Four (4) ways Tech Communities has changed my career (By David Chijioke)
In September 2018, I was struggling in my career as a rookie in software engineering. I was working for a small startup and there were lots of questions I had about navigating my career which no one in my organization could give a tangible answer to. I started messaging people on social media asking for help, but no one seemed to respond and even when they did, they didn't have the patience to stay through.
My first contact with communities shortly later was at the Google Developer’s Festival and from then, I joined more and more communities that have impacted my career trajectory. Today, I lead an amazing product team as a product manager, also helping and mentoring other new folks in the tech space. In this piece, I'll share with you four ways that being part of these tech communities has changed my career:
1. Discovering My Passion:
It was until I joined a community that I discovered there was a career path called 'product management. From that point onwards, it took my interest and from that day, I haven’t been more passionate in all my life about a career path. However before then, I wasn't sure where I was headed, or why I was headed there. That's the power of community. Beyond the exposure, I also had a clear roadmap on how to go about my passion just by listening to others.
2. Collective Motivation (The Wolf Pack mentality):
The career walk is a lonely path and I learnt early never to walk my career path alone rather, move in a pack. Study others, their wins, processes and failures, and build on their experiences. I was always asking questions and was never embarrassed about it because when you see people passionately involved in the process as you are, it results in an intense drive and motivation. That way, you stay and move with the pack.
3. Social Networking and Professional Support:
It became pretty easy for me to get a new role. Not because I had the experience, but because I had built a strong relationship with a group of renowned mentors and professionals who could put in recommendations to get me through the door. Today, I am an active member of the most exciting tech community: Black Valley, a global community dedicated to increasing equity in tech by fostering an environment where talents from Black ethnic backgrounds can thrive. These platforms don't just prepare you, they can also help you unlock doors you don't have keys to.
4. An Opportunity to Give Back:
Tech communities have very much allowed me to give back to my community. I am always fulfilled and excited about providing help, mentorship and support to folks who are starting in the industry. Like a chinese proverb says :
"When you teach, you make the bridge shorter."
This is one core mentality that drives the Black Valley community: Reducing entrance barriers to Black folks who want to break in and succeed in tech. That's the power of community.
I hope you enjoyed this article.
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