26 Apr How to bridge the gap between studies and the IT industry?
How will you get your foot in the door of the IT industry? Whether you are yet to start your Tertiary studies, just started them or halfway through; it is quite hard to put your career in perspective and realise how far you have come and how much you have to go before you can enter the IT industry.
At Techtorium, we teach Computer Engineering and Software Development which can be very abstract subjects to comprehend and yet really vocational in nature. With this in mind, Techtorium Employment Pathways Team took a group of mixed students from secondary school, our Computer Engineering Diplomas Level 5 Diploma in IT Technical Support, Level 6 Diploma in Systems Administration and Level 7 Diploma in Cloud Management to visit the premises of visit Vocus Group, who run the Slingshot and Orcon.
Discover the corporate world
Paul – Slingshot Head Recruiter and Courtney – Induction Trainer, both provided a very warm welcome to Techtorium students who were so impressed to visit a modern Tech office for the first time.
They took our students on a tour of the building, which was an eye-opener. The premises include a pool table, an arcade game, cafe, gym rewards and a friendly atmosphere for everyone to fit in. The students were also able to spend some time shadowing the call-centre staff, learning how they resolve issues and serve customers in practice.
Paul and Courtney then put the students to the test by asking them to collaborate to build and then pitch a new ISP, as in the Dragon’s Den TV show. Leadership, creativity, organisation, time management, teamwork and presentation were all skills that were needed for this exercise, and this gave the students an opportunity to showcase their skills in front of potential employers.
Develop your soft skills
You would expect from a Tertiary provider to train you purely on the academic or technical skills related to the industry related to your studies.
If all your classmates gain the same skillset as you, how will you make a difference at a job interview? What is an employer looking for?
To answer those questions, Techtorium invited Ben Liebert, founder of Blackball Software and author of How to know if your software developer is trying to kill you, to present his expectations as an employer in front of Techtorium’s software development students
Ben discussed many of the technical skills that young developers need to be mindful of, however the main focus was on soft skills as something that will set them apart. First and foremost, developers need to have a passion for their craft as it shows through into everything that they do. The point was made that technical knowledge can be upskilled on the job, however the core skills of communication, teamwork etc. are much more difficult to develop. Developers need to know how to translate ‘geek speak’ for non-technical clients and also understand what those clients want and translate it into coding terms.
We then had a lengthy Q&A which ranged through topics such as Ben’s personal experiences in starting Blackball and developing resilience.
You can also gain soft skills in your personal life: if you have organised a fundraiser in your community you have shown organisation and leadership skills. If you have run a marathon and trained for months, you have shown resilience
To stay focused in your studies, we would recommend that:
- You approach the professionals of the industry you would like to join, either through your Tertiary provider, through your personal network, shadow or work experience programmes
- You use your hobbies, community and extracurricular activities to develop your soft skills.
From these experiences, our students came away with new perspectives on what it takes to succeed in their future careers. Thanks to Paul, Courtney and Ben for taking the time to contribute to the next generation of IT professionals.