If last year proved anything, it was that America's long history of inequality is not a relic of the past. Many of us spent more time thinking about, speaking up against, and working to change the everyday racism faced by Black people in the United States in 2020 than we did in years past, thanks to the leadership behind the Black Lives Matter movement and media attention over the police brutality faced by Black Americans.
So when honoring Black History Month in 2021, doesn't it seem right to focus not just on the past, but on the present? Not just to learn about the notable accomplishments of impressive Black politicians, artists, and entrepreneurs, but also acknowledge the reality of the Black experience today—and work to improve it?
We asked several of our partner companies what they're doing to honor Black History Month at work, and we were inspired by the range of responses. From digging into economic injustices to investing in projects to support the Black community to sharing the real-life experiences of their Black employees, these companies are finding ways to not only honor Black History Month, but encourage positive change all year round. Here's what they're doing, in their own words:
1.Honoring and Celebrating the Black Family — Freddie Mac
"Our ARISE Business Resource Group is hosting several programs and activities throughout Black History Month that celebrate the diversity of the Black family. The month kicks off with a fireside chat about Black wealth and economics featuring Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. Later in the month, Shanti Das, Executive Director of Silence the Shame, Inc., will share the importance of mental health and well-being. We will close the month with a panel discussion on the Black employee experience at Freddie Mac. The discussion will feature stories of empowerment and resilience that celebrate and support employees."
Learn more about Freddie Mac and their open roles here
2.Investing in Skills and Scholarships — Facebook
"During Black History Month, Facebook Elevate will host programming with the theme GenerationBlack. Among the activities will be a discussion called #GenBlack is Skilled covering how a new generation of Black professionals can be key contributors to a more inclusive society.
Elevate is a community and learning platform to accelerate the economic impact of entities of color. Elevate is committed over the next 3 years to reaching 1 million Black and 1 million Latinx and Hispanic members of the community with training in digital skills as well as distributing 100,000 scholarships to Black learners working toward digital careers."
Learn more about Facebook and their open roles here
3.Planning Virtual Events for the Whole Family — LogMeIn
"At LogMeIn, we will be celebrating Black History Month all month long! Since this year's theme is 'The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity,' our Employee Resource Group, BE@LogMeIn (Black Employees at LogMeIn) will be partnering with our Families ERG (Families@LogMeIn), our Corporate Social Responsibility Program (Mission Possible), and our wellness program (Thrive) to offer engaging, impactful, educational, and fun events all throughout February. We'll be hosting a virtual paint night, virtual volunteering event, discussions with Black authors and publishers, and a fun children's book giveaway as part of our celebrations."
Learn more about LogMeIn and their open roles here
4.Celebrating Black Joy — Moody's
"To kick off our Black History Month celebrations, Moody's will activate our annual Speaker Series and host multiple events that highlight the contributions of the Black community and celebrate Black Joy. Our Black Inclusion Group will be profiling Moody's employees and Black leaders for a weekly, educational newsletter throughout February. In addition, we are producing an employee-led video that shares the importance of Black Joy and cultural/family traditions. Our employees will also be able to choose from an array of Zoom and desktop backgrounds that will display quotes from prominent Black figures."Learn more about Moody's and their open roles here
5.Inspiring, Educating, Engaging—And Investing — ServiceNow
"ServiceNow is honoring Black History Month in the U.S. in February and in Europe in October. We've worked closely with our Black at Now Belonging Group to develop programming that will inspire, educate, and engage employees globally. We have a series of events focused on themes of allyship and intersectionality, which will feature special guest speakers, ServiceNow leaders, and employees in discussion and interactive dialogue. Additionally, we just announced an important piece of our efforts to live our company value, 'embrace diversity, create belonging': a $100M investment in Racial Equity fund, which is focused on building equitable opportunities in underserved Black communities in the U.S."
6.Communicating Inclusively — Clarus
"Here at Clarus we're honoring Black History Month in a couple of ways. Our DEI ERG is encouraging employee conversation by disseminating a companywide email acknowledging BHM and its significance. Additionally, we're promoting employees to be mindful of written communications, specifically in making sure we're using non-biased language.
We continue to partner with WayFinding Partners as they work with us on developing a long-lasting DEI strategy at Clarus. This includes the company partaking in a workshop called 'Let's Talk About Race' — opening our eyes to racism in our society and how we can defeat it."
Learn more about Clarus and their open roles here
7.Centering Black Culture and History — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
"For more than 10 years, Blue Cross NC's African-American and Black Employee Network (AABEN) has created meaningful programming for employees each February in honor of Black History Month. The network has hosted various events to celebrate African-American culture through song, dance, poetry and more. Their programming also provides education and awareness. Topics have ranged from historic Black Wall Street in Durham, to a panel of employees sharing how their hair is part of their identity and how corporate America can be more inclusive of cultural differences, to hearing directly from Black leaders who share their career journey and lessons learned."
Learn more about Blue Cross NC and their open roles here
8.Highlighting Black Luminaries — MongoDB
"To celebrate Black History Month, members of TUPOC — MongoDB's affinity group for people of color — highlight Black luminaries via daily posts in the #black-history Slack channel, a channel that's open year-round but is especially active in February. TUPOC will also honor Black History Month by hosting a company-wide event, and all employees will have access to a cross-company event celebrating Black History."
Learn more about MongoDB and their open roles here.
9.Celebrating and Supporting Black Futures — PagerDuty
"This year, our Black employee resource group at PagerDuty, Array, is approaching Black History Month with the theme 'Black Futures Month: Excellence, Resilience, and Equity.'
Our programming is designed to celebrate Black excellence and highlight our resilience, in order to build an equitable future. We'll be partnering with other employee resource groups representing Black talent across the Tech sector, hosting our first meeting with our first Black board member, Dr. Alec D. Gallimore, fundraising and volunteering with a local middle school of predominantly Black students, and introducing a mentorship program for our Black employees."
Learn more about PagerDuty and their open roles here
10.Empowering Growth and Development — CSL Behring
"CSL Behring will be formally launching the Promising Futures Scholarship mid-February. This scholarship program will award 37 scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 annually.
The program has been specifically set up for our Black colleagues and their dependents to provide financial empowerment and support professional career growth & development."
Learn more about CSL Behring and their open roles here
11.Learning Through Film, Art, and History — Autodesk
"This year in honor of Black History Month, Autodesk is kicking off our festivities with our speaker series. This development opportunity will promote our growth as we learn about the power of storytelling and why we need to call on courage to increase mutual understanding and foster a sense of belonging. In addition to team events, we've partnered with MoAD, the Museum of the African Diaspora, to facilitate film viewings and discussions across culture, art, and Black history."
Learn more about Autodesk and their open roles here
12.Hosting Ta-Nehesi Coates and Town Halls — T. Rowe Price
"T. Rowe Price remains committed to equity and is mindful of the socioeconomic impact of systemic racism. To foster learning on the history of racism and the myriad of ways it shows up in our communities, the firm hosted local and national experts in the last several months. The firm is also providing opportunities to connect with Black leaders within the firm, virtually.
Next month, MOSAIC @ T. Rowe Price, the firm's business resource group (BRG) focused on promoting inclusivity and attracting, developing, and retaining diverse talent, will host New York Times bestselling author Ta-Nehesi Coates. He is the keynote speaker for our annual Black History Month event.
The BRG will also host a town hall to discuss the firm's vision to become a more equitable and inclusive workplace for Black professionals. The discussion will be led by Black leaders with representation from the Management Committee and several advocacy groups."
Learn more about T. Rowe Price and their open roles here
13.Sparking Curiosity and Dialogues — Bounteous
"Bounteous honors Black History Month to pay tribute to the accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout history. This year, Bounteous' affinity group, b: shades, curated a collection of events that span the entire month. The events include movie screenings, trivia nights, a brave space conversation, and a guest speaker appearance by Dr. Annice E. Fisher. Additionally, our team will host a special edition of our Get to Know Bounteous info-session on February 11 at 12:00PM CT for people who attend or have attended Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU) and any person who identifies as Black/African American and/or a Person of Color. Bounteous celebrates all month long through these educational and social events geared towards sparking curiosity and hopefully, a dialogue."
Learn more about Bounteous and their open roles here
14.Celebrating Trailblazers — New Relic
"In honor of Black History Month, our Relics of Color ERG has put together a spectacular lineup of
events and activities to celebrate Black excellence in tech and beyond. This month, we will celebrate our inaugural Mikey Butler Day. Mikey was a VP of Engineering at New Relic until his passing in late 2019. He was a trailblazer in technology, and an amazing and inspiring leader, coach, and mentor. Other activities include a fishbowl discussion on 'What Does Black History Mean to You?' and a Black Trail Blazers employee spotlight series celebrating our Relics of Color."
Learn more about New Relic and their open roles here
15.Reading and Learning Together — CarGurus
"Our People of Color (POC@CarGurus) Employee Resource Group (ERG) will be sponsoring multiple events in celebration of Black History Month (some events will be co-sponsored with several of our internal ERGs). These events will consist of speaker series, workshops, and group (virtual) activities!
Events planned include a discussion with Gretchen Sorin, author of Driving While Black, a Black History Month Stump Trivia night, a reading of Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler, and a Family Reading Night where we will by providing children's books written by Black authors."
Learn more about CarGurus and their open roles here
16.Launching an Employee Resource Group — Mindbody
"Mindbody will be celebrating Black History Month with the inaugural launch of our Mindbody Black Alliance ERG. MB Black Alliance members have developed a full program of content to celebrate, educate and foster awareness of black culture everywhere, from past to present. We will be highlighting our own team member stories and aligning them with the businesses that we serve."
Learn more about Mindbody and their open roles here
17.Addressing Workplace Equity — StackOverflow
"BnB creates a safe space for Black and Brown employees within Stack Overflow. Instead of working with only one team on initiatives or confining programming to one month, BnB partners with Stack's leadership to address workplace equity across multiple dimensions, long-term. This includes:
- Helping all employees educate themselves on racial injustice
- Partnering with HR on D&I efforts
- Providing leadership opportunities for employees of color
- Ensuring content channels - from our popular blog to our podcast - are inclusive in their approach to storytelling
- Donating resources like money, products, and services to organizations that promote the social advancement of people of color"
Learn more about StackOverflow and their open roles here
18.Stories Untold — CallRail
"Our goal is to make Black history more relatable to people who aren't as familiar with the Black experience. Historically, Black History Month is associated with overcoming struggles and highlighting injustices. We want to demystify the Black experience through focusing on Black lives throughout the African diaspora. There are many untold stories of diverse culture, unity, and joy that we feel should be shared as a part of our history."
Learn more about CallRail and their open roles here
19.Supporting the Fight Against Racial Injustice — Folsom Labs
"Folsom Labs is celebrating Black History Month by focusing on community support. It is important to us to show our continued support for the Black Community not only in February but as an ongoing company initiative. Last year we held an employee charity matching event to support those that are doing critical work in the fight against racial injustices. On our team, we believe long-lasting change starts from within. So this year, not only are we kicking-off Black History Month with another charity event, but we're also focusing on ongoing DEI education and training for employees."
Learn more about Folsom Labs and their open roles here
20.Volunteering and Learning Through Film — Commvault
"At Commvault we are excited to host our 2nd Black History Month celebration. Even though this year we are virtual, we have kicked things off with a Martin Luther King Memorial Virtual Tour, on MLK Day, for our Vaulters and their families. Vaulters in the US were excited to have a day to reflect and volunteer in their communities. Our Multi-Culture ERG is blogging internally daily about prominent Black figures, weekly Black History Trivia, and will end the month with filmmaker Keith Beauchamp who will talk about Black history and share his film The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till."
Learn more about Commvault and their open roles here
21.Spotlighting Black Excellence — NBA
"The NBA is honoring Black History Month with the following initiatives:
- "#BlackExcellence Spotlight – Internal NBA website (Home Court) will spotlight Black employees across the company as they reflect on 2020, look ahead to the future and share details about what work they are proud of, in or outside of the office.
- Player Conversation – Current NBA player will join a virtual conversation about the fight for racial justice, how he supports Black businesses, celebrates Black culture and more.
- Virtual volunteer opportunities with the YesSheCanCampaign and Jersey Cares
- NBA Town Hall on Leaguewide Social Justice Efforts"
Learn more about the NBA and their open roles here
22.Hosting Fireside Chats - Procore
"Black History Month in the U.S. takes place each year in February. This year, we turned to members of Procore's African [Descent[ Council (PAC) employee resource group to learn what the month means to them—and why it matters to the communities in which we live and work.
One of the many ways we're celebrating Black History Month at Procore is by hosting an internal virtual fireside chat about the life and legacy of Black leaders and the significance of the month. All employees have been invited to join select speakers for a discussion about the annual commemoration and ways to get involved. The fireside chat is part of an ongoing speaker series that explores stories and conversations around life, race, gender, social justice, and equality. Learn more about Procore's Employee Resource Groups and ongoing efforts to build a more inclusive and diverse future."
Learn more about Procore and their open roles here.
23.Educating & Celebrating with Events, Guest Speakers, and More — Raytheon Technologies
"In honor of Black History Month, our Raytheon Black Employee Network (RAYBEN) employee resource group has planned a series of events that educate, celebrate, and honor the importance of Black history. This month-long program of events focuses on the cultural diversity of the Black community, moments in Black history, guest speakers, including former football running back Brian Mitchell and poet Nikki Giovanni, and games that bridge the gap between the past and the future. We also use this opportunity to highlight our Black employees throughout the month."
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies and their open roles here.
24.Facilitating Courageous Conversations — Lockheed Martin
"Our theme for Black History Month 2021 is, 'The Black Family: Representation, Diversity and Identity.' Lockheed Martin's African American Council for Excellence (AACE) Business Resource Group will use Black History Month to explore the wide-ranging diversity of the black family life through educational content, presentations and courageous conversations. We will also use this month to bring families together and reconnect as we view black stories and learn to make a simple meal where everyone can contribute. What's more? Our focus won't end there. Beyond Black History Month, AACE will support multiple programs to recruit, retain and develop black employees and give back to our community."
Learn more about Lockheed Martin and their open roles here.
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Yun Freund considers her background to form the “typical immigrant story” — but sitting down with the SVP of Platform and Product at Equinix, it’s clear she’s made it her own.
“I came to the United States about 30 years ago with $80 in my pocket. I earned a CS degree from a Beijing university when computer science was new. I was good at math, so that’s what I studied,” explains Yun.
Fast forward a few decades, and Yun is now running one of the largest organizations at Equinix, a Fortune 500 digital infrastructure company focused on providing an interconnected platform to its global 10k customers. While focusing on external growth — the business has grown nearly 40% since her arrival — Yun has also invested in internal progress, especially when it comes to Equinix’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB) goals.
“I know first-hand how hard it is, as an Asian and a woman, to be able to survive and excel at a workplace, and I’m proud of how Equinix has grown to be an amazing workplace where employees feel that they are safe, belong, and matter,” says Yun.
That’s not just her opinion. Glassdoor confirms this, having given the company a “best place to work” distinction in 2021, and a special award for best places to work for LGBTQ+ equality list by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
We were excited to learn more about Yun’s strategies for empowering her team — including her belief that making room for failure is just as important as celebrating success.
The Intersection of Technological Innovation and People Management
Yun first heard about Equinix through a recruiter. Decades into her career in tech leadership, she was looking for a role where she could drive innovation in both technology and people management.
“After many rounds of discussion with our executives, I realized Equinix is a company that’s full of potential. It was doing a lot of innovation on interconnected SaaS products and networking products, and I thought I could really help drive, from a culture and process perspective, the company's digital transformation journey,” reflects Yun.
Her first order of business? Building a strategy for scaling product development. Yun had long worked at the intersection of engineering and people management, and she embraced the challenge to scale a talent strategy as well as changing the culture.
That resulted in clear growth — not just for Yun’s career, as in promotions and new responsibilities, but also in what the company was able to do.
“Helping to cultivate a DevOps culture, move products to the Cloud for high reliability and availability, and build operational excellence for our customers is contributing to us fulfilling our purpose, which is to be the platform where the world comes together, enabling the innovations that enrich our work, life and planet,” says Yun.
Diverse Ways of Measuring Impact
Yun doesn’t manage her team by the balance sheet alone.
“Improving the bottom line, or operating more efficiently, is just as important as improving the top line, or driving more revenue and more customer adoption,” she says. “Sometimes it’s not about how we get new products and services out the door, but how we run things more efficiently.”
For Equinix, says Yun, that includes committing to becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.
“We’re a company that really touches life every day, from online shopping, to sending emails and streaming movies, to smart cars,” says Yun. “We want to be doing that sustainably. For example, by using AI and machine learning to lower our power consumption and using green sources of energy.”
Yun knows that to drive the most impact, Equinix needs a diverse team. She has partnered with other senior leaders and employee connection groups and started driving a more coherent DIB strategy across the company. She is excited to see the progress and wants to continue the effort in building a diverse and safe workplace for everyone — including by leading through her own example.
3 Key Ways to Empower Your Team
When Yun says that it’s important to empower your team, she doesn’t mean that you simply transfer the responsibility to your team and call it done. Here’s what she does mean:
- Embrace failure. “It’s easy to say, ‘Ah, empowerment. Here’s the purpose, go drive impact.’ But sometimes it’s not all rosy,” she says. “The road to empowerment can sometimes be a failure. How do you support your employees along the way? When they fail, you should not blame them. You should be there, on their side, to help them do a retrospective and learn from it.”
- Show trust via delegation. “Giving your team the opportunity to make their own decisions helps give them a purpose. It shows them they can make a difference. Accountability and ownership will help drive your team to have deeper engagement and commitments, and ultimately deliver results.”
- Tie individual responsibilities to company OKRs (Objectives, Key Results). “I always communicate to my team that every engineer and individual contributor’s work will have an impact on the business, no matter how small that is,” says Yun. For example, if an engineer is working on a new digital experience component for the customers, their work will contribute to some kind of business outcome such as, hours saved from many customer support calls or customer satisfaction score improvement, and that in turn drives operational efficiency and customer experience improvement for the whole business. “When employees realize their impact on the business, it elevates their motivation as well as their state of mind.”
We all have our favorite websites– the ones we frequent, bookmark, and recommend to others. You might even enjoy some website features so much that you’ve found yourself wondering why they aren’t more popular. Or maybe you’ve experienced times where you were frustrated with a website and wished you could add features or even design your own!
If you’ve ever found yourself intrigued at the prospect of designing and developing your own websites, then a career as a web developer might be just for you!
As a web developer you would be responsible for coding, designing, optimizing, and maintaining websites. Today, there are over 1.7 billion websites in the world and, in turn, the demand for web developers is on the rise. In order to figure out what kind of web development work best suits you let’s start with an introduction to the three main roles in web development that you can choose from.
The Three Types of Web Development Jobs
Front-End Web Development: The Creative Side
In addition to programming skills, front-end developers need to be detail oriented, creative, willing to keep up with the latest trends in web development, cyber security conscious, and geared toward user-friendly designs. The median salary for a front-end developer can reach well into the $90,000 to $100,000 range.
Back-End Web Development: The Logical Counterpart
While a house can be beautifully decorated, it’s incomplete without a solid foundation and efficient infrastructure. Similarly, a well-designed website depends on logical and functional code to power the features of that website. Back-end web development is code-heavy and focused on the specifics of how a website works. If you enjoy the analytical challenge of creating the behind-the-scenes code that powers a website, then back-end development is for you.
Full-Stack Web Development: A Little Bit of Everything
A full-stack developer is essentially the Jack (or Jill)-of-all-trades in web development. Full-stack developers need to be knowledgeable about both front-end and back-end roles. This does not necessarily imply that you would need to be an expert in both roles, but you should fully understand the different applications and synergies they each imply. In order to work in this position, you will need to know the programming languages used by front-end and back-end developers. In addition to these languages, full-stack developers also specialize in databases, storage, HTTP, REST, and web architecture.
Full-stack developers are often required to act as liaisons between front-end and back-end developers. Full-stack developers need to be both problem solvers and great communicators. The end goal for a full-stack developer is to ensure that the user’s experience is seamless, both on the front-end and on the back-end. In return, you can expect to earn a median salary of $100,000 – $115,000 a year for this role.
Taking the Next Step
Web development is both in-demand and lucrative! All three roles described above contribute to specific aspects of web development and the scope of each one can be customized to the industries and positions you feel best suit you. Regardless of which role you choose, all of them need a foundation in programming.
To gain the programming skills needed in each role, you can enroll in courses or learn independently. Coding bootcamps are a great way to boost your skillset quickly and efficiently.
Click here for some of our highly rated programming bootcamp options! Make sure to check out the discounts available to PowerToFly members.
💎For a successful job search you need to be very strategic, focused, and intentional about your career. Watch the video to the end to get advice on how to achieve it!
📼Be successful in your job search by identifying the career goals you’d like to achieve over the next 12 to 18 months. LaMont Price, Senior Recruiter, and Meg Fronckowiak, Senior Talent Acquisition Recruiter at Tenable, share with you the benefits of having a short-term career development plan and understanding your unique value proposition.
📼A successful job search requires you to take a deep dive into the job description. Look at your resume and try to match the skills and the qualifications and highlight that on your resume, so it stands out. Secondly, do your research. You want to make sure that you've taken a look at the company website. You've looked at the leadership of the company, the size of the company, and the culture of the company. And to go one step further, look at the interviewer. Look them up on LinkedIn, and take a look at their background. Recruiters always look for people who have great insightful questions that show the level of research the person did.
📼You’ll be successful in a job search if you know how to face the interview process. Every interview includes some don’ts. Don't be late. There's nothing worse than showing up late for an interview. Dress Professionally. Try to be in a quiet place so that you're not distracted. Get through the interview process, show that you're engaged, and have good body language. At the end of the interview, you always want to ask if there's any question that maybe you weren't able to answer. And always ask about the interview process to get a good understanding of the timeline.
A Successful Job Search Requires Research - Learn About A Company’s Values!
Recruiters need to know if you are aligned with the company’s culture. If you want to apply to Tenable, you should know that its core values are diversity, equity, and inclusion. They work together and they win together, and this is an idea that resonates throughout the entire organization. Tenable celebrates all of its employees. This allows them to focus on the equal representation of women and minorities in technical roles, sales roles, and leadership roles. The company provides training for all of its employees in diversity, equity, and inclusion. This helps employees to understand how their behaviors can impact others. Make sure to show that you are aligned with these values during your interview!
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Tenable? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know LaMont Price and Meg Fronckowiak
Over the last 25+ years, LaMont Price has researched, analyzed, and optimized services and products by exploiting the latest tools and tactics aligned with the strategic goal via Attention, Differentiation, Trust, and Memorability. Meg Fronckowiak has been working in the recruiting and talent attraction since 2003 and she spent the majority of her career working across all disciplines including, Building out GTM Teams, Accounting & Finance, Marketing, Operations, and Sales Leadership. If interested in a career at Tenable, you can connect with LaMont and Meg on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Tenable
Tenable empowers all organizations to understand and reduce their cybersecurity risk. Over 30,000 organizations, more than 50% being fortune 500 companies worldwide, rely on Tenable to help them understand and reduce cybersecurity risk. The company has some of the greatest minds. That’s because they bring people who come from diverse backgrounds and give them the resources and support to partner together to bring new ideas to life.
Monica Arias has long been interested in the new and the next. That interest is what drove her to work in national security after 9/11, and in the cryptocurrency space after learning about modern-day crimes committed on the blockchain.
One thing she has noticed every time she’s been somewhere new: the importance of having a diverse early team to shape it.
“We need minorities to be willing to take a chance and apply to firms like ours and other tech firms,” says Monica, who is currently a Federal Business Development Lead at Chainalysis, a blockchain data platform. “As these companies grow rapidly, we need diverse candidates who can offer diverse thoughts and approaches to problems.”
Monica currently works closely with the Chainalysis federal government team to pursue opportunities to support customers that are in need of Chainalysis data to track blockchain criminals and bring them to justice. She was well-prepared for some parts of the job after holding various roles but had to come up the curve on technical skills — which is why she’s sure that other candidates like her, from non-technical, underrepresented backgrounds, will be able to do so, too.
We sat down with Monica to hear more about how marginalized people can break into crypto and best position themselves for success in the field.
Connecting to a Bigger Mission
Growing up around DC, Monica got early exposure to federal service. From a young age, she knew she wanted to help represent and advocate for people.
She went to law school, thinking that would be the best path to fulfilling her goals. But living through 9/11 inspired her to support national security missions more actively. That’s how she got her first exposure to her now-employer — she brought in Chainalysis for a demo to learn how to on leverage their blockchain analysis tools.
“I’ve always wanted to be a part of something that had a bigger mission,” says Monica. “And the crypto space had that.”
It wasn’t just any crypto company that interested Monica, though. She particularly liked the company’s innovative culture and fast growth.
“Chainalysis is a very open and encouraging place,” says Monica, who came in to interview at the startup having studied up on crypto, but never having worked in the field or with blockchain technology.
“The culture is very much about learning, and they’ve created an environment where they enable you to do so. The underlying foundation is ongoing learning, and soliciting ideas on how to evolve and expand.”
Leveraging a Non-Technical Background
Monica gets what it’s like to not want to apply to an opportunity because you feel underqualified — that’s what happened to her.
“In some conversations, the feedback I received was that I didn’t have enough of a technical background and that therefore it would be challenging to go and join a tech firm,” she says. “It’s a big deterrent for so many people. And it also compounds things. Because if you’re a minority or from an underrepresented group, you’re already less likely to apply. And if you have no technical background, you’re even less likely to do so.”
How did Monica break through that? She got creative.
“I had to take a step back and say, ‘You know, I have skills. How can I transfer those into a non-technical role supporting a tech firm?” she says.
We asked her to share more about what that process was like, and here’s what she said:
5 Tips as You Gear Up to Be Competitive in the Tech Industry
- Find firms that are in fields you find interesting. Since you’re going to have to do a lot of learning, find a tech firm that is involved in a field you are excited about. Monica found her interest - crypto! She’s excited to continuously be learning about the rapidly changing crypto landscape. She added, “the tech industry can be demanding so you need to stay motivated about the work you’re doing and believe in the company you’re with.”
- Find firms that are open-minded, too. Interviewing at Chainalysis even without technical skills on her resume didn’t pose a problem for Monica. That’s because they were willing to look at her in her entirety. “It’s not just, ‘Do you fit A, B, and C,’ but ‘Do you have the overall skills and ability to learn and grow in this type of field?’”
- Recognize your transferable skills. Monica coaches other people with non-technical backgrounds like hers to start by acknowledging their accomplishments in their own fields. “What have you done? Is it people managing? Because these firms manage people in one way or another. Those and other skills can be leveraged and transferred,” says Monica. “Literally, make a list and identify those skills, then highlight those skills throughout your resume.”
- Remember that most people are in the same boat. “You won’t come across too many candidates who have 10 years of crypto experience, because this field is new,” says Monica. “The perfect candidate who meets every single qualification listed in a job ad may not exist so instead recruiters — especially those who are good at their jobs - spend time getting to know candidates. But they can't get to know you if you are deterred from applying by thinking you don't meet all the qualifications.”
- Study up. Monica follows crypto influencers, keeps up with crypto companies on LinkedIn, follows government statements on crypto, and reads reports put out by her firm and others. “If this is your focus, you need to read, talk, and network — just be curious,” she says.