There’s never been a better time to get into the tech industry, especially if you’re just getting ready to graduate from college. The tech startup scene is exploding with energy and innovation, and there are opportunities everywhere for young workers to put their new and up-to-date skills to the test.
Unfortunately, getting into the workforce after graduation isn’t always a smooth transition. Most graduates don’t find a job right away, and it can be a rude awakening to discover that not every company is ready to embrace your ideas. With that said, being prepared can really help you increase your chances for landing a great job after graduating. Here are some tips for finding your place in the tech industry and landing on your feet in your first job.
Entering the Adult World
One of the most challenging aspects of transitioning from school to work is that the two environments are so very different. Yes, you’ll learn the theoretical and practical skills you need to succeed in the workforce at college, but in the real world, you won’t have the same kind of support and expectations.
Many new graduates become frustrated during their initial job hunt. Because there are many people out there looking for work who often have several years (or more) of experience, employers sometimes pass over new graduates. Looking for a job can be a full-time job, something many new graduates are not prepared for.
New graduates need to have exceptional communication skills, take the time to understand best practices and create a strategy, set realistic expectations when entering the workforce, and realize that it might take some time to find a job that’s a good fit. And remember: that first job doesn’t have to be your dream job! As long as it helps you progress in your career path, it might be a good option to start with.
In many phases of life, you have to climb one ladder and then start at the bottom of another. When you graduate from college, you’re at the top of your life’s biggest ladder to date: you’ve got the skills to enter the workforce, and you look at the freshmen like they’re children. When you leave college and enter the workforce, however, you’re starting at the bottom of another ladder: the corporate ladder.
It’s not uncommon for new graduates to become disillusioned quickly and experience a quarter life crisis, or even post-grad depression. Many feel ashamed of not being able to get a job quickly and begin to isolate themselves. School provides structure and clear expectations, whereas the real world is full of choices and expectations that aren’t always expressed. The sudden change can be overwhelming and scary, causing graduates to feel unmotivated, sad, and ashamed. This is especially true as students take on more debt and then need to start paying it off quickly. It’s important to talk to a mental health professional for support if you are experiencing post-grad depression.
The Statistics of Tech Jobs
The good news about the tech industry is that it’s growing rapidly. If your major is related to topics like computer science, robotics, or even business, you’re likely to have good options for employment. These fields are having trouble filling all of their open positions and might be interested in hiring a new graduate. Keep an eye out for fast-growing sectors within the tech industry, such as fintech (financial technology) and edtech, which is expected to grow to $93.76 billion by 2020. Jumping on growing fields can help you get a foot in the door—even without a lot of experience.
Breaking into Tech
It can feel very intimidating to try to break into the tech industry right after college. But the good news for new graduates is that demand for skilled workers is currently outpacing supply. In many tech startups, eagerness, willingness to learn, and a “culture fit” are the most important attributes, not experience.
There are lots of ways new graduates can look for an opening in the tech industry. While the last thing a new grad wants to do is study, self-education can be hugely important for landing a job. Read tech publications and continue to further your knowledge of the skills and industry. Attend tech meetups to make the connections you’ll need to find a job.
Finally, breathe! The perfect job is out there—but it might take a little more time and effort than you thought on graduation day.