#OfficeHack18 attendee Teresa Ruiz Decker recaps the best practices for landing a job in tech from the one-day tech crawl, powered by 2020Shift.
In our Behind the Techie video series, we introduce you to the story behind diverse techies reshaping the tech landscape. Here we introduce you to Wadnes Castelly, Account Manager at HYPEBEAST.
Video shot and edited by Justin Gomez. Photo by Brittany Allen .
When are you coming to my city?
We’ve received that question far too many times to count in emails, across our social media channels and in-person at our events in New York City, or even at conferences we’ve attended.
Well, the wait is over.
We’re heading to a city near you! Kicking off the 2020Shift Black Business Expo: HBCU Edition, Presented By Spotify & Mastercard, on Saturday, April 8 at Terminal West, we’re showcasing the best and brightest in Black business, including alumni from Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University. Current students will get the chance to connect with local and nationally-recognized tech professionals, as well as meet entrepreneurs innovating their respective industries. As an entrepreneur, you’ll have the opportunity to meet and connect with other entrepreneurs also contributing to the local economy.
The tour doesn’t stop there. We’re hosting events at both Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee and The Khalif Event Center in Greensboro, North Carolina (students and alums at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, North Carolina Central University and Shaw University, come by!). Similar to Atlanta, we’re inviting sought-after pros and facilitating important conversations to help you take your career and venture to the next level.
Click below on your city to attend!
Written by Natalia Saavedra
Are you looking to make a shift into tech? If your answer is yes, but you’re unsure how to begin that transition, we’ve got you covered!
Think about the skills you currently possess. While you may not necessarily “be in tech,” tech innovation is occurring in virtually every industry. Your current industry and role are undoubtedly connected to the tech world in some way or another.
Today various industries have been disrupted by tech, birthing tech adjacent industries and sectors such as AdTech, EdTech, HealthTech and FinTech, to name a few. So, let’s explore four of these sectors and viable hybrid positions that require little to no coding at all:
When you think about fashion and the impact it plays on your life, is tech somehow connected to that?
Influential fashion and tech innovators are increasingly looking for ways to work together to bring new fashion technologies center stage. Here’s an example: Google and H&M partnered to make a dress using your personal information. How cool is that?
If you’re looking to learn more about the fashion tech industry, TechCrunch is a good place to start. They have an entire section solely for fashion. Fashioning Tech is another site to place on your radar.
Creative technologist Madison Maxey is proof that both industries can merge in the name of innovation. In 2013, she created The Crated (now Loomia), a Brooklyn-based studio working on smart clothing. A few months ago, Loomia won TopShop’s wearable tech competition and announced a new partnership to make mass market smart apparel a possibility.
Whether you use the health app on your smartphone or FitBit, or use healthcare solution Oscar, it’s clear that tech is revolutionizing the healthcare industry. The impact of technology is evident in the way medical providers keep track of their patients to making health records electronic. At the moment, technology is not only saving lives and improving patient care, it is also providing greater access to healthcare through medical devices, software and alternative solutions.
Education is one of my favorite industries being impacted by technology (likely because I’m the social media strategist for 2020Shift and we’re creating a solution to remedy skills-based learning). The way 2020Shift utilizes technology to impact education is by teaching diverse professionals the skills they need to find a career they love in technology.
If you remember from my previous post, I didn’t go to school for marketing. Everything I’ve learned is partly thanks to the Internet. I love platforms like Coursera, Udemy and Lynda. These platforms place power at your fingertips. Think about it -- you have full control of when you take your classes, can collaborate in real time, highlight and take notes digitally, and learn at a pace that works best for you.
The finance industry is utilizing technology to make financial markets more efficient and effective. The amount of capital being placed in this industry is increasing at a tremendous rate.
But this is not surprising. How often do you carry cash nowadays? When you go to dinner with a group of friends and you don’t all want to pay with a credit card, how many times do you hear the phrase, “I’ll Venmo you!”
Platforms like Acorns allows you to invest your spare change; Mint helps you with money management and budgeting; My Money My Future/Mi Dinero Mi Futuro, an online financial planning platform dedicated to empowering Latinas to create wealth; and Kickstarter allows you to use technology to raise funds. And the list goes on.
If you're passionate about a particular industry and want to utilize tech to make an impact, you can do so! So, what are you waiting for?
Written by Jashonda Williams
Transitioning into a new industry can be scary, especially a high-growth arena like technology. Even if you can’t code, you can still land a job working with the people who do. Changing industries doesn’t always mean changing what you do for a living.
If you’re looking to get your foot in the door, here are eight more viable positions in tech:
Office Manager – Office managers handle a variety of administrative tasks that go along with making sure a business runs efficiently. This can included everything from greeting visitors and setting appointments to ordering office supplies and slight accounting matters.
Account Executive – An account executive is someone who is the direct contact for a client at an agency or firm. An AE is responsible for handling all things pertaining to that one client’s needs and understands their goals. Account executives have to work with all departments to make sure this is done. This includes scheduling meetings for briefings or to present ideas for a new campaign.
Sales Planner – A sales planner handles everything before and after a campaign launches, including responding to request for proposals (RFPs), creating digital assets and completing the media planning. If audience and trend data is collected, this role can also be very analytical.
Product Manager – A product manager is essential as this person is often in charge of most, if not all details, of a particular product or feature. A PM creates the roadmap for the strategy for the new product, along with the marketing, profit forecasting and competitive analysis. This is an extremely important organizational role in a tech company.
Project Manager – In this managerial role, you will be expected to oversee projects from planning to execution, and everything in between. The project manager role requires those in it to be very effective communicators as you’ll be working across different channels and departments in order to get the job done. If you are organized and a very detail-, goal-oriented person, this could be the job for you.
Human Resource Specialist – As in any company, the HR representative is responsible for talent acquisition, recruiting, hiring, firing, employee orientation and developing the company policies and procedures, to name a few. Working in the human resources department means you are constantly in contact with other people, whether it’s conducting an interview or working with current employees on issues like payroll or other administrative tasks.
Data Analyst – Data analysts take the data a company collects from a variety of departments (marketing, sales, user research, etc.) and puts it into words that business professionals can understand. Data analysts are hired to help companies make better business decisions because not everyone knows how to take raw numbers and strategize a plan to make a profit. In every organization there are tools and people that do the work to gather the data, and the analyst do the work to turn it into information the business can use. If you are a results-driven person, this could be for you.
Enterprise Architect - The enterprise architect is responsible for building the overall information technology strategy for an organization. This includes overseeing the development process of networks and databases, cloud computing and security policies.
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Written by Jashonda Williams
2020Shift’s More Than Code series highlights technology and digital media professionals that are rising in ranks in the space…but not necessarily hacking or coding away on the daily. These techies are excelling in today’s top hybrid, or “non-technical,” roles.
The journey to success is never a linear or traditional path these days. For Greenhouse's Talent Marketing Manager Betsy Ayala, her transition into tech has been anything but traditional. It’s true we get things when we’re ready for them and Ayala, who was just beginning her education as friends were starting their careers, learned what it meant to work hard in silence until her time to shine came. Now, in her role at Greenhouse, Ayala gets to use the skills she learned in the early stages of her career to shape how prospective employees view the company.
What does a typical day at Greenhouse entail?
I work on the marketing team in support of the people recruiting team. A lot of what I work on is employer branding, but also thought leadership, interviewing our people around the company to spotlight what they’re working on, as well as well our [company] culture. I don’t know if I have a typical day. I think all my days are pretty different; it depends on what campaign I’m working on, or who I’m interviewing next, or what article I’m working on. It’s pretty unique and really fun; you get to know different people around the company.
How did you find out about your current job? Why did you choose to work for Greenhouse?
In my previous role, I did something similar. It was not in marketing, it was a part of the talent team. At the time, there weren’t any roles like this, so I was taking a big risk and gambling with my career because it’s something that I am passionate about. [I’m doing] diversity recruiting, while my previous focus was women in tech, so that role just started and grew as the company grew. When I saw it here at Greenhouse, I thought it was just perfect for me.
How does Greenhouse challenge you daily?
The job challenges me because it forces me to think about things both in terms of recruitment and marketing. Applying the principles of marketing to your recruitment strategy, which is new to me.
Prior to coming here, my former company didn’t have the same metrics and goals. The way I was being assessed was very different. So, I think the challenge for me was coming to this role and learning a whole new set of skills, which was tremendous. I learned more in a couple of months here than my previous job because it’s been such a different way of applying my skills and taking it to another level. That’s been the most challenging, and building relationships and coming into a new role where you’re helping people get into the spotlight and highlighting different employees in a brand new role in the company. So working really hard to build those relationships over time and to know who’s right for which highlight, what cool things they’re doing, or back stories -- there are so many cool stories to tell. It takes a lot of time in the role to get those types of stories. Day-to-day I’m always looking for somebody new; if it’s a company that I don’t know yet, I would love to tell their story, I want to get to know them and a big challenge for me is trying to get to everybody.
What’s the best part about working for Greenhouse?
It’s great to work here because people here are incredibly smart, they’re really ambitious. I feel that a lot of people here, even in roles that may be entry-level roles, are thought leaders in their own right. And I think people here have stories to tell and things to talk about and share with the industry. It’s great because I get to work with these people and I help them build a personal brand, or just showcase them and all the hard work they’re doing, so it’s really nice for me to work with different people around the company through my role here.
What types of things should people be looking for in a company when they are looking for a new job? Also, what types of questions should you be asking to see if it’s a right fit for you?
What I always do is look at companies’ Glassdoor pages to see what people think and what they are talking about, the pros and cons, and even the company mission and so forth. A lot of companies have core values and core values really drive the way companies do business; how people work together, and how they get things done. That’s what I look for when I’m looking at companies -- what is their mission and core values, and do they align with mine because not every company speaks to what I believe in as a person.
When interviewing with companies, I think beyond the name and brand recognition of a company, I always like to ask about culture and how people work together and collaborate. Is there trust? Do people trust each other to get things done? Is there autonomy? Which to me is very important. I think it’s just trying to figure out what you really want in a company because interviewing now is a two-way street. You want to be interviewing the company as much as they’re interviewing you because you want to make sure you’re making the right choice for yourself beyond compensation and beyond working for a big name company.
Effective leadership is key in any organization or company. How do you serve as a leader in your current role?
I don’t have a team, I’m a one person operation but in terms of leadership I own my part of the pie completely. I collaborate with the people and marketing teams, but I’m the one that drives it. I think campaigns should start and end on what kind of creative process goes behind it. I work with design and I work with the employees here, so in that way I drive my own ship. With a lot of collaboration from obviously my leaders here, giving me my goals to aim for. Other than that, I have to use my own resources.
How do you stay creative, innovative and focused while you work?
I always try to look for new ways to do things. I try to do things that are different from what other companies are doing, but also draw inspiration from other companies. I think a lot of people are doing great things with talent marketing and recruitment marketing these days, and so I’m constantly looking for new ways to highlight our talent to make it very true and unique to Greenhouse. So part of my job is trying to find new ways to showcase who we are, whether that’s through videos, interviewing people, getting testimonials, working on our Glassdoor page. I’m just constantly thinking of new ways to tell our story.
How do you recharge from a demanding work week?
I like to work out a lot. For me, that’s very important. I don’t know what I would do without a good workout.
What has been your biggest career lesson to date?
The biggest career lesson, thus far, has been really learning how to collaborate and work with different people across the organization. Personally, I’ve always been in these really niche roles but over my career, learning when to say yes and learning when to push back and say no. Being able to hold your ground when you really believe in something, but also knowing when to concede when you know it’s the right time and the right choice; knowing when to pick and choose your battles. I’ve always been pretty feisty, but something I’ve learned in my career is that you can’t always win. You have to know when it’s ok to stop and pump the breaks and be like ‘ok, this is what collaborating is, you cannot always get your way.’ You can’t always do things the way you want to and that’s a part of learning and building character.
What advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?
In terms of my career, I started late. I waited until I was 28 and I wasn’t really happy in what I was doing before. If I could go back, I would tell myself don’t jump into something that you don’t necessarily love. I was so afraid to make a move that it took me a really long time to make it, and I look back now and I’m like I should’ve just done it years before I actually did it. That’s what I would go back and tell myself, not to be afraid to make a change.
Have you ever felt out of place or felt like you were being challenged in a work setting because of your background?
Yeah, for me, because I didn’t have a traditional educational background. I also came from a family where I had to pay for my own [education], so I actually didn’t go back to school until all of my friends were graduating. I was 23 -- that was the point in my life when I could actually afford to put myself through school. Immediately after high school when a lot of my friends were going to college, I worked. So I was the older kid at school and I have a degree in the arts, which I’m incredibly happy about. A lot of the branding is what I learned in school and what I use now, and I understand a lot of design aesthetics but when I started working in tech with an arts degree I thought it didn’t help me. But I feel I’ve had to prove myself in a lot of ways because of my nontraditional choice in education and also because I just waited a while to go back to school.
What would you say to someone who wants to transition into tech and may not have a tech background? What advice would you give them?
The transition into tech was really hard for me, but I put it in my mind that I was going to prove myself and work my way up. I do talk to people a lot that don’t have technical backgrounds that want to get into tech. Not every role at a company is necessarily technical. You can still work in tech, not have a technical role and learn so much. There are also a lot of opportunities in a lot of startups and tech companies to move, so I think you can go into tech and not be married to one role and explore different things and different people to expand your skills. I know a lot of people who have done that. I know people who have gone in on the business side who now work in product, or customer service, and move into marketing. There’s a lot of opportunity for growth.
Technology jobs are among the fastest growing in the U.S. These positions continue to outpace other high-growth sectors like business and health care. But how do you break into this industry?
Whether you know exactly what you want to do in tech, or still figuring it out, we walk you through the basics of landing a position in tech.
2020Shift’s More Than Code series highlights technology and digital media professionals that are rising in ranks in the space...but not necessarily hacking or coding away on the daily. These techies are excelling in today’s top hybrid, or “non-technical” roles.
Written by Pauline Hsia
Lover of Nike Air Max 95 and Kanye West, Shaton Winston is the Senior Copywriter at IBM Interactive Experience. His portfolio boasts of copywriting for MetLife and Citi mobile apps in addition to advertising and art direction for top brands like Gatorade, Pepsi, Ford, United States Marine Corps, and more.
By “mining people data,” this award-winning freckled creative crafts stories that capture human experiences and has a knack for “bridging an emotional why to the physical how.” Charismatic and innovative, Shaton is paving the way for creatives in digital media.
fun fact: he intentionally and often chooses to ignore capital letter.
What does a typical day at IBM entail?
I don’t think we have any typical days. What I’ll do is go through Google News, Yahoo! News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times. I try to make sure that I have a clear understanding of what’s happening around me and also around the world. I spend a lot of my time trying to delve into the world of pop culture as well as delving into any piece of business or information that could affect the client that I’m working on.
How did you find out about your current job? Why did you choose to work for IBM?
I was recruited with my creative partner from the advertising side. IBM launched this idea, in early 2014, of recruiting folks who worked in creative disciplines, design shops, advertising agencies, marketing firms, to bring them together to be more creative in our approach to solving business problems.
What’s a challenge for you as a copywriter?
Consistently knowing the audience because the audience is always changing; they’re always evolving. Customer needs change and because those needs change, the demands of your client changes. We try our best to stay ahead of the curve in our specific business sector.
What’s the best part about working for IBM?
I get the opportunity to work on amazing projects for really great brands and a lot of the time, the projects have high visibility. We were the first creative entity to bring a financial management app to the Apple Watch. IBM Interactive Experience produced the Citi Mobile Lite app, which was the first of its kind, a banking app that was on your wrist for the Apple device.
Effective leadership is key in any company. How do you serve as a leader in your current role?
I try to understand the people that I’m working with. Leadership is two-fold. Give instructions to people who look up to you, but also be able to articulate myself and provide balance and value to the folks above me. What I try to do is treat everyone equally and try to learn to be a better listener, and then speak. Once we fully have an understanding of what the situation is, we’re better able to solve problems.
How do you stay creative, innovative and focused while you work?I try to immerse myself into things that I like. I like sports. I love music. I love learning new things. When I find myself stuck in any particular situation, whether I’m writing an instructional piece of copy to teach someone something or writing something more persuasive to change behavior, I try to imagine myself going through a similar situation. If that doesn’t work, I’ll often write a letter to myself, highlighting and articulating what it is that I specifically want to say.
How do you recharge from a demanding work week?
I try to step entirely away from the work from the minute I’m done. Let’s say I’m done at 6pm on Friday, I try not to touch anything that’s work related until I have to again on Monday. That doesn’t always work because in our line of work, it’s never in a box. It’s never in a specific time frame. I just allow myself to turn off and step away from it.
Why is it important to step away from a project, especially as a creative?
We fall in love with ideas. If we don’t step away from it, we won’t be able to maximize the value or we won’t be able to see whether or not it’s truly good. As humans, we all want to believe that we’re capable of good ideas. For the most part, we are, but we also have to have a level of validation that will not come from our perspective.
If you think about it like painting a picture, you may love it. It may be the greatest piece of work that you’ve ever done but when it comes time to sell it, are you going to be able to sell it to someone who thinks as highly of it as you do? That’s how I think of creativity in the professional sense. Even though I’m creating something, is it the value that is being asked? Is it the value that is being required? Does it have any intrinsic value other than what I think of it?
What advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?
Be more patient. Trust the journey. Even in times when things look bad, they are never as bad as they are because you have tomorrow. If you have tomorrow, you have a chance to make it right.
EDITOR’S NOTE: When this article was written, Shaton Winston was the Senior Interactive Copywriter and Content Strategist at IBM. Currently, he is freelancing as a creative director.
Written by Pauline Hsia
A side hustle provides you with a way to make more money outside of your day-to-day, regular job. According to the employment site FlexJobs, 33% of millennials would ideally want to work part-time and freelance on the side. The benefits can include building your resume, learning new skills, and earning extra cash. Here’s how my side hustle got me my current digital marketing job and three reasons why you should side hustle, too.
1. Gaining Experience
If you’re interested in a career jump, a side hustle can give you a taste of what it would be like to pursue an interest full-time. It helps you gain relevant experience that gets your foot in the door. I spent last summer planning a creative arts event, which, initially, had absolutely nothing to do with my career. I developed an event where local artists in Queens could showcase their talents. I ended up marketing the event through social media, print and email, and realized how much I enjoyed digital marketing. A side hustle can show you what your dream job looks like.
2. Making Connections
The best part of side hustling is meeting new people. It’s the easiest way to network without networking. I met nationally recognized painter, Steven Assael, through the event and another gifted painter, who will be co-leading an artist group with me this summer. Putting yourself out there puts you in front of the right people at the right time. A friend, who attended the event and witnessed firsthand how much I worked on this project, happened to work in digital marketing. Without having to ask her, she recommended me when a position opened up at her company. Now I work alongside creatives and techies every day! Side Hustling can surprise you with unexpected perks!
3. Being Creative
Side hustles give you the freedom to explore your passions in an unlimited and unframed fashion. It’s how you can attain a scalable career. Compared to a stable and structured job, a side hustle is flexible. You can put as much effort and time into it as you’d like. Hustling on the side encourages you to try new things without putting all your eggs in one basket. My side hustle forced me to be more imaginative in reaching out to artists and figuring out event setup. It’s one way to stay creative without quitting your day job.
Are you side hustling? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Written by Pauline Hsia
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
― Winston S. Churchill
We like to hear success stories, those who made it, as though success happens overnight. We don’t usually hear about the journey, including the failures that professionals face to get to where they are now. Failure teaches us resilience, clarifies our vision for the future, and transforms our thoughts, desires and actions. Here’s how failure led four digital professionals to success.
Marketing Manager at Boast
I call myself a digital gyal, sharing and creating digital content that sparks interest.
My personal failure came from putting all of my eggs into 9-to-5 jobs with brands that didn’t see me as an asset. The fear of being easily replaced because “anyone would be honored to take this job” kept me from leaving. I was being
paid far below the average salary for these positions, but I was scared to quit because of unemployment. Now I am my own creative hub—writer, photographer, social media manager. I used my setbacks to fuel my own blossoming brand.
Marketing Coordinator at Elegantees
I partner Elegantees with fashion influencers to fight sex trafficking and encourage conscientious purchasing. #FashionRevolution!
I felt lost and hopeless after graduating with a BS in Health Science. I had no idea what skills to offer the professional world. However, I was passionate about expressing myself through fashion, social media and raising awareness for human trafficking. I applied to numerous positions and didn’t find the right fit until I found Elegantees. I bought an Elegantees design, tweeted them a selfie wearing it, shared inspirational conversations, and was then asked to join the team. These three passions are still prominent in my life, having been featured in Conscious Magazine as a New York City Change-Maker.
As co-founders, it’s our job to marry the company’s core value of creating the ultimate user experience with the best standards, tools and engineering processes.
Self-development coach Whitney Hess said, "Try to make your product for everyone and you'll appeal to no one.” Creating a product is about targeting a market and really getting to know that market. In the beginning, we launched a product that broadly catered to everyone and struggled to market it in a large industry. We came to realize that when we cater to a specific group, one that we truly knew and are a part of, it was easier to find our audience and focus our marketing. WHiM is now the first and only event app for people of color.
Share your comments below!
Written by Jashonda Williams
You don’t need a computer science degree to work in the technology industry. Before the explosion of social media and more insight shared on what it’s like to work in the space, it didn’t seem like there was much room in the industry for anyone who didn’t know how to code.
But with the shift in definition, more and more people are looking to break into tech. The key to switching industries is doing your research and focusing on getting a foot in the door. If you want to switch into the tech industry, research the companies you’d love to work for and establish yourself as a credible voice in the industry. Building an online presence will be key to giving you a leg up when you have no experience. Next, network, network, and (yes) network. You’ll meet people in the industry you can ask questions, receive invaluable advice that will prepare you immensely on your first interviews.
If you’re wondering what jobs you can you apply for at a company like Twitter or Google that don’t require a CS degree, look no further. We’ve highlighted several viable -- and cool -- positions:
Content Creation Specialist
Content creation is a great way to learn the ins and out of the industry and a particular company. Content creation includes blogging, website content, video creation and branding, among other things.
Design can range from creating graphics to user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design. UX design is the idea of creating a better user experience. The goal is to create ease of usability, and accessibility to increase customer satisfaction. UI design is very similar in that it also works to create a better experience when your customers interact with your product. It has more of a focus on the aesthetics than the actual experience.
Graphic design is also a really good way to get your foot in the door. Most companies have a creative team to help with marketing.
Being a digital marketing specialist at a tech company can be exciting, especially if it’s still in the startup phase. Being a digital marketer requires you know search engine optimization, email marketing, website analytics and tracking, to name a few skills. Be sure to brush up on all of your skills before diving into the digital marketing market -- it gets competitive.
Market research is the process of collecting information and data on the wants, needs and preferences of your customers. This includes surveys, focus groups, sampling, and more. Companies never stop trying to meet the needs of their customers and improve their products so this could be a great way to learn more about the technology behind the business. Knowing the best practices in this field is key to being successful at any company.
Social Media Coordinator
Everyone from individuals to brands have social media accounts these days. Running a company’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat account can be a really exciting endeavor. Social media is a perfect cross between content creation and community engagement. But even with scheduling tools, social media is a constant job that never truly ends. It’s important to learn what it’s like, gain internship experience or brand and handle your own social presence like you would for your favorite company’s.
Technical writers are the ones who write copy and journals for companies that explain who they are and what they do. These writers exist for engineering firms, manufacturers and of course tech companies. If you are a really talented writer but don’t want to necessarily jump into reporting, this could be the way to go.
There are always options and alternative routes to landing the job of your dreams. Being a well-rounded professional will help you with any transition you’re looking to make, but it’s important to keep in mind that this requires extra effort on your part and continuous learning.
There’s a role everyone can play, no code (necessarily) required.
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Whether you’re a digital media newbie or seasoned exec, there are tons of acronyms you should know that get tossed around daily. Here’s a list of the most common acronyms that every professional in the digital media/marketing and tech space should know. We’ve covered the majority with this list, but, if you’d like to add any to the list, let us know!