Jidaw Systems

Uncommon Work Experience for the Newcomer in IT

10-10-10- Lack of work experience is usually perceived by most newcomers as the major hurdle to getting a job. Classic catch 22! Employers want people with experience, newcomers want experience. We however need to qualify this. Experience is about quality and not quantity. But is it just about the lack of experience? We surmount tough barriers with creativity.

The question is: are we ready to be creative? Is the uncommon real to you?

Even when we are stuck in a rut it's difficult to get creative with a mindset fixated on traditional job search routes and outcomes.

Creativity takes a nap when you focus on "good jobs" that "everybody" chases. The crowd hunts for jobs in banks, blue chip telecom companies and other multinational companies. Do you want to grow, get the job you deserve or remain at "everybody" level? The attraction of name, location, fat salaries and other benefits can be overpowering.


But is your job, career, future just about a meal ticket? Without meaningful, fulfilling, purposeful experiences, just what is the point?

Because we want to "belong" we sacrifice our purpose and wear masks pretending to be who we are not. Nobody said it would be easy. You see creativity requires us to take risks. But why prefer the dangerous comfort zone that keeps us at mediocre level? All doors locked? And we continue hoping for the best?

Looking for a job, opportunity? The uncommon is not often friendly or attractive. But where is your courage? What is your purpose? But we fear of rejection. We fear failure. The irony is that we all have to take risks. If we don't attempt to walk we won't fall, but at the same we won't walk. We can only grow by taking risks.

Creativity is a necessity not only when all doors appear closed. Newcomer - you need to shake up the status quo.





Take your mind out of the prisons of convention. Not new for the sake of new. It is about new that adds value and works for you. For example, you've got excellent results in your final exams. Great! But do you know what employers and users want? Intelligence alone won't do. Think of new, unique ways in which you can use your expertise to deliver results. Think outside the box. Be the newcomer with the fresh lens. To quote, Lao Tzu, "Learn to see backward, inside out and upside down".

So what is unique about you? What is exceptional about your job search? What does your new voice have to say? To stand out it is important to know how to differentiate yourself. Ignore stereotypes. Forget about what people will say. Will these people give you a job or grow your career? Use your expertise in uncommon ways. Stop listening to the crowd. Do your Java skills to add value in a unique manner?

Interested in the uncommon? Have you considered working for a small setup?


Small organizations may not have the name, big money, infrastructure and noise of big conglomerates. But should glamour and size be your sole focus?
In the work experience search volunteering is an option overlooked by many newcomers. However, social organizations (NGOs, community, faith based organizations, etc) always need IT people. Internships work for so many in the social scene.

These uncommon routes mentioned are less bureaucratic in recruiting matters. Though the uncommon provides more flexibility in acquiring work experience, organizations involved may not pay much or pay anything at all. So if you want to pursue these routes, get your priorities straight - your focus at all times should be experience for career growth. The REAL advantage here is real world experience that gives you a foot in the door. You can also use them for valuable references, to build your personal network, to develop your soft skills and show that you are a person of initiative. What do you need?

You want experience but have you considered creating your own experience?


Why don't you build a home lab? Although a home lab has its limitations with regard to workplace interaction, there is a lot to gain in terms of developing useful hands-on experience that can come in handy in future. Create your own practice environment.

When you take the uncommon path you are indirectly paying for experience. Have a mindset that sees no big deal in paying for experience. Don't we all pay for training and certification? Why then can't we pay for quality experience, which is even more difficult to obtain as a newcomer?

Interested the uncommon? Have you thought about entrepreneurship?


Due to societal attitudes and culture, entrepreneurship is not a reflex action for most fresh graduates. But education is not designed for job seeking alone. Nothing wrong in job hunting, but for how long will you wait for that "good job"? Understand entrepreneurship principles and you will create jobs by setting up a profitable and sustainable IT business. IT certifications help both job seekers and entrepreneurs. Job security is dead. Tomorrow is unpredictable.


We all need to develop important self reliance skills to overcome challenges, create opportunities and manage risks profitably. WE ALL NEED entrepreneurial skills to manage people, build teams, sell ideas and serve customers for Profit. WE ALL NEED Economic power. It's high risk but don't you know that entrepreneurs are the agents and drivers of change? Many started out as IT newcomers.

Do you just want to get by or get ahead? Then be honest with yourself - the old traditional status quo ideas of work experience are losing relevance. ROCK THE BOAT! It's time to move on. It's time to move forward with radical new thinking and action.


Jide Awe

Jide Awe is the Founder of Jidaw.com (http://www.jidaw.com)

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