesn’t contact you directly. The recruiter wants to make sure he/she gets paid! That’s why these outside recruitment firms prefer an editable Word document.
  • The other recruiter works within a company, and is typically using an applicant tracking systems (ATS). These systems often don’t do well understanding the PDF format. If you submit your resume in Microsoft Word, the system lets the recruiter search your resume for keywords, and view them easily.

AVOID:

Presenting your work experience section in columns, or creating fancy text boxes and graphics and non-standard fonts.

Taleo and other ATS systems may mangle it so it may actually look hideous.

  • Bullet points are fine.
  • Don’t take your margins all the way to the edge. Leave some white space.

PRO TIP:

When you save the file, do File…Save As… Then from File Format dropdown, select Word 97-2004 Document (.doc)

This makes your resume “backward compatible” so if a recruiter is using an older version of Word, it still works.

How to Save a Word File, File, Save As...

 

ACTION STEP:

If your resume is not in Microsoft Word right now, take a few minutes to create a simply formatted Word doc.

Best of luck!

photo representing resume going down a black hole

How to 10x Your Job Prospects on ZipRecruiter and Indeed

Doesn’t it sometimes feel like your resume has gone down a black hole?

You spend all this time perfecting it, writing a cover letter tailored to the job posting, and then no response.

It can be so depressing… that’s why I wanted to shed some light on what happens on the other end.

A recruiter friend told me she was getting ready to sift through candidate applications. She recently posted a job on online job websites.

I brought pizza and went to her office to watch over her shoulder as she navigated the Recruiter’s version of ZipRecruiter and Indeed, two of the biggest job boards on the Internet.

What I learned was eye-opening:

  1. The first page of your resume is almost always the only thing she can view on the default screen when she clicks on your submission.
  2.  Her eyes went right to the work experience and she quickly scanned if the candidate had relevant accomplishments to the position she was hiring for.
  3. She gave each resume less than 2-3 seconds and if she saw a typo or a bad grammar, she didn’t even bother with the resume.

Here’s how she explained her process to me:

A posting on Indeed or ZipRecruiter can generate 100 – 500 resumes very quickly. I can only schedule 5-10 interviews so the hiring manager can make a final decision. That means I have to be very quick about identifying the right applicants. I’m typically hiring for 20 positions so I don’t have time to spend a whole day sifting through resumes.

Man playing chess

Source: Pexels

Here are some of the things she noticed on the resumes as we scrolled through them:

See this candidate here? He’s worked at this well known consulting firm. I know this is a good thing because I’ve hired others from this company before – they have an excellent training program and they only hire top-notch people. He will be a great candidate for us to consider.

This other candidate, she’s got a military background, and for this position, I need someone who has a very strong work ethic so I will shortlist her as well.

 

PRO TIP:

Nail the experience section of your website especially if you’re submitting it for jobs via Indeed and ZipRecruiter.

Action Step:

What is one improvement you can make to your resume based on this post? Send me a note as a way to hold yourself accountable for taking action:

Laptop with Charts on the Screen

The One Certification That Every New Digital Marketer Should Get

I tell all my students: if you want a job in digital marketing, get a Google Analytics Certification.  It will get you job interviews, it will get you a higher starting salary, and you can use it to start making money as a freelancer right away. (this is great if you have student debt that you need to pay back or just want some extra income).

Getting Google Analytics Certified can be a gamechanger whether you’re already in the marketing field and want to earn more OR you want to get paid to do digital marketing.

What is Google Analytics Certification for Individuals? https://support.google.com/partners/answer/6089738?hl=en

The Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) test is a certification that will help anyone who wants a career in digital marketing get an edge. It helps you see who’s coming to a website, which devices they use (desktop/mobile) and how they navigate through the site. It helps you measure the performance of your website so you can improve it.

The Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) is a demonstration of proficiency in Google Analytics that is available to any individual who has passed the Google Analytics assessment. Qualified users will be effective at leveraging Google Analytics within their organizations and at helping others to do the same. You can earn the certification through Academy for Ads, Google’s online training program.

Google Analytics Logo

Source: Wikimedia

When I meet students graduating with a Marketing degree, and they tell me they don’t have Google Analytics certification, I’m horrified.

Then they wonder why they aren’t getting hired at the top digital marketing agencies in town.

For certain job titles, you need this certification or your resume goes into the trash heap.

Would you swim with both hands tied behind your back wearing a hula skirt?

Surprised Look

Source: Pexels

Nope. Didn’t think so.

Then why would you try to get into digital marketing without a Google Analytics certification?

Here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions I get:

  • Is Google Analytics Certification worth it?

If you want a career in marketing, website development or management, the answer is YES.

  • Is Google Analytics Certification Free?

YES! It’s free. It used to be $50 but now it’s completely FREE.

  • Is Google Analytics Certification hard? 

Not really but if you have no background in marketing or website development, I guess it could be. The best thing to do to figure out if you enjoy it is to go through the free course (see below) and decide for yourself.

  • How long does it take to study for the test?

It really depends. If you’ve used Google Analytics in the past, you may be able to ace the exam after studying a couple of days.

But I’d reserve 5-7 days to be on the safe side if you have some experience using it.

If you’re starting from scratch, I would study for 3-4 weeks before taking the test if you’re only studying for it a few hours per week.

  • Can’t I just wait till I join a company and then go through certification?

Google does have a program for certified partners and many digital marketing agencies train their employees and get them certified. So you could wait and let your future employer train you but why would you intentionally lower your current market value?

Follow this step-by-step guide to get your Google Analytics Certification:

  1. Start with this course by Google, it will teach you everything you need to know about Google Analytics: https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/ What I love about it, is it’s free and it’s by staff experts so you know it’s up-to-date and “right from the horse’s mouth!” I also recommend checking out these videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/googleanalytics (binge-watch instead of your favorite show on NetFlix!). One of the most valuable parts of Google’s Analytical Suite is Google Tag Manager. Many SEO experts use it, and it’s really good to deep dive into it before you sit for the test. Here’s where you can learn about Google Tag Manager: https://developers.google.com/tag-manager/
  2. Take some practice tests. Here’s a site that has some practice tests: http://www.googleanalyticstest.com/
  3.  When you’re ready, go to this website to sign up: You can earn the certification through Academy for Ads, Google’s online training program.
     (you’ll be signing up as an individual, not an agency, so follow the instructions on how to do that).

PRO TIP #1: Once you get certified, don’t forget to download your certificate and add your new certification to your LinkedIn Profile and also your resume. It’s definitely a keyword that recruiters and HR managers use to find qualified candidates.

Remember not to violate Google’s terms of service:

“Your individual qualification demonstrates basic proficiency in Google Analytics. Please note that creating or displaying a Google Analytics IQ badge is a violation of Google’s branding policies and may infringe Google’s trademark rights. Your qualification may be revoked if you create or display a badge. Any member of Partners can earn a Google Analytics individual qualification. Once you’ve passed the Google Analytics IQ assessment, you can demonstrate your achievement with a personalized certificate issued by Google.”

PRO TIP #2: It will help if you are managing a website so you can practice what you’re learning. If you aren’t currently managing a business website, create your own or volunteer to help a nonprofit.

Having something concrete to apply your skills on will make *all* the difference. Plus you’ll have a case study you can present in job interviews to showcase what you’ve learned.

You can even create a small blog to document what you’re learning as you study for the Google Analytics Certification test, to help future test-takers!

Next Steps: 

If you’ve decided to make a commitment to do this certification, comment below and I’ll hold you to it! For example, “I promise to complete my Google Analytics Certification by x date.” It’s a promise with yourself, but once you send it to me, it will feel real!

Home Living Room Interior, Cozy and Welcoming

Don’t Accept a Job Offer in a New City Unless You Do This!

Even if you’re getting a better title or job description, it may simply not add up financially to a promotion in real terms when you calculate housing costs.

Photo of a home in Appleton WI where housing is affordable

Source: Trulia (https://www.trulia.com/p/wi/appleton/n399-red-tail-ln-appleton-wi-54915–2191255800)

This is what $235,000 buys you in Jersey City:

Photo of condo in Jersey City.

 

 Source: Trulia (https://www.trulia.com/p/nj/jersey-city/169-randolph-ave-jersey-city-nj-07305–2006397262)

Here’s a shocking fact: 

In LA, single-family homes easily cost upwards of two million dollars in good neighborhoods. In San Francisco? For $235,000, you may only get a very depressing mold and mildew infested condo (maybe not even that).

Here’s what I recommend you do before you sign the contract to move bag and baggage to a new city:

  1. Go to Trulia, Realtor.com or Zillow and enter your budget for a home. If you’re renting, check rental websites.
  2. Make sure you find a comparable home to the one you’re in right now.
  3. Compare apples-to-apples what the cost of mortgage/rent is going to be in your new city.
  4. Then decide if the job offer is sufficient to cover your costs.

BONUS TIP: Speak to a local realtor or friends (ask on Facebook) which neighborhoods are good, and which school districts are good. This will affect your resale value.

Rent/Mortgage is typically the biggest chunk of your paycheck so it’s important to do this calculation first.

I know it’s easy to get excited about a fancy title or a brand name company but if you don’t like your home, you may regret your decision later.

Let me know how your research goes: 

 

 

Cat looking surprised

7 Deadly Mistakes That Land Your Resume in the Trash Heap

Don’t want your resume to end up in the recycling bin?

Avoid these seven deadly mistakes.

They make recruiters want to punch their computer screens.

If you’re looking for a job, that’s not the reaction you want!

Photo of a resume, desk, laptop.

Source: Pexels

  1. Don’t use illustrations, charts or graphs. Here’s the deal: most job sites make your resume searchable so either the image disappears (making your resume look weird) or causes an error. Creative resumes are great when you’re meeting a potential employer in person. Otherwise, AVOID. See the SKILLS section in the picture above? Looks awesome, right? Don’t do it.
  2. Don’t use fancy, unreadable fonts. I see this a lot with designers and creative folks. If you use a fancy font that’s not standard, it’s likely that your resume will get scanned but not read. Keep it simple: your audience wants to know what you’ve accomplished, not whether you have good taste in fonts. Keep it Simple.
  3. Don’t add your photo to your resume. You think it makes you stand out from the competition. Sometimes it can cause someone to judge you based on your looks, not on your skills. The exception to this is if you are applying to be an actor or performer.
  4. Don’t put your education before your experience section. The only exception to this rule is if you’re still in college. Even then, I’m hoping you have worked in the summer or as a teaching assistant. Employers first want to know what you can do for them. Anyone can sit in a classroom and attend a lecture. Show them how you’ve applied your knowledge, skills, and expertise to get results.
  5. Don’t use passive words or passive voice. Use active verbs so the person reading your resume senses you get things done, you get results, and you make things happen. The best way to check this is to read out your resume like an actor reading lines on stage, and see if it feels energetic.
  6. Don’t take credit for everything. While you want to talk about your accomplishments, you want to do it in a way that shows you are a team player. The person reading your resume is judging that too.
  7. Don’t go on about your volunteering and personal interests. I recently saw a resume that had a longer section about a candidate’s volunteering work than her experience. While you may be very active in your community (and that’s great), only mention a few things you do outside of work. For example, “Organized the Special Olympics Gala and helped raise over $20,000 in donations” or “Cooked 244 meals at 6 local homeless shelters over 10 years”. This shows your skills — in a different context, and it’s impressive!

 

Best of luck – and remember if you have questions, ask below. 

Lightbulb and thought bubble

Freelancer or Employee: Which One Is Right For You?

If you’re wondering if you should start your own freelancing business or work full-time, you’re not alone.

The other day, I went to Reddit (a community discussion board) and saw this exchange between two members:

LanceThunder:

Having a steady job with my current employer feels a lot more like being a part of a family to me…they look out for me and make sure i am doing alright. for me personally, I am way happier with a steady job.

permalinkembedsaveparent:

3 years into freelancing and I’ll never go back.

Pensive Man thinking in black and white

Maybe you’re… 

  • In the corporate world, but you’re tired of your job. You want to be your own boss.
  • Or you’ve been freelancing but you’re not sure you made the right decision.

Making a career transition is scary.  So many questions bubble up:

  • Is the timing right?
  • Is it the right choice for my family?
  • How does it affect my income?
  • Will it hurt my long-term career prospects?

Life’s too short to be stuck in indecision.

The best thing to do is to figure out which one suits your personality. I highly recommend Gretchen Rubin’s test:

Here’s a link to the test:

https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4232520/gretchenrubinfourtendenciesquiz

  • If you’re a rebel, you may do better as an entrepreneur/freelancer. Rebels resist all expectations (they can do anything they choose to do but they resist others telling them what to do)
  • If you’re an obliger, a job is probably a better fit. You will struggle to be an entrepreneur.
  • For questioners, it really depends – it could go either way! If you take a job, you’ll need a boss you respect or you’ll struggle.
  • If you’re an upholder, you could go either way.

So which one are you?

Do the test and report back your results on the form below.

How to Get Hired in a New Industry (Even if You Have No Relevant Experience)

Applying for a job in a new industry where you don’t have any relevant work experience? 

I see you staring at your resume, worried how to make it stand out when other candidates have an edge on you. They have more experience.

Here’s a little secret: recruiters value work experience in the field, but they are also looking for someone with initiative.

Can you show them you have initiative?

Turn your lack of industry experience from a negative into a positive!

Here’s what I recommend to clients: Make your journey to learn this industry publicly available on the Internet. Share what you’re learning!

Nowadays you can find an online course on any topic imaginable. You can even find books, podcasts, and YouTube videos.

Step 1: Learn as much as you can.

Step 2: Create a blog about the industry, technology or skill you’re trying to break into.

By teaching what you are learning publicly, you’ll show hiring managers that you take initiative. They can see how you think, how you process information, and how you communicate.

Just do that ONE THING and you’ll be miles ahead of most of your peers. Even the ones who’ve worked in the industry!

  • Recruiters see that you learn fast, you’re self-directed, and you have a can-do attitude.
  • Hiring managers will see you as a creator, not a consumer of information.

Lots of people take courses. How many of them actually turn around and educate others on what they are learning?

– Hardly any.

Be that unicorn.

After consuming your content, your future employer should say, “Wow, even I learned something!”

You, as a newcomer sees their industry with new eyes. You bring new insights to the table.

Stand in that power and don’t apologize for it.

PRO TIP #1:

Don’t forget to distill what you’ve learned into a short bullet point for your resume. You can write about it in your cover letter too. This is a golden opportunity to share your perspective. Link to your blog or YouTube channel (or however you publish your content) so a recruiter can check it out to see more.

PRO TIP #2:

Find an influencer in the industry you’re trying to break into.  Tweet them to see if they’ll give you feedback on your content. (First retweet and comment on their content).

Get noticed and avoid getting lost in a sea of resumes. 

TURN YOUR NEGATIVE (Lack of Industry Experience) INTO A POSITIVE (Teaching You What I’m Learning Blog/Video Series/etc)!

Two people Shaking hands, sealing the deal.

Next Steps:

Send me a note! Let me know how you intend to make this idea your own and take action:

Front End Programmer, Java Sitting Facing the Computer - a woman with red hair.

Hot Skill: Front-End Development / Java

A front-end developer typically knows user experience design (also called UX Design). There is a lot of research into the psychology of human behavior on the design side of front-end development. In some companies, a designer will do that part, and then a front-end developer will turn that design into code. But I think it’s more fun when you can do both pieces of this puzzle. Seeing your design come to life in code is a beautiful experience.

You will spend a lot of time in CSS and HTML which are fairly easy to understand.  New technologies like React, SVG, etc, combined with incredible user experience and design skills will help you become an in-demand programmer.

Before you join a front-end development course, make sure it teaches the following sub-skills:

1. HTML/CSS

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the markup used to create web pages. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is used to design the document you create with HTML and make it look the way you want it to. This is the foundational skill without which you can’t become a front-end developer.

2. JavaScript/jQuery

Javascript determines the function of your web page or application.

It includes libraries like jQuery, that speed up JavaScript and make it easier to implement.

3. CSS and JavaScript Frameworks

When you have a collection of CSS and JavaScript files that give you a lot of shortcuts so you don’t have to write all the code from scratch, you call them frameworks. You’ll hear the terms Angular.js and Bootstrap, and that’s a good thing!

YOU CODE WEBSITES & APPS TO MAKE 'EM WELL-DESIGNED & EASY-TO-USE . You can earn between $30-40/hour when you're a newbie and $50-80/hour if you're experienced as a contractor. Salaries between $55,000 - $100,000+. Contract work and full-time positions both available. You're detailed-oriented, always learning & persistent. Self-paced online coding schools and bootcamps. Don't need a 4-year degree but you do need to work hard. Average salary is $88,000 but varies by skill level & geography. "Love seeing results of my work instantly." "Always evolving!" "Can work remotely." IS IT RIGHT FOR YOU? Do the quiz to see if this career path is right for you. Learn front-end development from one of our pre-approved certification partners. Join an accountability group because many start learning but don't finish. Don't be one of them!

computer engineer with headphones on looking at screen

10 Software Programming Languages in 2018: What You Need to Know

If you think becoming a software developer is your ticket to financial freedom, you’re not alone.

Code academies are sprouting everywhere, and promising students the moon.

But before you invest your precious cash, be a savvy consumer.

Know which are six-figure software development skills, and also where to learn them (if you stick with me till the end, I’ll point you to the legit coding schools that I trust.

#1: JAVASCRIPT & FRONT-END DEVELOPMENT SKILLS

There is a huge need in the job market today for highly skilled JavaScript programmers. But if you learn advanced JavaScript frameworks like Node.js, Backbone and Angular after you’ve become a Java pro, you can earn even more. If you’re the type of person who likes to constantly learn new things and stay on top of the latest innovations, you will earn much more than others who let their skills stagnate. This is a fast-moving field, so be prepared to be updating your skills as technology changes. The average salary for a Java programmer is $88,000, and there is a possibility of working from home or remotely in many cases. Tech companies tend to be more flexible about timings. You can also get hired as a consultant if you desire more flexibility.

Source: Flickr

#2: .NET

There are many companies using .net pioneered by Microsoft. .NET Framework is a software framework developed by Microsoft that runs primarily on Microsoft Windows.Both Java and .NET languages are based on a computer language called C though, so switching between them is easy and there are many other languages based on C out there.

You can’t go wrong with either but right now, Java programmers are in higher demand. .NET experts earn around $74,000 per year on average.

To be completely honest, if you want to master programming, it’s good to know multiple languages. Most CTOs hire employees who can solve problems, communicate and collaborate well. When you show up, do you bring your best self to work? That work ethic is as important as your programming skills.

#3: PYTHON

Web applications contain frontend code and backend code that a database can easily recognize. Python is one of these back-end languages used for general-purpose programming. A Python developer earns an average of US$103,492 but keep in mind that when you know Python, you also know a lot of other software development languages.

#4: RUBY ON RAILS

Learning to build a modern web application using Ruby on Rails makes it much easier and more fun. Rails, is a server-side web application framework written in Ruby and provides default structures for a database, a web service, and web pages. Ruby on Rails developers earn an average of US$108,065 but there are around 2700 jobs available nationwide (versus 7700 Python jobs).

#5: PHP

This is a server-side scripting language designed for web development but also used as a general-purpose programming language. It is free, open source and server-side (the code is executed on the server).

#6:AMAZON WEB SERVICES DEVELOPER

The national average salary for a Junior Devops Engineer is $106,095 in United States. You serve as the link between development and IT operations. The AWS Certified DevOps Engineer sets up, operates, and manages distributed application systems on the AWS platform. Amazon offers a certification for this skill here: https://aws.amazon.com/certification/certified-developer-associate/ These jobs pay upward of $100,000 if you have the certification, and in some areas, as high as $150,000.

#7: CYBERSECURITY

A cybersecurity professional has the knowledge and skills to defend computer operating systems, networks and data from cyber attacks. This field is in high demand right now because of the number of virus and malware attacks and the risk to corporations. Entry-level positions pay $67,000 but your salary can go up to $90,000 once you gain experience.

#8: HADOOP

Hadoop is an open source, Java-based programming framework that helps processing and storage of very large data sets in a distributed computing environment. You can learn more here: http://hadoop.apache.org/

 

#9: VIRTUALIZATION (SDN or NFV)

Virtualization is technology that allows you to create multiple simulated environments or dedicated resources from a single, physical hardware system. Network functions virtualization (also Network function virtualization or NFV) is a network architecture concept that uses the technologies of IT virtualization to virtualize entire classes of network node functions into building blocks that may connect, or chain together, to create communication services. Software-defined networking (SDN) is an umbrella term encompassing several kinds of network technology aimed at making the network as agile and flexible as the virtualized server and storage infrastructure of the modern data center. (via Wikipedia).

#10: LEGACY COMPUTING SKILLS

I know this will be counter to what most people would say, but if you know how to use legacy programming systems or know your way around mainframes, many big companies will happily hire you. However, keep in mind, that eventually these legacy languages will be phased out and you should learn other programming languages that are more current as well. AS400, Delphi, Cobol, are legacy programming skills that are still used at major companies.

Still have questions? Send me a note and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction!

We are releasing our list of recommended coding academies soon. If you would like to be notified when we publish it, let me know below (write CODE ACADEMY in the comments).

10 Software Careers Myths: What if Coding is Right For You?

So if you’ve heard all the hype about software programming jobs and you’re wondering, is this career path right for me… I wrote this post for you. Let’s separate fact from fiction and get real.

MYTH #1: TECH CAREERS ARE ONLY FOR YOUNG WEALTHY WHITE MALES 
When most people think of software programmers, they have a mental picture of a dude in a torn t-shirt and sandals eating ramen noodles – a young Mark Zuckerberg.
Photo of Mark Zuckerberg

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Newsflash! The tech world is changing.

The software industry is trying to become more diverse in terms of age, race, gender, and backgrounds.

There’s a real push to hire people who bring different perspectives because companies believe it improves their products.

In fact, if you are a woman or a minority, finally, the scales may be tipping in the other direction!

 

MYTH #2: YOU NEED A SOFTWARE ENGINEERING / COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREE TO GET A JOB AS A PROGRAMMER

It used to be that you needed a 4-year college degree in software engineering. That’s not true anymore either. Now, many companies are open to hiring graduates of coding boot camps and online courses. What they look for is samples of your work products (the code you’ve written) so they can see your skills in action.

You’ve probably seen the headlines: artificial intelligence, virtual reality, the blockchain, voice technologies (like Alexa) are the next big technical innovations of our time.

If you are doing advanced research in one of these fields, you may need a computer science degree (Masters or Ph.D.). But for most entry-level to mid-level jobs, you don’t need advanced degrees. 

 

MYTH #3: ALL PROGRAMMERS EARN SIX FIGURES

Unfortunately, there is a lot of hype around careers in IT and software. I’m here to tell you that it’s not the “get-rich-quick” career path as some would lead you to believe. It’s hard work, and you have to really love it in order to excel at it and make the big bucks. There is a huge difference between an average programmer and an A+ programmer. 

 

MYTH #4: ANYONE CAN TEACH CODING

There are a lot of bogus coding schools that aren’t valued by employers and if you fall for their ads, you could end up paying thousands of dollars for an education that won’t get you a job.

That’s why we’ve put together this definitive guide to a career in software development so you can get connected with the coding academies (online and offline) that HR managers and recruiters respect. There’s something for every budget and every learning style. Some of us learn better face-to-face in the classroom, some of us work full-time and the only time we can learn is at night or early morning, and some of us already know we love programming and all we need is a little extra help when we get stuck. 

Send me a note (see the bottom of this page) and I’ll notify you when we release this guide.

 

MYTH #5: GETTING A JOB IS EASY

You may be able to get small freelance projects if you learn the basics of coding, but to get a high-paying software development job, you really need to have some advanced coding skills. When someone reads your code, they can tell where you are in terms of your skills! In addition to your resume, your code speaks volumes about your abilities.

Publish your work to GitHub, participate in forums like StackOverflow, write code during Hack-a-thons, and get noticed for your work. That’s the best way for employers to call you instead of you calling them.

 

MYTH #6: ALL CODING SKILLS ARE THE SAME

Actually, there are many kinds of programming languages you can learn. Make sure you choose the one that fits your talents, interests and lifestyle based on our tailor-made assessments for each type of programming skill (there are many sub-specialties like front-end programming, back-end programming, etc.)

 

MYTH #7: ALL SOFTWARE JOBS ARE IN SILICON VALLEY

Depending on where you are based and the number of tech companies in your area, there may be a variety of software jobs available. It is true that in Silicon Valley, highly experienced software programmers are constantly getting offers from Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. The top talent in the field earns $150,000 – $300,000 and often receive stock options and large sign-on bonuses. The best thing to do is to check your local market to see what skills are most valuable and what the average pay for those jobs are. You may be surprised with what you find out! 

 If you’re thinking of pursuing this career just for the money, you’re making a big mistake. You have to love coding to be really good at it.

 

MYTH #8: YOU HAVE TO WORK A 9-5 JOB IN AN OFFICE

man working on the beach

Wikimedia Commons

If you decide you want to work for yourself, you can offer up your services as a freelancer, and have the flexibility to work from anywhere. Software programming is one of the fields that makes it easier to have a laptop lifestyle and travel while still earning a great living. Many companies in the tech industry have remote workforces or allow their employees to be flexible about work hours.

 

MYTH #9: YOUR CAREER PATH IS LIMITED TO TECHNOLOGY

This is not true. You can move into a marketing, sales or product management role and even move into a leadership role (CEO, COO). It’s very hard for software companies to find sales executives with a technical understanding so they pay a lot more for this hybrid skill set. In fact, if you have a technical background, you are highly valued when you move into leadership roles.

MYTH #10: CODING SKILLS ARE EVERYTHING

Here’s a little secret though: most programmers (however gifted they may be in writing code) struggle to communicate and don’t have the best track record in working with cross-functional teams. They resist change and can be hard to deal with. You’ll hear marketing and product development teams groan, “IT’s refusing to build this feature – they say it will be six months before they can add it to the product roadmap!” Often it is a failure of communication so if you want your career to be like a rocket ship, learn soft skills: how to communicate, how to solve hard problems, and how to develop consensus and compromise in difficult situations.

 Along with coding skills, join Toastmasters and learn how to present, and do a course in conflict resolution. These skills may prove to be as valuable (if not more valuable) as your programming resume. Most of all, can you be goofy and sing karaoke? You will be different from all your peers and really stand out!

women doing karaoke

Flickr

 

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