career dev


I thought I would give a little feedback on each point referenced in an article (link here) of a tutorial at uni. In a sense what does it mean to me.

“Have fun and ask questions“
Look at your job creatively, search out opportunity and explore your passions.

“Accept the knowledge gap and be ready to learn“
The face of technology is constantly changing. Forget your ego. Keep pace with innovation and always be open to new ideas. Remain objective in how you view your skills and those fresh to the industry. Be a lifelong learner.

“Practice old-school networking“
Despite all our technology, face to face is still the highest bandwidth form of communication. Be inspired by the open source movement in software and adopt an open and helpful attitude to those around you from the office to the event.

“Build your own lab“
For a potential ml candidate this would mean building your own setup rather than just using a pre built solution in the cloud. From the article below, there is some great info and how to do something cutting edge or for older or used products you could build something useful – the key is to demonstrate enthusiasm and some problem solving skills.

“Participate and contribute”
Without yet being a bonafide programmer I’d be lying if I said I knew what this entails but I’m certainly aware and have an understanding of the open source movement. In fact today this appeared in a newsletter I receive, mentioned in the link (A16z) below, discussing the open source world. Incredible to think how things have flipped in a comparatively short time. This link ( to the AirBnB open source page was an enjoyable read.

“Develop problem-solving skills“
It’s a general piece of advice and a touch obvious if you ask me. The last thing we want to do is the opposite – stick to what we know or just repeat learned methods. From reading blogs about the interview process, first time job hunters often seem to receive the benefit of the doubt when working out white board problems. It’s the ability to think aloud, explore different options or skills that seem valuable.

“Don’t rush into projects”
This strikes a chord with me as someone who typically lacks patience and brings forward too many different ideas. A huge part of what I want to achieve at Noroff is more systematic thinking / process orientated – to be able to think like a valued engineer. I hadn’t heard of DMAIC before so that was an educating read.

“Sharpen customer service skills“
Personally I feel this is a strength and I’ve already see the skill payoff in other areas of life outside of work. In a software development scenario it clearly helps communication skills and teamwork.

“Get to know the sales team”
Again if you are coming from a purely educational or back-office type background it can be difficult to understand the nature of sales. In Norway, the articles suggested approach wouldn’t work I feel, but the meaning is correct yet again, you could say that in a healthy company this type of co-ordination would be automatic.

“Work on communication skills”
As with sales or customer service I feel its very easy to crudely term all of this as ‘soft’ skills. This group of skills can easily be seen as something ‘nice to have’ or as an associated skill set, especially if the candidate has a stand out skill. But perhaps selfishly, I would value it as a core must have. Some tech startups have received intense criticism for hiring their friends out of college but they argue it keeps the company culture aligned. Culture to me means efficient teamwork and good communication – there is a lot that doesn’t need to be said – itself a sign that they are aligned in their mission.

“While in school, pursue learning outside the classroom”
Patel once again makes a point I strongly align with. Another way of wording it is building a portfolio. Experiment not just in code but in real business ideas. I hope to do something similar here at Noroff, perhaps in the chatbot space.

“Remember the users”
This is advice aimed at very technical computer scientists…. I would say that the empathy gained from successful customer service helps here. Of course UX is its own discipline with multiple sub branches but as we all spend multiple hours a day using multiple pieces of software, a general awareness, a general mindfulness is vital for everything we produce going forward.

“Commit to learning business basics”
As Michael states, you can’t learn everything you want, all at once. But understanding how the system functions is vital so that one can optimise design in the system or how to find motivation to work within that system. (By system I refer to either an industry or internal group)

“Demonstrate talent, personality“
As already discussed the online portfolio is key! But as things develop and tools become more sophisticated, you could argue it’s tougher to truly judge someone on their code. How much was really their own? To combat this and to make the potential employer understand you better, podcasts or walk through videos could be a valuable piece of the modern CV.

“Work your networks”
This sounds a little bit forced / fake in practice. Perhaps it’s more normal in the US to be so open. I feel like an enthusiasm and participance in an area of interest will create its own opportunities. That includes conferences and hackathons.

“Embrace the cloud”
Systems engineer advice here but as a sidenote its interesting how vital this architecture is to the open source world as noted in the A16z slidedeck.

“Seize the data opportunity“
The opportunity is the developing demand for data scientists. Better tools and massive amounts of data have made them extremely valuable in helping make decisions in the workplace. For me its the potential ability to have influence and provide value that attracts me to data science.

“Highlight your soft skills”
It’s a relevant point but made in a crass way lacking context. You can’t simply highlight your soft skills. They are apparent from the first point of communication and it takes a long time to develop if it doesn’t come naturally to you. Empathy and passion I would argue are far more favourable traits than slightly manipulative car salesman type skills.

“Know the market, gain experience, network”
This is key, the advice to take an internship and one I agree with to gain that practical knowledge. I also echo the thought that Twitter can be a great way to develop a reputation. You could argue its way higher in importance than a spiffy LinkedIn profile these days.

“Think agile”
The advice here in essence represents the recent trend and value placed upon the entrepreneur type attitude. To me the skill is responsibility, autonomy and problem solving. You could say also, do whatever it takes, just get the job done. That’s probably an often heard comment down the hallways of various enterprises!

I had to include the articles last piece!!

“Make sure to dry your hands thoroughly when you leave the restroom. You never know whose hand you’ll have to shake the second after you exit. Ever shake a damp hand? Ugh. People remember that.” – Robert Reeves

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