Learn how to code in school. Learn what to do next with Beyond Coding.
“I have a question,” said one student from the back of the room. “Sometimes when I see job descriptions for software developer jobs, they list out a lot of different languages that you need to know for that job. Most of the time, I know one or two, but not all of them, so then I just don’t apply. Is that right? Should I still apply anyway?”
Hearing this question at last night’s Beyond Coding workshop event almost broke my heart.
As many of us who have spent time in the tech industry know, the so-called “requirements” on job descriptions are often perceived more as idealized guidelines than mandatory must-haves. But if you’ve never had a job in the industry, how would you know that? And so, like one student so bravely expressed in front of a room of 80 of his peers, you don’t risk it. Instead, you opt yourself out and don’t apply at all.
“It may be feel counterintuitive,” began one of our panelists, “but you should apply anyway. That’s not to say that you should lie on your application. Of course it’s very important to be honest about what you don’t know. But many times in job applications, recruiters and hiring managers are looking for other things — like problem solving skills or proof that you can learn. If you can show that, it may not matter that you don’t yet know their main programming language.”
The sentiment was echoed by two other panelists — both at different stages in their own technical careers.
This is the type of real-talk advice that you can only get from people who have been there, done that. As a new entrant to any industry, it’s invaluable to have access to people already on the inside who can help you navigate the unspoken quirks and expose pathways that you may not see yourself.
But what if you don’t yet know anyone working as a software developer professionally? What if you’re studying computer science in school but have never been inside of a tech company? How can you break through and stand out if you don’t know what it takes to join the club?
This is the kind of candid guidance that we hope to provide with Beyond Coding, a real-talk professional skills program for aspiring software developers in NYC. Now in its fourth year, tech company insiders who have “been there, done that” teach 100 students from CUNY colleges across the city how to get and excel in coding jobs.
A self-taught engineer at Stack Overflow teaches students how to understand their own learning styles, recruiters at Meetup offer an inside look at how they review resumes and vet candidates, and two engineering colleagues, one at Foursquare and one at Google, teach how a programmer isn’t just about your coding skills, but about how well you communicate at work.
At the end of the program, we hope that students come away from their summer internships with a little bit more confidence, exposure, and know-how that will help them both snag the first full-time job they want — then succeed in the industry for years to come.