💎 When looking ahead in your career, you probably want to acquire new technical knowledge. But what’s the best way to train for it and learn new skills? Don’t miss these tips on how to improve your tech skills!
📼 Play this video to get three top tips on how to improve your tech skills. You'll hear from Mina Zhou, Lead Application Security Engineer, and Matt Battles, Engineering Lead in the ACS division of Autodesk.
📼 Tip #1: Master the Skill (Don’t Rush Through It!). The first tip on how to improve your tech skills goes like this: when you’re learning a new skill or technology, it’s best to take the time to thoroughly master it. Make sure you truly understand a new term or concept before moving on. Avoid rushing through it. Sometimes people will focus more on the topic they are familiar with and skim through those they aren’t. Instead, keep researching and exploring the same issue until you feel like you get it. If you’ve read through the docs and are still stuck, schedule some time with a colleague or friend to discuss the problem. This will help you improve your communication skills as well, since clearly articulating an issue can be the best way to find a solution quickly and efficiently. And remember: Learning is a marathon, not a sprint.
📼 Tip #2: Learn by Doing. The second tip on how to improve your tech skills centers around this: If there’s an area of your code you are unfamiliar with, try picking up a bug in that domain. This will help you to immerse yourself in the code and give you a place to start digging, rather than trying to understand an entire domain at once. Diving in and getting to the core of an issue can be very meaningful, and solving the problem will help cement the knowledge into your mind. When you feel stuck on a project and look for solutions online, try not to copy and paste other people's work line by line without reviewing it. Make sure you understand their approaches and what they did differently to make things work. Then, implement the same idea with different methods and figure out what works best for you. With this, you are not only building one thought process per problem but actually figuring out the best solution and owning it.
Top Tips on How to Improve Your Tech Skills: Last-Minute Tip!
📼 Tip #3: Set Measurable and Useful Goals. When defining goals, focus on things you can measure and start small! Break down your long-term goal into short-term tasks with reasonable deadlines. You would not want to go too fast and burn out or set a date too far away to make you feel motivated. Really focus on the why. Think about what you want to get out of being an engineer and how you'd like your career to progress over the next two or even five years. This will help you set goals that align with your ambitions and derive lots of meaning from them. If you fail to meet a deadline, instead of blaming yourself, adjust your plan and think about what you can do better next time. And do the same thing when you meet a deadline earlier as well! Ask yourself, were you not being ambitious enough? Is it easier than you thought? Or did you find a new technique that works better for you than usual? And most importantly, when you achieve something: Celebrate!
📨 Are you interested in joining Autodesk? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
More About Autodesk
From the greenest buildings to the cleanest cars, the smartest factories to the biggest stories, amazing things are created every day with Autodesk. Over four decades, they've worked together with customers to transform how things are made and what can be made. A car's performance now inspires the method of its manufacture, a city's infrastructure helps predict the unpredictable, and the creation of ever-bigger universes shapes ever-bigger stories. Today, Autodesk solutions span countless industries empowering innovators everywhere. But they're restless to do more. They don't believe in waiting for progress; they believe in making it. By combining and recombining technologies. By blurring boundaries, reinventing rules, and merging fields. By unleashing talent and unlocking insights across industries. By helping their customers converge on solutions to the challenges we all face today. At Autodesk, they believe that when you have the right tools to work and think flexibly, you have the power to transform what needs making. The ability to design and create a better world for all.
Below is an article originally written by Nina Yang, Software Engineer at PowerToFly Partner Yelp, and published on September 9, 2019. Go to Yelp's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Finding that first job in the tech industry can be a daunting task. You might not get a response to your application, or maybe you'll move forward with the interview, but it doesn't pan out in the end. You might wonder, "How are other people successful at getting offers? What do others do differently? What's the secret to getting through this arduous process?"
The answer is pretty simple: lots of practice. While there's never a guarantee of getting an offer, following these recommendations can increase your chances of successfully going through the interview process and potentially landing your dream job!
Know the Basic Flow
When you start interviewing, expect to follow this basic structure. Below is Yelp's interview process, but many companies have something similar:
- Online coding challenge
- Technical video interview
- Onsite interview
Review CS Fundamentals
Before you begin the interview process, you'll need to have a good grasp of fundamental CS knowledge. If it's been a while, review data structures and algorithms. I highly recommend Introduction to Algorithms as a good resource. If textbooks aren't for you, you can find an abundant amount of public resources online. Keep in mind that when a company decides to not proceed at any stage of the interview process, they will likely have you wait 6 months or more before you can reapply. It's important to be prepared before you apply so you can get the most out of your experience.
For coding exercises, most companies will allow you to choose your programming language. Even if your preferred language is different from the company's primary coding language, use it! This is your opportunity to demonstrate your coding knowledge and show your best work to the interviewer. Pro tip! The interview process is not the time to attempt a new language. Stick to your strengths.
If you don't have a strong preference, consider the trade-offs of different programming languages. For example, one of the biggest constraints for any interview is time, so using a scripted language like Python over a compiled language like Java could be an advantage. Statically typed languages like Java and C++ are considered very verbose, which can take some time to transfer from your head onto a screen or whiteboard. In addition to being less verbose, scripting languages like Python have more flexibility with data structures such as slice notation.
Now that you have the fundamentals down, it's time to practice! Out of all the options available online, many engineers favor LeetCode. Leetcode categorizes problems by difficulty, which is helpful when you're preparing for an interview. The first technical interview typically covers easy to medium level questions, and onsite interviews medium to hard, so it's important to practice all levels. From personal experience and online suggestions, you should do 100-200 Leetcode questions to be prepared.
Practicing coding will help you at every stage in the interview process. However, you'll want to make sure you also prepare for the online coding challenge, which is typically the first step. Take advantage of any practice tests made available to you on the website that the company uses (for Yelp, it's currently HackerRank). Practice will allow you to familiarize yourself with the UI and the environment, so those won't be barriers when taking the timed version. When you're ready to take the test, be sure you're are in a quiet place without interruptions and that you have a reliable internet connection. You don't want technical difficulties affecting your performance.
Prepare for the First Interview
Once you're done with independent study, it's time to mimic a real life interview! There are many online resources, such as Pramp, to help you get comfortable with interview situations. Doing mock interviews will let you practice coding while explaining your thought process. It's important to know that during an interview, you are evaluated on your technical thought process, and not just your code. This is often what distinguishes an outstanding candidate from an average candidate. There is no substitute for practicing saying your thoughts out loud— you don't want your actual interview to be the first time you try.
During your first interview, there are at least three times when you should speak up:
- At the beginning, always reiterate the problem back to the interviewer to make sure your understanding is aligned. This is your chance to ask follow-up and/or clarifying questions. It is important that you ask clarifying questions instead of making assumptions, as some interviewers will purposely omit criteria to test that candidate will ask the proper questions.
- When it comes time for a solution, it's best to offer two or three options and discuss the pros/cons of each with your interviewer. Once you've reached a consensus, be sure to either explain the components you plan to code, or make comments, before moving on to actually writing code.
- Once you're done writing code, walk through each line to look for errors. If everything looks good, you can verbally unit test your code. Depending on the difficulty of the problem, your interviewers may ask follow up questions or provide additional parts to the problem.
Remember that in an interview, timing matters! Don't assume that the first question that the interviewer asks will be the only question and be sure to keep a steady pace throughout the interview.
I hope all of this was helpful as you embark on the interview process! See below for key takeaways and additional resources.
- Whether you have old class notes, pick up a book to review, or study online, know your fundamentals before jumping into the process.
- Use your preferred coding language in practice and in interviews.
- Practice as many coding challenges as you can, ranging in level of difficulty. It helps to browse the website of the company's online coding challenge to get familiar with the set up.
- Practice sharing your technical thought process out loud.
- Reiterate the problem and state assumptions.
- Tell the interviewer why you're choosing the solution that you chose.
- At the end, walk through the code for errors and explain what you see.
- Always keep an eye on time and keep the conversation moving.
Become an Engineer at Yelp
We work on a lot of cool projects at Yelp, if you're interested apply!
Join us April 16th from 6pm to 8:30pm at Work-Bench in NYC
If you are a New York-based tech professional who is interested in attending this event, please email email@example.com to be considered for an invite.
Join PowerToFly and women tech leaders from Bloomberg, Peloton, and TodayTix for an evening of illuminating tech talks and networking.
This invite-only evening will include tech talks and product demos from women tech leaders at each of our featured companies followed by audience Q&A. Whether you are looking for new job opportunities or just want to network with your peers over complimentary food and drinks, we hope you can join us.
The event will be held on April 16th from 6pm to 8:30pm at Work-Bench, located at 110 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor.
Featured companies include:
- Bloomberg - No other company processes financial data into meaningful and actionable information with the breadth and depth that Bloomberg does. Their 5,000+ engineers and data scientists are dedicated to building and advancing new solutions for the Bloomberg Terminal and enterprise products. Together, Bloomberg's team rolls out new software daily that integrates seamlessly — and immediately — into their clients' workflows.
- Peloton - Peloton is more than a bike. When you join Peloton, you get the opportunity to work alongside the most creative and innovative minds in the field. A few of the benefits and perks of working here are a 401k plan with a 4% match, $100 a month towards your student loans, $100 a month towards a college savings plan; Medical, Dental, Vision and Life Insurance, discounted bikes for you and your friends/family, a complimentary digital subscription service, a great work-life balance.
- TodayTix - Launched in 2013, TodayTix is redefining the way you see theatre. They have created an international ticketing platform that connects global audiences in 13 cities to the $50 billion live entertainment business by helping people secure the best discounted and full-price last minute tickets for the most sought after shows around.
Agenda (Subject to Change)
- 6:00pm - Check-In & Networking over Cocktails & Light Food
- 6:30pm - Event Kickoff by Work-Bench
- 6:35pm - Introductory Remarks by PowerToFly
- 6:40pm - Tech Talks & Audience Q&A with Women Tech Leaders
- 7:20pm - Closing Remarks
- 7:25pm - Networking Continues over Cocktails & Light Food
About Work-Bench: Work-Bench is an enterprise technology-focused VC fund based in New York City. Work-Bench invests in the next era of enterprise founders selling into the Fortune 500 and supports startups through customer acquisition and community. The firm's investments include CoreOS, Cockroach Labs, Algorithmia, Merlon Intelligence, Dialpad, Socure, and other leading enterprise startups. Follow Work-Bench on Twitter and sign up for the 15K+ subscriber Enterprise Weekly newsletter.
About our Events: All RSVP'd attendees are welcome, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, or age. If you require assistance to fully participate in this event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will contact you to discuss your specific needs.
Unfortunately, PowerToFly cannot admit outside recruiters to this particular event. Please email email@example.com if you have any questions about this policy.
According to Margaret, "people would be surprised about how much cutting edge technology goes into making the in-air experience...the same as that in one's own living room".
Are you interested in those kinds of innovative tech jobs at Thales?
If yes, then click here to see all available opportunities at Thales and don't forget to press 'Follow' to receive custom job matches, event invitations and more!