This week (June 28, 2018) I attended the London Salesforce Women in Tech meetup at Salesforce Tower, who had taken the brave step of scheduling an event on the same night that England were playing Belgium in their last group game of the World Cup. Numbers held up pretty well, especially as it was another beautiful day — something we usually don’t see much of in the UK, although June this year has been a real anomaly.
First up was Louise Lockie with a talk on how and when to find your next Dreamjob. Talks like this always serve to reinforce why I attend these meetups — to find out about how different other people’s experience can be to my own. Louise’s talk covered a very detailed, planned approach to gaining the appropriate skills and experience, deciding on the correct time to move on, followed by the creation of a spreadsheet to match your key requirements to companies and job postings.
As a middle-aged white man who has been coding since the age of about 12, I can’t really imagine having to put so much effort into planning my career. For a very long time I never even thought of it as a career, I just found a small company that I liked the look of and built applications until one of the following things happened:
- They went bust
- I felt that I was treading water and not learning anything
- Something changed (acquisition, management overhaul) that made it not fun any more
Then I’d put my CV out to try to find something else and start the cycle again.
Another key difference that Louise’s talk highlighted was around applying for jobs — making sure that your skills and experience match the advertised position. Maybe it’s a developer thing, but I’ve always taken the view that the advert is asking for the perfect candidate and very few of them exists. As long as I can cover around half of the requirements, and the top couple, I’d always take a punt if the role sounded interesting. I figure that I’ll have other skills they might like the sound of if I can get an interview, plus if I can get a foot in the door I might do a good job of persuading them that I’ll be a good hire. I’d never pretend to have skills that I don’t, but I also don’t treat all the requirements as must-haves!
All of which is great for me, but seeing how different this is for others can only help to improve my recruiting and interviewing techniques and even, dare I say it, give me a bit more empathy with candidates, especially those that don’t have the same backstory as me.
Louise’s talk certainly provoked a lively discussion — so much so that I was wondering if we’d have time for the second talk.
Social Media Branding
Next up was Jodi Wagner on building your social media brand. This is an area that I think I’ve been quite successful in over the years, so I wasn’t necessarily looking to learn that much about what I could do differently (although there will always be something that I can improve on, so I make sure to pay attention, even if Jodi doesn’t think I am). Again, it was interesting to hear how different the social media experience can be when you aren’t in my demographic. It would never occur to me to worry about pushback just because of who I am, I always assume that it’s the message that people might take issue with (and if they do, that’s fine, but not something that I’m going to lose any sleep over). It’s always good to be reminded that isn’t the case for everyone, and those of us that do have the good fortune to get an easy ride from the haters need to continue to be vigilant when others don’t, and support those taking their first steps on jelly legs into the twitterverse.
Come one, come all
Just because it’s called a Women in Tech meetup doesn’t mean it’s only aimed at women, so don’t let that put you off if you are one of the myriad men out there with a nagging suspicion that you could be doing a lot more to be an ally. You absolutely could, because we all can. At the moment the numbers probably inversely mirror a lot of developer meetups, and we can’t expect more women to come to our meetups if we aren’t willing to go to theirs.
I’m better known in the Salesforce community as Bob Buzzard — Umpteen Certifications, including Technical Architect, 6 x MVP and CTO of BrightGen, a Platinum Cloud Alliance Partner in the United Kingdom who are hiring.
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You can find my (usually) more technical thoughts at the Bob Buzzard Blog