"I want to work in Tech because I want to make a lot of money."
"I want to work in Tech because I want to get free food everyday."
"Every office is beautiful like Google."
When people think of working in Tech, they often have a lot of misconceptions of what life is actually like. Scott Purcell, Division Manager of Jobspring San Jose, sheds some light on some common expectations people have.
1. Expectation: You have to work long hours
Reality: Each company is different. Some startups work long hours often and some have a relatively normal work-life balance. Some big companies have very long hours while others are very flexible. Every situation is different and needs to be taken on a case by case basis. The normal "9 to 5" work hour doesn't really exist, but some companies have longer hours during releases or allow telecommute and/or flex hours.
Lucky for the tech industry, there is a choice between working full-time and contract positions. If you choose the contract road, there are some benefits such as getting paid for every hour you work as a contractor and receiving overtime when you're asked to stay on for those late nights. This isn't to discount full-time, though, because long hours usually mean raises, bonuses and a higher worth on your stock options.
Think your comapny has a great workplace for technology professionals? Nominate it to be Sillicon Valley's Best Tech Work Culture here.
2. Expectation: Coding and programming for a big company's IT department means you have to work in a cubicle in a dark basement
Reality: Every company's environment is different. Specifically in Silicon Valley, most companies have moved away from the cubicle environment and work more in an open, collaborative atmosphere.
A lot of companies really believe in an open space environment. According to Inc., an open environment allows you to immerse yourself into an office culture and improves communication. Also, non-tech companies need talent too, as this SkilledUp article says. The benefits could be less catchy but more tangible. For instance, if you're interested in helping others and developing better patient care, you might want to work for the healthcare industry, which in turn as a non-tech company could be less stringent about your skill sets as job requirements, and more open to skill set plus industry experience. So not only will you not get moved to the basement, there are some definite benefits to working for a tech department over a tech company.
3. Expectation: Your work perks will automatically include free lunch and your own massage therapist
Reality: A lot of companies do offer "extras" like lunch, travel and other perks, but that is not always the case. Many companies do this as a way to attract talent or if they aren't close to dining options. A lot of factors go into what a company offers and many companies have moved away from these types of perks to focus on core benefits and building a successful business.
Benefits of workplaces like the ones on the Glassdoor List of Top 20 Best Company Benefits & Perks - which include every other Friday off, ski passes and sabbaticals - have slanted job hunter's perception of what really matters. However, this Glassdoor study shows that among the factors that contribute to happiness at your job, benefits and perks rank fifth after culture, career opportunities, senior leadership and work-life balance.
4. Expectation: You will automatically get a big raise at your next job based on how good the market is
Reality: One of the most common misconceptions, specifically in Silicon Valley but in this job market in general, is that they will automatically get a big raise at their next job. This is typically based on hearing how good the market is and the general cost of living in tech hubs like Silicon Valley. The reality? Companies have set ranges for their positions and value employees based on what they can bring to the table and how they fit into their current pay structure. If you're already at the top of the range, which isn't uncommon, there may not be much wiggle room on salary - despite hearing about what others are getting in the market.
- 3 Ways Tech Contractors Make More Money
- 4 Reasons to Start Looking For A Job While You Still Have One
- 5 Tips For Young Professionals Who Want A Career In Tech
When searching for a job, you'll see several common alternatives for what you're hired as: full-time, contract, or contract-to-hire. There are many opportunities within contract or contract-to-hire roles that many people overlook. What makes a contract role different from a full hire position? One of the biggest benefits of a contract position is also the largest decision maker for many job seekers. Money.
Contractors get paid more per hour
The base hourly rate for tech contractors is much higher, ringing in at $70.26 per hour according to Dice's 2016 Tech Salary Survey. In comparison, the same report shows the average technology salary at $96,370, which is $46.33 per hour for a 40-hour work week - not counting the overtime you might have worked.
While this doesn't apply across all levels of experience or industries, in general contract employees have a higher dollar-per-hour range compared to salaried employees. In theory, this is to cover the benefits that a company doesn't offer a contract employee, but when you are placed through a company like Jobspring, many of these benefits are included, such as health insurance, paid time off, and even a 401(k).
You receive compensation for the hours you work: all of them
When you accept a full-time job, you have to accept that as a salaried employee, you are just that: on a salary. You get paid a certain amount each year, no matter how many hours you work as a part of that salary agreement. As a contractor, being employed for a 40-hour work week means actually working those exact hours, because you get paid by the hour. Frequently, salaried employees get called on to work on weekends, late nights, and early mornings. The difference for a contractor is that you'll get paid for the extra miles you put in on the job.
Extra hours = overtime pay
Thanks to a compliance law changing for 2016, not only do you get paid for every hour, you can get overtime pay (1.5 times your normal rate) for anything past your set work week maxmimm. So the more hours you work, the more money you can earn. With projects that stretch deep into the night, your salaried coworkers are just as dedicated as you are, they're just not getting compensated for it.
Think about this: When working with a team to launch a new product, how many hours do you put in? Recruiter Phil breaks it down for job hunters below.
You might also be interested in:
- 6 Questions to Ask Before You Accept a Contract Position
- How to Prep for an Interview in 5 Minutes
- 4 Reasons to Start Looking for a Job While You Have One
You’ve completed your college degree or spent endless weeks learning to code in a hardcore boot camp – congratulations! But now what? While everyone’s career path will be unique, and there’s no step-by-step guide to getting you to a C-Level position within x-amount of years, there are definitely some key career moves you can make to set yourself up for the success you’re looking for. If you aren’t a recent or about-to-be graduate – well, it’s never too late to do these for you career.
Below are 5 things you need to do for your career as an IT graduate on the job hunt:
Build Your Brand
As basic as career advice gets, yet too many personal brands are just that: basic. Don’t be. Update your LinkedIn profile to include an individual summary, a work or project list, and any appropriate skills. Nowadays, this is one of the major ways recruiters and hiring managers connect with you about a job you may be the right fit for.
Also, get on GitHub. For many hiring managers this is a 'nice-to-have' for more experienced talent, but for junior engineers it is crucial. Other than school projects, it may be the only thing a manager has to look at that represents your skills.
Connect with a Dedicated Recruiter
It’s almost always free to work with a recruiter. Find a dedicated technical recruiter who specializes in positions you are interested in and who understands your skill set. Even if they can’t offer you a position right off the bat, inquire about interview advice, resume tips, or keeping in touch for any opportunities that may arise.
Network and Get Noticed
If you haven’t tried out the networking tactic for your job search, step out of your comfort zone and add it to your to-do list. Meetups and networking events specifically for tech professionals, such as Tech in Motion, are a great way to get your name out in front of an influential group of people.
When you are vocal about your employment status, you may find your next mentor, or even your next job, at an event or job fair, so make sure to put your best foot forward.
You will hear it over and over again, but keeping up with the newest technology is crucial in any market. Every company wants someone who has experience with the trendy new technology that very few other engineers have, so being ahead of the curve will set you apart. While you’re a new grad with some time on your hands, this is a great opportunity to make sure you’re working with the technology that will get you the career you’re looking for.
Just because you have been on the market for a few weeks, doesn’t mean you should lose motivation. Great things take time! Every company has different needs. You just need to find one that fits your criteria and vice versa, and sometimes that takes time. Don’t settle for a job where you’ll quit a few months in. Consider a contract job where you can gain experience on a project basis while you wait for the right opportunity.
Bottom line: building your reputation in a way that consistently advances your career will take time. These tips will point you in the right direction, and hopefully, help you find a job that you truly will be passionate about. By staying up-to-date with technology, networking, and building your own brand, your job search will be more effective.
You might also be interested in this career advice:
- 6 Questions to Ask About Contracting Before You Accept An Offer
- 5 Tips for Young Professionals Who Want a Career in Tech
- 6 Keys to Knowing It’s the Right Job for You
Many people dream of a career in tech. The industry is fast-paced, constantly changing and growing. While many people desire a role a trendy tech startup, they're not sure if they're cut out for startup life or a technology bohemeth, an IT hands-on role or a position in management. If you’re an aspiring technologist looking to pursue a career in tech, don’t get discouraged from pursuing your dream job - instead use these 5 career tips from Cassy Rowe Head of UI/UX at Scoop in San Francisco:
1. Just Do It and Don’t Hold Back
Don’t be afraid to pursue what you want to accomplish in your career. The worst thing someone can say to you is “no.” There are so many opportunities out there; all one has to do is try.
2. Find a Mentor
Finding a mentor is key. It can be intimidating to walk up to someone who could be a role model, especially since a lot of people are afraid to ask someone for help in gneral. On the contrary, many experienced professionals are willing to mentor young people, and find it flattering when someone asks them. Mentors can be a great guide and give you a third party perspective on your career and life goals.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Try Different Things
Trying different things may seem scary for a lot of people fresh out of school because the challenge for a lot of young people is:
- Figuring out what you want to do
- Where you want to do it
- How you want to do it
No one can answer those questions except yourself. Many aren't 100% sure they going in the right direction, but there are many opportunities to explore. You can’t be afraid to try new things to figure out those key questions, as well as to find the right job that fits you.
4. It’s Okay to Take Your Time
When starting out, you don’t need to be an expert in what you want to end up doing, whether in your first, second or even third job. Make sure you take the time to slow down and try to get the most out of every position you hold so you can bring those skills into your career.
5. Make Sure You Have a Good Idea of What You Want Out of the Job
When looking for a job make sure you have a good idea of what you want out of the job, because you don’t want to be at a job you don’t like. When you know what you want, it's easier to go all in for it and target the skills you have towards the job.
As daunting and fast-paced as the tech industry can seem, whether you're technical or not it's a matter of wanting to be in this world. Don’t be discouraged, get out there!
How do you know when you’ve found “The One” in your career? Should you accept an offer, or is this not a long-term match for you? Like finding that perfect ”one” in your life, finding the right job has its own checklist as well. Here are 6 top areas that most tech professionals can match their desires up with in order know it’s the right offer and the right company:
Company Culture. Seeing how your significant other interacts with family and friends can provide a window into whether it will be a lasting relationship. Similarly, knowing how a company treats their employees will give insight into what your office life will be like on a day-today basis. Furthermore, how people communicate and work together is crucial, since that’s the atmosphere you’ll ultimately need to communicate in and work with. Take a look at the environment and how the office is laid out; it can be a big factor in finding a place that not only fits your personality but your needs and desires as well. Do you need a collaborative, open workspace or a quiet, secluded area to concentrate? Another aspect to look for? Humility: a company with little ego is less likely to put their egos before the employees. The right job will allow you to voice your own opinions when needed.
Personal Goals. Even before you start your job search, sit down to think about your personal goals, values and what makes you happy. Once you access that, start looking for jobs and going on interviews, and ask yourself, “Does this company align with my values and goals?” It’s easy to get caught up in the red carpet treatment. When companies want to “woo” you, they’ll offer you all the good things: free lunches, dinners, drinks, etc. However, that celebrity treatment will eventually fade away, so don’t get caught up in all the flashy things. The right job will be lined up with your values and goals, which will make you happier in the long-run.
Mission and Outlook. When you find the perfect person you often envision your life with them five or maybe ten years down the road. It’s the same with a job. You have to envision what the next few years will look like with this company. How are their stocks looking? (Or maybe they’re a startup and not publicly traded.) How much funding do they receive? All these questions can help you anticipate how the company will look in five or ten years. You want to make sure the company you’re working for is in a market where they can expand their product and grow. The right job will have a good outlook for you in the next few years, without worrying about the company heading in a different, more volatile direction.
Work Life Balance. Balance is everything in life. There’s work life and then there is life outside of work. The right company will give you the best of both worlds: the ability to live the life you want and be able to do the work you love. Sometimes those two can be one and the same. Many companies, especially tech companies or startups, require a lot of around-the-clock work, and that might be your cup of tea. Either way, the right job will align with how you want to live your life.
Growth. Finding the one – the job or love of your life – can have the same goal at the end of the day: both make you want to be a better person. The right job will enable you to grow professionally and personally. You should be able to climb the corporate latter, not feel stuck in a bad relationship with your company. Growing and learning is important, so you should be able to find ways throughout your job experience to continuously evolve.
Innovation. Innovative companies will have new ideas they want to implement, or aggressive updates on current product offerings for continuous improvement. You should feel excited about the project you’re going to work on, the new technologies you’ll be faced with, and all of the things you’re going to learn. You probably don’t want to be part of a stagnant company with an existing product that they do nothing but maintain; these aren’t going to be the type of companies that can adapt to the constantly changing environment.
Want to find a job that’s the right match for you? Start with these job search resources:
- Prepare for your next interview with this 5-minute guide.
- Here's why you need to start looking for a new job while you still have one.
- 4 reasons to try out contracting before your next full-time job.
Looking for a quick guide to prepare for your upcoming interview? The search for a new job is time-consuming prospect that often keeps you at your current role far longer than you should be. Don’t let the interview hold you back any further in time or effort. Use these tips for before, during and after to leverage your interview opportunity for a job offer.
1. First up: your resume. This is the first impression that you make on your next potential employer, so use this to guide what you should and shouldn’t be doing with it:
- Be concise and to the point with everything you include.
- Don’t make things sound a lot more complicated than they were.
- Start with a simple and clear objective. Use the job’s keywords.
- Tailor your experience for the role that you are applying for.
- List only technologies and skills you’re comfortable and confident with.
- Include skill level where applicable to these.
- Focus on your experience. Doing is better than knowing.
- Show how you used your skills rather than listing them.
- Aim to keep your resume to 2 pages max. It’s not a novel!
2. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. This is your social resume, whether or not you know it. It’s important to have an updated profile as LinkedIn is probably the most used tool by both employers and job-seekers. You're more accessible to employers and recruiters the more accurate and relevant your LinkedIn profile is. Give employers the chance to come and find you first, or pro-actively apply to their jobs on LinkedIn to set yourself apart.
3. Know about the company. Make sure you have as good of an understanding as possible of what the company does, and what some of their products are. When it’s your turn to ask questions, don’t be that person. “So, what exactly does your company do?” will turn off your potential employer. You’re interested enough to interview. Act like it.
4. Research your interviewer. Use Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, the company website and any other outlets (Have they spoken at a recent event? Been featured in an article?) See if you share any common connections. Learn more about their background. Employ what you learn as topics of discussion or ways to relate to the interviewer right off the bat.
5. Have examples ready to go. Make sure you have at least 1 or 2 projects that you’ve worked on recently. If there are projects directly related to the role you’re interviewing for, bring these up. Don’t gloss over them either - go into details. Employers like hearing why you chose specific strategies, platforms or technologies.
1. Respond directly to questions. Pay attention to the question that is being asked, and focus on answering that question alone. Do not start talking about a completely different topic. There will be opportunities for you later in the interview to bring up topics that you’d like to discuss.
2. Be honest about your skill set. If you’re asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t pretend to know the answer! Let the interviewer know that you don’t have the answer, but don’t stop there! Come up with a solution to the problem based on what you know about the topic. Employers are often very interested in seeing what type of problem solving skills potential employees have, and to see their thought process.
3. On that note, it’s okay not to know everything. It is not okay to have no initiative to take on new challenges. Employers are probably not going to find a candidate that has 100% of the skills they want. Part of the reason you’re probably looking for a new job is to learn new skills, and most employers know this. Show them you’re able to pick up new skills quickly by proposing a solution to the problem, even without those hard skills yet.
4. Ignore a rude interviewer. Spoiler alert: your interviewers are only human. Don’t let this put you off for the rest of the interview. After meeting with him/her, you may decide this company is not the right place for you. Keep your cool throughout the interview and make a positive impression. You never know when you might cross paths with them again. This is sometimes used as an interview tactic; working in engineering and IT is known to have situations that are high pressure. Some employers want to see how you’ll react in uncomfortable, high-stress situation.
5. Be engaged. The interview is a platform for the employer to assess your skills, and see if you are a fit for their company. It is also a time for you to figure out whether or not the company is a fit for you. When you are given the opportunity, have questions and discussion topics prepared. You need to show the employer that you are genuinely interested in the position. Start with questions specifically about the company, and the job itself. Leave compensation/benefits questions for later. You don’t want to give off an impression that those things are the only important topics for you.
Always follow-up with a thank you note after your interview. This may seem like a trivial gesture, but it could be the differentiator between you and other candidates. There are many times where an employer is struggling to decide between 2-3 candidates, and end up hiring the candidate who did that one extra something. It show your appreciation for being considered for the position, and gives you a last opportunity to show your interest. Here are a few tips:
- A short letter is fine. A long letter is desperate.
- Be personal. Don’t google an outline and skip personal details.
- Thank the manager for setting up the interview and setting aside time to meet. Also thank any team members in this area.
- Bring up specific parts of the interview that you enjoyed
- Highlight key reasons as to why you’re interested in the job.
- Close the letter with an indication you look forward to hearing back, and if they have any questions they should contact you.
Here are some related job search tips:
- 6 Ways To Spruce Up Your Resume in the New Year
- How to Ace the Technical Interview
- 4 Reasons To Start Looking For A Job While You Still Have One
When you’re in IT, it’s all about approaching systems proactively versus reactively. Why not approach your career the same way? Competent employees can get unexpectedly laid off, office environments can erupt without notice and life circumstances can suddenly call for a change. According to a 2015 CareerBuilder survey of 5,000 candidates, "3 in 4 full-time employed workers are open to or actively looking for new job opportunities."
Don't be caught desperate to find a role if you're the one in four not looking. If you're not completely happy at work, be proactive going into 2016 about exploring your options and job searching. Below are a few key reasons why you should be looking for a new role when you’re still at your current employer.
Time Is On Your Side
How long could you support yourself and your dependents without a steady paycheck? That time frame is the maximum amount of time you have to find an adequate position once you’ve left your current position. If you start looking proactively while you’re still at your current employer, your time frame for taking a new role is exponentially expanded. This way, you can focus on finding a position that you’re excited about and one that will fast-track your career, as opposed to one that will simply pay the bills.
No pressure, you’re already viewed as an asset!
Many hiring managers believe the best candidates are the ones who are actively working. Employed candidates are viewed as being proven assets. Where does this mindset come from? Well… have you ever wanted or needed something so badly that when under pressure, you’ve completely botched your attempt to get it? Unfortunately, this happens all the time during interviews when you’re facing unemployment. On the other hand, if you begin your search while you have a comfortable employment situation, you take significant pressure off of yourself and lessen the likelihood of self-sabotage when interviewing for a new role.
Get What You Really Want
As a passive candidate, you’re interviewing the company as much as they’re interviewing you! The ball is in your court, and potential employers will be more willing to roll out the red carpet for you. Hopefully your skillset will land you a role that will move you in the direction you’ve always wanted to go. If there is a specific technology you’ve always wanted to work with or a cutting-edge industry you're passionate about, this is an opportunity to ask. As a passive job seeker, you can be more selective with the companies and roles you’d like to interview for. You have more control of your commute range, the tool sets you work with and any other job factors that are important to you.
Room to Negotiate
Lastly, you’ll have more control of dictating what your final offer will be. Simply said, what will it take for you to leave your comfortable role to start at a new and exciting company? Everything in terms of compensation should line up— don’t forget that salary isn’t everything. Instead focus on the total package the company offers. Not only will you have the upper-hand on getting a higher hitting salary range, you’ll also have leverage to get additional vacation time, flexible hours, stock options and a myriad of other perks that are possible in an offer.
So if you’re not in an absolute ideal position, make sure you keep your eyes and ears open to new and exciting opportunities. You can always call a local Jobspring recruiter and tell them exactly what your current situation is and how you’d like to be kicking off 2016!