Blog of Sara Jakša

How to Find a Job

This week, when I went from school (I think it was yesterday, but it seems like much more time had passed), we ended up talking to a couple of schoolmates. When we were talking about it, I remembered the conversation I had at PyConSK. Especially how Exponia (I hope I wrote their names right) and Kiwi take all the programmers and how one person had to 'import' them from Ukraine. Since one of the classmates I talked about expressed his wish to work as a freelance programmers abroad, I shared this informations.

What I found interesting what the reaction of another classmate present there. It was sort of a call for more jobs for non-programmers. I think the main point was, that programmers have a lot of job opportunities, and the rest of them don't. Which, she is at least partly right. I mean, my last two job interviews for a programming jobs were basically, the job is yours, if you want it. And I hear from other programmers, that if you have a profile on LinkedIn, then you constantly get contacted by recruiters (I am not, so I can not confirm this). But the programmers are not the only ones like that, I know that at least mechanical engineers are in the same position.

But I have been thinking about it, and I don't think this is the main reason. I mean, even before I started to work as a programmer, if I wanted a specific job, I knew who to ask to find out, what I need to do to get it (assuming it can be done as a paying job). Sure, people would not throw jobs, but it is possible. On the other hand, from a very limited sample of talking to the people I study with, they just don't know how to attempt it.

So I have been thinking about the reason. I think that the main reason is, surprisingly, my lack of socialization drive. I know, it sounds weird, but let me explain in more detail. From middle of primary primary school to high school, I did not spend a lot of times with my classmates. In my whole time in high school, I have been invited to less than 10 parties. Which was great, since that left me with more time and energy to read books.

But then in the beginning of the university, I wanted to become a entrepreneur. So I started reading books about it, and one of the topics that resurface a lot was the importance of networking.

Now, here is a person, who doesn't get this whole social things, and tries to start networking. So what happens? Well, I go to lectures (outside classes) and start having conversations with lecturers. I start attending Toastmasters. I start going to meetups. Usually alone, which form what I heard, it is not a standard practice for a lot of people, but mostly still in school people. Which means, I needed to 'socialize' (yes, the quotes were deliberate) with people there. Which means that I always associated with people older than me, most of them having jobs and so on.

I mean, lets take Toastmasters for example. I was attending meetings there with an HR person from Dars (the company responsible for all the highways in Slovenia), a diplomate from the Foreign minister, a tourist guide, a programmer that was starting his own start-up, a psychiatrist in training, a project manager (I think, not sure about the exact position) from Krka, a person being employed for the company giving support for SAP, a person who ended up working for Google (I have no idea, what he did beforehand), and so on. I then went abroad, and could immediately make connection with these people, which included from English teacher to trainer hosting seminars.

If I at the time wanted to find a job, it would have been a hell of a lot easier than if my circle of friends consisted of my classmates. Which is also one (among many) of reasons, why I am against the women only places in programming. The fact say what they say, and there are right now more male programmers and there are more employed programmers as well. So they will be the one, that could provide the best advice and give the best opportunities.

Maybe, at least for me, this meeting have always been a way for me for force myself to be social, so I never wanted anything from these groups. That does not mean, that some things were not thrown at me (ranging from very good to very bad). But I would recommend anybody to give it a try. Worst case scenario, you meet some people, that you realize you never want to meet again. Best case scenarios, you show some wish and some incentive to do something about it, and people will start throwing opportunities are you. :)