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How Fresh Graduates Can Build A Tech Career

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by Nikhita Elizabeth Cyriac, Head of Talent Acquisition, ThoughtWorks

Encouraging and supporting a career in tech continues to be a key focus in Singapore, with the government announcing a $120m fund to prepare and develop Singapore talent for 30,000 new ICT jobs by 2020. Salaries in tech are also soaring, with high demand for individuals who can bring specific skillsets to the table.

Young millennials are often attracted to the unique start-up culture in tech companies, with the opportunity to pioneer inspiring innovations. A recent six-nation online survey revealed that Asia’s youth are ‘excited’ for future digital job prospects.

To help maintain the passion for technology-focused careers and keep Singapore strong in the sector, here are five tips for fresh graduates looking to build a tech career.

Build your public profiles.

The first step is always the hardest. Fresh graduates with little practical experience may struggle to showcase their competency to potential employers. Building a great resume is the starting point for every fresh graduate on the job hunt. However, tech employers are often looking beyond the traditional basic one-pager. For developers and designers, it is key to showcase their work and skills on platforms, such as LinkedIn, GitHub and Stack Overflow. Aspiring creatives can share their work or projects on open source platforms such as Behance or Dribble.

Keep learning.

Employers want to know that potential hires have a genuine passion for technology and a ceaseless drive to learn and improve. This is important as the tech industry moves incredibly fast with new domains, services, languages and infrastructure emerging constantly. A recent edition of the Technology Radar, a bi-yearly tech insights report from ThoughtWorks, identified conversational UI and natural language processing (NLP) as key skills to master. Keeping updated with the latest technology trends is essential in displaying a continuous willingness to learn and improve.

Network your passion.

Get involved, explore the local tech landscape and contribute to meetups, tech events or conferences. There’s a great variety of niche interest groups in Singapore, ranging from DevOps to Agile and Data Science. Networking with fellow tech enthusiasts will help you become better at building solutions that you can showcase to future employers. Additionally, some of the best professionals in the industry are also involved in these groups. Learning from them will help you achieve technical excellence and valuable mentorship early in your career.

Participating in hackathons or coding competitions will allow you to benchmark your skills against other developers. Often, coming together with other like-minded passionate developers will spark great ideas that may eventually become implemented as a viable product in your future organisation.

Adopt a pet project.

For those who prefer to take a more individualistic approach, adopting a personal pet project is a great way to fine-tune your tech skillset. This will also show employers what you’re capable of beyond just academics. Some of the best hires we’ve made over the years were individuals who might not have had the best grades, but were able to showcase interesting side projects and could speak passionately about it.

Embrace the right attitude.

Once you’ve secured the job, bring your best professional attitude to the workplace. Be prepared to do the work required to pursue early career growth, keeping in mind that some foundational ‘grunt work’ may be required in the form of simple coding or shadowing, take this time to master core skills and building your basics. Focus on becoming the best through continuous learning and the right opportunities will begin to open up for you.

For aspiring fresh graduates who want a leg up in the tech career, passion and a great attitude will get you far. Employers are essentially looking for fresh hires who displays an attitude that embraces continuous learning and resilience that can weather the ups-and-downs of a long-term tech career.

 

Nikhita Elizabeth Cyriac_Thoughtworks Head of Talent Acquisition

Nikhita Elizabeth Cyriac, Head of Talent Acquisition at ThoughtWorks has over 12 years of experience in talent acquisition across various well known multinational companies. She has experience building, developing and sustaining talent acquisition strategy and communication, with a heavy focus on building a digital portfolio. She is very passionate about contributing to the technology ecosystem in Singapore and actively works with young graduates, partners as well as technology communities to drive industry change.  


This is an article contributed to Young Upstarts and published or republished here with permission. All rights of this work belong to the authors named in the article above.

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