For the third year in a row, sf.citi hosted our popular speed networking event, Breaking Into Tech. Organized in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s edition looked different from our previous Breaking Into Tech events. For one, sf.citi devoted an entire week to our 2020 rendition to fully address drastic shifts in the job landscape that we’ve seen as a result of COVID-19. And given San Francisco’s shelter-in-place mandate, this year’s Breaking Into Tech event was entirely online.
BREAKING INTO TECH DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Breaking Into Tech Week began on April 28 with an informative panel discussion about landing a job in the tech industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic. To guide this timely conversation, sf.citi Executive Director Jennifer Stojkovic talked to several people well versed on hiring trends and best practices, especially in tech. Before diving into the details of job readiness in the age of COVID-19, Lisa Quiroz-Countryman, CEO of JVS, gave opening remarks. JVS is a proud member of sf.citi’s One City Forum and prepares job seekers in the Bay Area for high-demand occupations in growing sectors.
We know that understanding the job market is the most fundamental step in a successful job search . . . Never in our lifetime have we experienced such a dramatic change in circumstance as we have over the last several weeks.
—Lisa Quiroz-Countryman, CEO, JVS
We then heard from Ketan Anjaria, CEO of HireClub, Efrem Bycer, Economic Graph Manager at LinkedIn, and Rachel Yaeger, Director of Global Acquisition at Zendesk.
Hiring Trends During COVID-19
As the Economic Graph Manager at LinkedIn, Efrem Bycer has been tracking which positions are most in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unsurprisingly, many of the roles currently available are part of the COVID-19 public health response, including health care professionals, social workers, and grocery store retailers.
Brycer has also observed a 28 percent increase in postings for remote jobs, many of which are in tech. Some of the most in demand remote roles on LinkedIn include the following:
- Full-stack engineer
- DevOps engineer
- Software engineer
- Computer sales associate
- Account executive
- Solutions architect
- Solutions engineer
In his work at career coaching platform HireClub, CEO Ketan Ajaria has seen a surge of demand for great project and product managers, especially with a whole new suite of problems that need to be solved in light of COVID-19.
Director of Global Acquisition at Zendesk, Rachel Yaeger, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of customer success roles, most of which can be done entirely remote. “Customer success is the lifeblood of what makes sure our customers don’t turn; that they’re happy; that they’re getting the support from our support team that they need,” she said.
Job and Hiring Predictions After COVID-19
The panelists all agreed that our post-COVID-19 world will likely strike a happy medium between remote and in-person work. Yaeger pointed out that widespread work-from-home policies have forced people to learn how to communicate better and “not rely on hallway conversations.”
Remote work, in lots of ways, opens up a lot of opportunities . . . You don’t have to live in a very expensive area in order to get access to a high-paying job.
—Ketan Anjaria, CEO, HireClub
Anjaria and Brycer highlighted several skills that are especially important when it comes to remote work. Communication and strong writing skills are key, they said, as are time management skills. And they encouraged job seekers to practice describing skills that can add value when working remotely.
BREAKING INTO TECH BREAKOUT SESSIONS
sf.citi then organized four virtual speed networking sessions from April 29–30 to connect current and aspiring tech workers. Similar to our 2018 and 2019 Breaking Into Tech events, these speed networking activities proved enriching for mentors and job seekers alike. We talked through common misconceptions about working in tech and heard lots of great career advice.
Crowdsourced Career Advice
Never turn down an opportunity to make a fool of yourself in an interview. You’ll get better over time.
—Arnold Sandoval, Okta
Do what you can to help those above you to succeed and progress, they will bring you up with them.
—Samantha Bartlett, LinkedIn
Remember that the people you work with today may be the people you work with tomorrow.
Document, document. And when you’re done documenting, document some more.
—Thomas Joseph, Okta
Interview early and interview often.
—Julian Ontiveros, Coinbase
Job Readiness Resources
- See who’s hiring (and who’s not) during the COVID-19 pandemic (Candor)
- Post and find jobs for Black, Latinx, and Native American professionals (Jopwell)
- Access valuable job training resources and curriculum (LinkedIn)
- Check out this job toolkit, which includes information on immigration, mentoring, and more (London & Partners)
PARTICIPANT FEEDBACK ABOUT BREAKING INTO TECH WEEK
Three takeaways from @sfciti’s #breakintotech event today: effective communication is essential, networking is key, and using TikTok for a job application can get you places. Brb as I practice my TikTok dances.
— Sarah (@supervieira) April 29, 2020
I just spent one of my favorite hours of #quarantine in a virtual career mentoring session with @sfciti. It was amazing to meet a new generation of talent. Even more exciting to find out @adityakiwi had already visited Twitter through our amazing @TwitterCareers program! pic.twitter.com/t71C4mQZR2
— Karl Robillard (@KarlRobillard1) April 30, 2020
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