Last year, we featured Black and Brown tech professionals in our “Philly Tech Stories” article series, sharing the experiences, insights and career advice of those who launched their tech careers right here in the Philadelphia region. Each interview is packed with tips for aspiring tech professionals (check out the full interviews here!) but we always end our interviews with the same question: “if you could offer ONE piece of career advice for someone interested in pursuing a career in tech, what would it be?”
We’ve rounded up ALL the advice, below, just in time for you to prep for our upcoming virtual recruiting event, JobFest, taking place on Wednesday, March 29. Share your “Philly story,” ask questions, and make new professional connections in the region at this Campus Philly event for college students, recent graduates, and young professionals—register here!
Tracy Ajuo, Software Engineer II at Nuuly
“Put yourself out there, and by that, I mean be authentic. Don’t be afraid of what other people will think. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Don’t be afraid of asking questions because you think they’re not valid questions—ASK AWAY!”
Reach out to Tracy on LinkedIn!
Tanmay Mody, Software Developer at Vertex Inc.
“Don’t be afraid to try new things; embrace them with a positive attitude and try to enjoy the process without worrying about the results.”
Connect with Tanmay on LinkedIn!
Nadira Green-Roberts, Freelance Graphic Designer & Visual Designer at Comcast
“If you can, find what you like to repeatedly create, not just what you’re good at. Make sure your focus is on that when you’re looking for jobs and opportunities. For me, I thought being a graphic designer meant that I had to be great at everything, so anything that came my way, I accepted. Then I found myself constantly doing the same types of projects that I didn’t even enjoy. Once I had that shift, I only started accepting freelance opportunities and applying to positions whose descriptions fit my specific interests.
If you currently like doing everything, that’s fine too. At some point, the distinction between what you do and don’t like will become very clear. If you’re able to quickly and easily figure that out, great. And if you’re not, also great. Don’t force it because it will gradually come to you.
I think figuring out (or creating) that niche/specialization/avenue/lane that you want to occupy and learning as much as you can about that makes the process more satisfying. Plus, if it shifts or changes along the way, that’s great too. It’s not about staying in one lane forever, but more about recognizing your genuine interests and deciding to nurture and focus on them until it’s time to pivot. I believe it will keep the experience enjoyable—not saying it’ll always be fun, easy, or stress-free, but it’ll keep you consistently interested and invested.”
Check out some of Nadira’s work!
Dominique Clarke, Software Engineer at Elastic
“It’s important to know that if you’re pursuing a career in tech without a computer science degree, the road to success can be long and hard. That’s why I recommend both computer science graduates and non computer science graduates to get involved with the Philadelphia tech community as soon as possible.
Chat with Dominique on LinkedIn!
Joshua Funches, Software Engineer Apprentice at Accenture
“If I could give one piece advice to a college student or recent grad, I would say ask the right kind of questions to the right kind of folks. If you don’t know at least three people who are doing the type of work that you want to do, then… find three people! And if you already know three people, then you’re already ready to start asking those questions.”
Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn!
Tyler Ramdass, Jr. Cyber Security Specialist at Sabre Systems, Inc.
“There are so many things that I want to say here, but I think what it boils down to is keeping an open mind and trying different things with earnest. Cybersecurity is a massive field with different areas that, at a glance, are nothing like each other and can seem intimidating when they’re introduced to you. Give them an honest attempt, and you might find that the thing that you were scared of is actually the most fun part for you! Explore cyber security, and you might find yourself surprised by what’s out there to work on.
As an example, while in grad school, I signed up for a Space Systems Cybersecurity class despite knowing anything about space. As it turns out, it was one of the most fun, interesting, and engaging classes I’d ever taken, and now space cybersecurity is something I am extremely interested in. Who’d have guessed?”
Network with Tyler on LinkedIn!
Tymere Richardson, Information Technology Engineer at Accolade
“A word of advice to college students and recent graduates: never lose sight of your goals! People will always tell you that you can’t do something, but as long as you chase your dreams and don’t lose sight of the bigger picture, you will succeed. I failed 19 times before I landed my first I.T. job. I’m so happy that I never gave up because the end goal was worth it. If you believe in yourself, no one can hold you back except for you!”
Learn more about Tymere on LinkedIn!