Ad tech is competing for the best, brightest and most talented tech minds, and millennials are leading the charge. Entry-level software engineering jobs pay on average approximately $85,000 in New York and $100,000 in San Francisco, which is considerably higher than starting pay in other industries, according to Payscale. It is no surprise that recent graduates are gravitating towards ad tech. They are attracted by competitive salaries, fast paced work, a young environment, and plethora of other top-notch perks. Given this overwhelming interest, it is challenging to secure an ad tech position. Whether you decide to work for an industry goliath or a savvy start-up, you’ll have to plan carefully to turn your profile into one that is highly sought after by hiring managers.
These five smart planning tips will equip you with the fundamentals that every entry-level technologists needs to break into the industry:
- Learn Independently
The best way to start is to write code. Build your own websites, widgets and apps, and contribute to coding communities. Use sites like Codeacademy to fine-tune your skills. Document your code contributions on social platforms like Github and Reddit to create a calling card that promotes your work. Enter online coding challenges like Coderbyte and Codewars to test your skills. When you complete a challenge, compare your solution to other coders, and learn new skills to improve your trade.
- Enroll in Tech Courses
- Gain Real World Experience
Expand your portfolio from an early age. Get involved in programming extracurriculars whether it’s a meetup, tech bootcamp, or an industry hackathon – all great opportunities to network and learn from peers. Secure an internship that will allow you to expand your skill set and learn from experts.
- Be Prepared: Resume and Interview
Your resume need not contain an endless list of programming languages. The best resumes point to the code that you created, and the projects that you completed. Be prepared for interviews that probe the rationale for your coding choices and test your knowledge and problem solving capabilities on the fly. Remember, it’s not only about the elegancy of your code, but about how you solve problems and conceptualize solutions.
- Build Industry Understanding
Stay abreast of industry news by reading publications like Hacker News, The Daily WTF, and Coding Horror. Know the industry players. Attend or follow the most important industry events and conferences, including Def Con, Google I/O, Apple WWDC, and DevOp Con. Remember: conferences often feature student discounts.
Following these five tips will give you a great chance to succeed in landing an ad tech job. Remember that practice makes perfect. Spend time becoming part of the industry culture, develop your skills and write more code. To take advantage of the opportunities in ad tech, you’ll need quality preparation, so start now and work hard!
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