The technology industry is always changing. When you remain up-to-date, you stay competitive as a jobseeker and ultimately as an employee. Beyond that, when you’re aware of what’s happening in the industry, you establish yourself as a passionate professional and have even more content to reference in interviews and when you meet people in the community (at events, meetups etc.).
When you’re current on events and news, you become familiar with more aspects of your industry as a whole—not just your specific vocation. When you have a fuller understanding of all the components, you can connect and relate to a variety of people, like designers, product managers, founders, and more. This further supports the notion that you’re a passionate professional.
When you’re in between prepping for interviews and doing technical challenges, consuming content made by people in the tech community is a very productive way to spend your time while also taking a “break” from job search-related work. Below are three ways you can stay current: listening to podcasts, reading blogs, and subscribing to newsletters.
Podcasts are great for several reasons. For one, they allow you to listen on the go. So while you’re exercising, folding laundry, or commuting to work you can learn something new. They also give you the chance to listen to experienced techies talk about code. (Which is a lot different from reading about code.) When you listen to conversations about technology, you’ll pick up on new terms but also gain a better understanding of words you’re already familiar with. Hearing these conversations will provide more context.
And because podcasts are usually interview-based, they allow you to take a peek into people’s lives. Learn about their career trajectories, side projects, challenges they’ve overcome, and the stuff they’re interested in learning more about. As a new professional in your field, you want to mirror these people and the way they talk.
Suggested podcasts to listen to:
Unlike podcasts where you can listen on the go, reading articles requires your full attention. Blogs, however, are great because they can be more technical by showing things like code samples. (Unlike audio-based podcasts, where you can only get so detailed.)
Suggested blogs to read:
When you subscribe to newsletters, the news shows up right in your inbox. There are many different newsletters for different industries. Some curate top news stories, while others share events going on in your area.
The great thing about newsletters is that you don’t even have to think about going to iTunes to listen to a podcast episode, or visit a website to read an article. Instead, they are sent right to you.
Another benefit to newsletters is that they’re typically quick to digest. Newsletters give you a snapshot of what’s going on, and you can choose to learn more by clicking a headline or event posting.
Suggested newsletters to subscribe to:
If there is a certain topic, person, or company, that you’d like to keep your eye on, set up a Google Alert. Google Alerts help you monitor the web for new content by sending an email notification every time a certain word or phrase is indexed in the Google search engine.
One way you can use Google Alerts is by setting one up for a company that interests you. This way, you’ll stay on top of news. Plus, it can also provide a fodder for follow up emails. Additionally, you can setup an alert for well-known professionals as well as other influencers in your field.
While it’s awesome to consume all this available content, you want to take your efforts beyond that, and contribute to the conversation.
One simple way to do this is by following podcast guests as well as bloggers you admire on Twitter. Tweet at them after hearing their excellent interview, or reading their latest post. This is something that takes a few minutes to do—but can help increase your professional network in the long-run.
More than just telling the person you enjoyed their podcast/article, you can create a blog post about it. After consuming a great piece of content, reflect on it. Then write a blog post about the topic and send it to the speaker/writer. This kind of reflection will stand out from the masses who reach out to them daily on social media.
Ultimately, your goal should be to get interviewed on a podcast, or guest write for a blog. Putting yourself out there in such a way will give yourself more exposure. It can also lead to more connections with like-minded people. And it positions you as an expert on the topic at hand.
When you’re working in a high growth and competitive industry, you need to stay relevant. Your career depends on it. Beyond listening to podcasts, reading blogs, and subscribing to newsletters, your goal is to contribute to the conversation. To do this, you must put yourself out there by reaching out to others and contributing to the dialogue.