Finding work in the middle of a global pandemic is nothing short of overwhelming.
Founded in NYC’s Flatiron District, Flatiron School was among the first coding bootcamps of the early 2010s to make tech training more accessible through accelerated programs. Today it has campuses in 10 cities, including D.C., and is Course Report’s #1 ranked bootcamp. With its immersive 15-week programs in software engineering, data science and cybersecurity, followed by dedicated one-on-one career coaching, Flatiron School’s D.C. campus has a track record of placing 100% of its students (which was 48 at the time of this 2019 report) in jobs with an average starting salary of $71,582.
“I started working with my career coach in January, right after graduation,” said Mary Beliveau, a 2019 Flatiron School software engineering graduate. “My coach helped me revise my resume and prepare for interviews. By early February, I’d received multiple job offers by attending Flatiron School’s quarterly career fair and started a job by March. Having my coach as a guide and sounding board throughout the process was invaluable.”
In the spirit of giving back during this difficult time, Flatiron School recently launched a free online resource called “How to Land a Tech Job: The Complete Curriculum.” The same career prep curriculum as its IRL program, the guide includes over five hours of helpful information, resources, articles, templates and videos to help you successfully perform your job search.
We sat down with Jolie Brown, senior career coach at Flatiron School, to give readers a taste of what’s included. Here are four of the most important things a job seeker must do to secure a tech gig in today’s climate.
Right now, platforms like GitHub, LinkedIn and Twitter are being flooded by people actively looking for jobs. It’s time to go beyond simply having a social presence, and make your presence known.
- Try a new approach to outreach, like sending an engaging video message to hiring managers instead of a standard letter.
- Lead with an offer. Provide a part of your services for free to get in the door, or propose doing pro bono work for small companies in need of support during these challenging times.
- Tell your story. Paint a strong picture of who you are and what makes you different. Why are you passionate about what you’re doing? Why are you making a career pivot to tech? What skill sets do you bring to the table?
- Refresh your profiles often. Continually post articles, blogs and projects so that your name becomes familiar and your posts land at the top of hiring managers’ newsfeeds.
For anyone that dreads it, remember, networking is just a fancy word for conversation. Try not to think of it as “selling yourself,” but making human-to-human connection. After all, people get hired by people.
- Do your research. Before you reach out, do some digging into who you’re messaging to ensure your note feels relevant and personal. Also, of course, research the company you’re applying to — its mission, values, work — and incorporate that knowledge into your message, as well.
- Listen. At Zoom or IRL events, it’s important to be a good listener. Start small: Walk up to a few people, listen to their stories, and wait to find an opening where you can make a meaningful contribution to the conversation.
- Get those deets. Most importantly, always get people’s contact information before you leave and follow up with an email or LinkedIn message so you can continue the conversation. You never know where a connection will lead.
When all of the usual steps aren’t working, it’s time to step outside the box. Think of ways to use your skills and knowledge to show hiring managers what you’re made of.
One student Brown coached wasn’t gaining momentum in her job search, so she started a podcast and included it in her outreach. Another student rolled up his sleeves and reached out to 10 data scientists a day, sharing his best work, until he finally got an offer.
- Be flexible, open-minded and creative in your job search.
- Consider applying for locations, industries, or freelance roles you might not have before.
- Be proactive. Hiring managers get busy (possibly from covering for the very role they’re trying to fill) and may unintentionally put things on pause. Get back on their radar and remind them of your value to the company.
- Always follow up after an interview. It’s not nagging, it’s taking initiative and reiterating your passion for the job.
Never stop learning. In an ever-changing industry like technology, it’s especially important to continue learning so that you stay current. Even in the midst of looking for a job, keep your skills sharp through volunteer, pro-bono or project-based work.
Craving more? Get Flatiron School’s free resource, “How to Land a Tech Job: The Complete Curriculum” for more tips and tricks to optimize your job search and become a “no-brainer hire.”
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At the most basic level, having a career coach is like having a brand awareness team, said Rachel Bitte, chief people officer at Jobvite.
“These professionals understand how to pinpoint the best aspects of your professional experience and market it in the most attractive way possible to potential employers,” said Bitte. “They’re well versed in crafting resumes, career planning, motivation techniques and, most importantly, network building.”
Vicki Salemi, a Monster career expert, said career coaches usually have extensive work experience in recruiting and/or human resources.
“They can help you with a variety of tasks,” she said. “For example, with my clients, we look at long-term dream careers, what they currently do and how their next job can lead them closer to their dream job.”
Coaches also ensure accountability to keep the job seeker on track and moving toward their next role, Salemi added.
How to find a career coach
The best way to find a career coach is through word of mouth and referrals from friends, but you can also find great coaches online, such as through LinkedIn.
“A career coach is not always easy to find,” said Bitte. “A referral would be [best] … but that’s not always an option. So, you’ll need to do some homework and dig through Google and social media to identify someone you can trust with your professional wellbeing.”
Lauren McAdams, career advisor and hiring manager at Resume Companion, said it’s a major red flag if a career coach asks for a large upfront fee.
“Always pay by the hour for a career consultant’s time,” she said. “This ensures that you aren’t locked into a potentially underwhelming service long-term and protects you from by a fly-by-night operation.”
While a career coach is beneficial to anyone looking for career help, some people may not be able to afford one. If you can’t, you can become your own with a little discipline and direction.
“By applying some simple tactics such as taking stock of where you [are], seeking feedback from a group of confidants and holding yourself accountable, you can figure out your goals and lay out your own roadmap to make them happen,” said Bitte.
How much does it cost to hire a career coach?
Similar to the fees many professionals charge, the cost of hiring a career coach varies depending on the coach’s experience and credentials, field of specialty, success rate, and the location of their practice. A career coach who has published a book on their subject of expertise or is well known and respected in their field will be able to charge more than a coach who is not considered an expert. Career coaches who are in high demand or work in cutthroat fields may also charge more.
Generally, career coaches charge $75 to $150 per hour. More in-demand career coaching services can run from $250 to $500 or more. When you’re choosing a career coach, the bargain option may not be the best option. Ask the coach if you can talk to their former clients before you agree to fork over any major cash.
What kind of training do career coaches have?
Most career coaches don’t hold a specific career coaching certification. Instead, most have become experts in their field and decided to market their skills to help the next generation enter careers they’re passionate about.
While some schools offer career coaching or career counseling certificate programs, such a certification is not indicative of a career coach’s quality. Their resume, expertise, and the word of their references are much more valuable tools to measure the quality of a career coach than any certification.
What are the pros and cons of hiring a career coach?
If you’re thinking about hiring a career coach, bear in mind that not all coaches are what they seem. Although there are many reputable coaches out there who can help you with a career change, interview preparation, resume rewrite and more, career coaching can be rife with scams. Many career coaches have little to no experience in the field they claim to be experts in. Look into a coach’s background and make sure you can talk to past clients independently before giving any so-called career coach money. An even better idea is to ask your friends if they have used a career coach. You can choose a legitimate coach based on their recommendations.
When you find the right career coach for you, your investment of a few hundred dollars will more than pay off in the long run. Career coaches can help you land the job you’ve always wanted, get a promotion or even start your own business. Their expertise and unbiased attention will help you get the results you’ve been hoping for, often in a fraction of the time it would have taken if you’d continued making mistakes on your own. That is the biggest pro of hiring a career coach: They help you learn from someone else’s mistakes. Sometimes they were the one who made those mistakes, and they figured out how to get past them.
How do you prepare for a career coaching session?
After you have found the best career coach for you, ask them what you should do to prepare for a session with them. Every career coach is different. Some will want you to come prepared with questions. Others will want you to bring tangible materials, such as your resume or a list of your career goals.
If your career coach lets you take the wheel and determine what you do in your session, imagine your desired outcomes from that session and your relationship with the career coach overall. Write these outcomes down, and then figure out what you have been missing that’s kept you from achieving those outcomes on your own. If you don’t know what you’ve been missing, ask your career coach for help during the session.
You probably spend at least 50% of your waking hours at work, going to work, or thinking about work.
Joy Chen became a star for telling young Chinese women to ignore their mothers’ advice. The best-selling author says many face fierce family pressure to get married young instead of pursuing careers. Photo/Video: Daniel Epstein and Sharon Shi
the fact that a worker’s wealth and well-being is much more dependent upon her employer than the employer is on a given worker tilts things in the employer’s favor.
.. Two trends demonstrate the decline of labor and the ascent of business. Since 1979, after-tax corporate profits as a share of gross domestic product have grown by 22.8 percent, while the share of nonfarm business sector income going to labor has dropped by 10.3 percent.
The decline in worker bargaining power in the United States is the cumulative effect of numerous small and large changes over recent decades reaching into almost every area of law and policy. This combines with a decline in the enforcement of existing laws that could protect workers’ bargaining power — laws protecting unions, laws against wage theft, nondiscrimination laws, and more.
.. Among these changes is the requirement that employees sign what are known as “noncompete” and “no-raid” agreements, both of which restrict workers’ ability to extract pay hikes by threatening to take similar jobs at competing companies.
.. “less than half of workers who have non-competes also report possessing trade secrets.”
When entry-level workers at fast food restaurants are asked to sign two-year non-competes, it becomes less plausible that trade secrets are always the primary motivation for such agreements.
.. The treasury report estimated that 30 million American workers have signed noncompete agreements.
.. 94 percent of the net employment growth in the U.S. economy from 2005 to 2015 appears to have occurred in alternative work arrangements.
The growing emphasis on “shareholder value” has provided additional justification for all of these anti-worker developments.
.. “the shareholder value movement starting in the late 1980s and now institutionalized through industry analysts” was crucially important in the devaluation of employees:
.. Accounting in business is mainly about costs. Finance people hate fixed costs because of the challenges they raise to share price valuation when there is uncertainty, and the biggest fixed costs are labor. Simply moving the same labor costs from employees to outside staffing companies moves it from one part of the accounting ledger to another and makes analysts happier.
This mentality, in turn, encourages “the use of temps and contractors” to fill high-wage jobs because “that way the employer doesn’t have to raise wages for all their employees.”
.. Companies could outsource work to areas with cheaper labor and less of a union presence. This both weakened the union and ramped up competitive pressure on the companies that were unionized. The result was fewer unions.
.. In 2017, 6.5 percent of the private sector work force was unionized, down from 35 percent in 1955.
.. The contemporary weakness of organized labor and the threatened status of employees has roots in the breakdown in the 1970s of the postwar capital-labor accord — what A.H. Raskin, the legendary labor reporter for The Times, called a “live-and-let-live relationship” that held sway for 30 years.
.. First, they would alter antitrust enforcement to require consideration of the likely effect of mergers on concentration in the labor market, in order to prevent “too high a risk of wage suppression.”
.. Second, Krueger and Posner would support legislation making noncompete agreements “uniformly unenforceable and banned if they govern a worker who earns less than the median wage in her state.”
.. ban no-poaching arrangements altogether:
We propose a per se rule against no-poaching agreements regardless of whether they are used outside or within franchises. In other words, no-poaching agreements would be considered illegal regardless of the circumstances of their use.
.. In the 2016 election, Trump profited from the conviction of rural and working-class voters that they were on a downward trajectory. If anything, Trump appears to be gambling that letting those voters’ lives continue to languish will work to his advantage in 2020.
.. His administration has turned the executive branch, the federal courts and the regulatory agencies into the sworn enemy of workers, organized and unorganized. Trump is indisputably indifferent to the plight of anyone in the bottom half of the income distribution:
- look at his appointments,
- look at his record in office,
- look back at his business career and
- look at the man himself.
I have become extremely concerned that many people who work in the Bay Area—or who work for companies based in the Bay Area—have, in the large, forgotten that their users are fellow human beings. I am turning more and more to the belief that _everyone_ in a company needs to have some unfiltered interaction with the company’s users on a regular basis.
Separating out the support process (to automation, to contractors, etc.) makes it easy to forget you’re not writing code to serve robots, you’re writing code to serve people.
gambiting 11 hours ago [-]
I work for a large games company(as a programmer) and recently visited our customer support centre – man, it really hit hard realizing how much impact our product has on people, and how shielded you can be as a programmer from this impact. They played some calls for us, where people weren’t even upset that our game wasn’t working or the servers were down – they were just sad, they were at a difficult moment in their lives and our games would cheer them up, or they took a day off work to play, or they were ill and playing multiplayer with their friends was a highlight of their day – it just made me realize that if we break something, people care, and not just in a “I paid my money I want my game!!!” kind of way. As a programmer you work through your list of tasks and go home, especially in large companies the impact of what you do is hiding behind layers of customer support, community managers etc, where if it filters down to you it’s already been diluted to a sterile bug description at best.
One of the sad side-effects of moving upwards in the programmer career path can be the loss of direct contact with system users. It was greatly gratifying to sit beside users in the office where I started to develop, to see what their actual needs were and to be able to provide solutions.
As part of a larger team of programmers one is shielded from those situations, and explicitly not allowed to make those decisions. It can probably not be any other way, but something is lost in translation.
blasdel 1 hour ago [-]
For better or worse the opposite happens at AWS
The upper parts of the developer career path as an individual contributor have more direct contact with system users
TAForObvReasons 3 hours ago [-]
I think it’s possible to move up and still maintain empathy. The problem is the Silicon Valley mentality captured by the expression “move fast and break things”. This frees you to disregard externalities and do what you want. As a result of that mentality, you actively try to forget the people on the other side. And “things” slowly expands to include everything from laws to social norms to human life.
I sat down to make a list of companies I might like to join, and let me tell you, it was overwhelmingly un-fun. I can’t think of a better way to describe it. It was the antithesis of fun.
I wanted to know about who I’d be working with, what my day-to-day would look like, and whether my values aligned with those of the engineering team. But careers pages and job descriptions were so unhelpful.
I got on the phone with several recruiters, and none of them could tell me if engineers were involved in shaping the product roadmap, or whether they favored speed or perfection when it came to shipping code. It suddenly made sense why so many engineers join companies where they already know someone.