So you’re in college, and you know you want to have a career in tech. But you may not know where to start or how to stand out from the crowd when it’s time to start applying for jobs. Luckily, the pros at Revature say there are some things you can do now, while you’re still in college, to give yourself a head start on your tech career.
- Join or attend hackathons.
Hackathons are events, usually lasting 24-48 hours, where developers and others in the tech industry come together to build something new or solve a problem. Many hackathons have themes, and some even award prizes. Attending a hackathon is a great way to network with other people in the tech industry and learn new skills. You can find hackathons happening all over the country (and even internationally) by doing a quick Google search. Some notable hackathons include the HackU Competition (sponsored by The University of Utah) and THacks (held in Toronto).
- Get an internship in the tech field.
An internship is a great way to get your foot in the door of the tech industry. Many internships are paid, and some even turn into full-time job offers after graduation. To find an internship, start by searching online ( Indeed.com is a great resource) or contacting your school’s career center.
- Start networking now.
Attend meetups, join professional organizations related to your desired field, or go to conferences related to your interests within the tech industry. For example, if you’re interested in web development, try attending a conference like An Event Apart or SmashingConf. Not only will attending these events help you network with professionals already working in the tech field, but you’ll also gain valuable knowledge and skills that will help you in your future career endeavors.
- Keep learning new things.
The tech industry is always changing and evolving, so it’s important that you keep your skills up-to-date. A great way to do this is by taking online courses or even just reading articles related to your desired field. Some popular places to find articles and courses include Medium, Treehouse, and Lynda.
- Get involved with open-source projects.
Open source projects are collaborative projects where code is freely available to be used, edited, and shared by anyone. Getting involved with open-source projects is a great way to learn new skills, meet other developers, and build your portfolio. You can find open-source projects to contribute to by searching on GitHub or Bitbucket.
There are many things you can do now, while still in college, to give yourself a head start on your tech career! Joining or attending hackathons is a great way to network with other people in the tech industry and learn new skills; getting an internship is a great way to gain experience; networking now will help you meet people who could be valuable contacts later on and keep your skills up-to-date by taking courses and reading articles will make sure that you’re always marketable. So what are you waiting for? Start today!