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Xpanding Your Skillset... Marketing Yourself Beyond the Resume!

1st Aug 2013

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After a brief hiatus from the world of recruitment, I’ve spent the last few months reconnecting with the world of software development here in Sydney.  Speaking to candidates is one of the best parts of this job, and our recent conversations have focused heavily on the fact that they’re looking for opportunities that are more technically challenging and will allow them to utilise emerging technologies and stay current.  In the web development space, a number of front end developers are looking to work with the latest .js libraries and related frameworks, yet are finding they can’t pursue the kind of roles they want because of the lack of commercial experience… with those same new technologies.  Needless to say, for many I’s talking to, this is a  frustrating Catch-22.  But all is not lost - now more than ever there are avenues for developers to deepen their skillsets and better market themselves as candidates to get the roles they want.

If you are really keen, here  are some resources to get you started:

1) Get on Github.  Not familiar with it?  Github is the Internet’s largest and most active code repository.  Millions of open-source projects live and breathe on the site and if I were to give one piece of advice to the majority of my candidates, it would be “Start a github profile!”  Why?  Quite simply, for developers this is the new resume. It’s a great way to showcase how you work, what your code looks like and what kind of challenges you’re capable of taking on.  Beyond that, it allows you to produce work with technologies you otherwise would not have exposure to.  

 

You want to get involved in MongoDB?  Coffeescript?  Angular.js?  Ruby?  There are very few limits to what you can get involved in.  Working on github will allow you to create a tangible end result from the effort you put in and shows off your willingness and ability to learn and get involved.

 

2) Attend Meetups.  We’re lucky in Sydney to have active communities of developers across a wide number of technology interests.  If you’re passionate about gaining deeper skills, or exploring a new domain space this will give you the opportunity to learn more (obviously) and network with people who are already embedded in the space. 

 

As a heads up, here are a  few in Sydney that I’ve attended or have heard positive reviews:

SydJS - all about Javascript.

Sydney Web Apps Group - covers a broad swath of web technologies, including Clojure, Ruby, PHP and Javascript.

Node.ninjas - Node.js

Big Data Analytics - great group with really interesting discussion around the Big Data space

Sydney MongoDB User Group - for those interested in MongoDB/big data/NoSQL databases

 

3) Free online coursework.  I will preface this by saying that I don’t find this particularly marketable just yet.  Free online courseware is great for building a foundation, however,  there aren’t many people who would be impressed by the fact that I’ve completed a Python course of Udacity.  I’d recommend utilising these classes as a way to establish your knowledge base before hopping on Github  Some resources:

Udacity

Coursera

OpenCourseWare

OpenLearning

University of Reddit


Beyond these resources, I’m really excited about the number of things being done by crowdsourcing sites like Kaggle and Bugcrowd. I’m keen to hear any suggestions of other resources that people have found useful in up skilling themselves and better marketing themselves to future employers, so please so comment and keep this discussion going. In my upcoming blog post, I will be discussing how companies can continue to provide growth opportunities to their employees and keep them from exiting out.  Feel free to reach me directly if you have specific questions you want me to address.