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Start your tech career#

Pre-stage ignition is like firing up your booster rockets while still on the ground. We have to make sure your gear and navigation are set correctly before taking off. You will prepare yourself mentally, decide if you want to live the tech lifestyle, discover what specific tech job you want, understand what you need to learn and do to prove you can do the job, and take important steps immediately to begin building relationships of trust with potential peers and employers.

📺 The following outline contains links to specific YouTube videos of varying lengths and can be considered a linear playlist in outline format. Line items that are not linked are videos yet to be made. To be notified of updates follow the repo (and drop us a star while you are at it).

  1. Prepare yourself mentally

    1. Find happiness and motivation to overcome depression and self-doubt
      1. Regularly make a list of what makes you grateful
      2. Listen to great music
    2. Put in the time to get results
    3. Know that it is never too late
    4. Think like a hacker
      1. Find purpose like Aaron Swartz
      2. Unlock your creative potential like Sir Ken
      3. Be lazy, impatient, and have some hubris
      4. Stop labeling/calling yourself "junior"
      5. Fight back Imposter Syndrome
      6. Avoid Anakin Syndrome (Dunning-Kruger Effect)
      7. Don't become a tech bigot
      8. Know what it means to have "strong opinions" that are "weakly held"
    5. Find focus
      1. Use a timer
      2. Talk to the duck
  2. Be sure you have basic computer skills

    1. Learn how to really type
    2. Get a computer you can modify with admin access
    3. Install and learn the best web browser for work
    4. Create a free ProtonMail account for personal use
    5. Create a free Google/YouTube/Gmail account for personal use
    6. Forward multiple Gmail accounts to ProtonMail
    7. Document your learning
      1. Create a GitHub account and private notes repo
      2. Create a CodeBook lab repo
    8. Develop search-centric user interface habits
      1. Learn the universal Alt-Tab technique (avoid hyper-specific alternatives)
      2. Master the search field hotkey for your computer operating system
    9. Learn how to scan books and content quickly
    10. Leverage AI assistants to your advantage
  3. Discover what you want to do and where

    1. Discover what tasks and activities you enjoy
    2. Research which careers involve those activities
    3. Make a short list of employers hiring for specific job listings
    4. Reach out to employers with matching job listings
    5. Track your skill stack (SKILSTAK Coding Arts)
    6. Discover what career opportunities exist in the tech industry
    7. Determine if you want a tech lifestyle
      1. Maximum flexibility for remote work/life balance
      2. Become an autodidact
      3. Learn on your own time (and insist on Fridays)
      4. Be willing to meet whenever and wherever needed
      5. (extra) Understand why coworking can be too distracting
    8. (extra) "Ops? Apps? Which one should I focus on?"
    9. (extra) Know which job you want and why?
    10. (extra) How to survive the collapse of late-stage capitalism
    11. (extra) Know how to find all the "blacksmith" jobs, and why
    12. (extra) Know why freelance web developers fail
    13. (extra) Pay your way through college with tech skills
    14. (extra) "Will cybersecurity be included in the Boost?"
    15. (extra) "What job would resemble that of Elliot in Mr. Robot?"
    16. (extra) "Will AI take my job?"
  4. Learn what is required for the specific career you have targeted

    1. Know when a Computer Science degree can help (or hurt)
    2. Know if you need to go to college or not
    3. Know if you should "certify" or not
    4. Leverage as much free learning as possible
      1. Don't waste time on "leetcode"
      2. Build passionate "solutions" to real problems
      3. NEVER pay money for a "bootcamp"
      4. Do what TJ Holowaychuk does to learn
    5. Consider accredited online college degrees like WGU
    6. (extra) "What if I am not an American?"
  5. Build a professional learning network in person and on social media

    1. Learn from those with actual experience and passion
    2. Find a good mentor
      1. Understand the role of a mentor
      2. (extra) Remembering Rob's mentors
    3. Find a good recruiter
    4. Make yourself discoverable to other tech professionals and employers
      1. Create a GitHub special profile repo
      2. Create a Twitch account
      3. Create a LinkedIn account, but understand its limitations and flaws
      4. Create a Mastodon account
      5. Create a Twitter account (ugh, yes, I know)
    5. Document your projects and learning publicly
  6. Get the job

    1. Understand how employment happens
    2. Know what your job is
    3. Leverage your professional learning network
    4. Publish a resume or CV
      1. Maintain career experience data in YAML
      2. Include currently learning and projects
    5. Never cold-call or spam applications
    6. Beware of LinkedIn
    7. Shun companies that require "white board" interviews
    8. Seek opportunities to demonstrate your skills (internships, take-home projects)