Neeraj Tewari, a successful businessman and electrical engineer, has made a career in the telecommunications and software development industry. In general, the entire tech sector has boomed over the past two decades as technology has shrunken down to pocket size and become accessible throughout the entire world. For college students, pursuing a degree in a technical field such as computer programming, engineering (electrical, computer, etc.), or IT is a solid way to lock down a career early out of school. The market for these positions increases, though the skills required to fill them are increasing at a higher rate.
“Tech job openings definitely fluctuate with innovation,” Neeraj Tewari says. “However, the barriers for entry are rising and it is difficult for students pondering whether or not to enter into a tech career to decide what majors, certifications, and fields to pursue. Generalized degrees such as IT or engineering are safe bets, but the level of specialization required depends on any given business or industry. Because of this, young tech professionals need to constantly be on the edge of advancement and keep up with trends in order to lock down solid careers.”
Neeraj Tewari earned a BS in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1984. He went on to Lehigh University to earn a master’s degree in the same field, and continues to develop his professional resume and tech education. However, today’s students are up against thousands of others with the same idea in mind: graduate, get a tech job, and make money. With this much internal competition from fellow job-seekers, it is often difficult to get an edge in the industry. As mentioned, every business requires a different level of specialization. This idea is often linked to certifications, an IT employee’s bread and butter for advancement.
Certifications are often earned through college degree courses. They couple in with a resume and are brand-based exams used to make sure workers have the knowledge to work on advanced systems. They are IT-based, but network engineers, software developers, and others in computer science positions can take advantage of them. Neeraj Tewari says certs for tech professionals are equivalent to continuing education courses for healthcare workers.
Some businesses actually require their existing tech employees to pursue new degrees. They either expire or become outdated, and companies may either pay for new cert courses or individuals will pursue them in their own time. For the student looking forward to graduation, it is important to research which certifications businesses within a certain industry are looking for. They are often posted on a job listing. “Getting certs early is the best way to get them,” Neeraj Tewari says. “They aren’t cheap and take a lot of time, and it’s usually easier to earn them while in school or between jobs—when you have more time to focus on the material.”
Certifications are only one way to get a leg up on entry level job openings. It is useful for those already employed to achieve them as well, because it proves to management that the employee is actively looking for advancement and promotion. However, for the job hunter, a certification means little without properly soliciting one’s self in the career marketplace. Here are a few ways to brand professionally while looking for a high-paying career opportunity:
In today’s age, it is no wonder that a person’s online presence is so important. Between social media, Web mentions, and other outlets, how a person appears on the Internet is just as important as how they appear in an interview. Often, employers will research a potential interviewee before scheduling a time. This is a critical window; an employer may find that the applicant has an immaculate Web presence, or could throw out a resume because of inappropriate social media posts.
Students have incorporated social media into their entire lives. Neeraj Tewari says that the younger generations are at a mixed advantage because of this trend. On one hand, students are able to communicate in new ways that companies find valuable. However, over-exposure and low-quality social media is harmful for the job-seeker. In order to optimize social media, the first step is to privatize everything. This will reduce the chances an outside source will run across a negative mention or comment; but this process is not near as powerful as avoiding getting tangled up in negative social media to begin with.
Next, Neeraj Tewari says college students in the tech field (or any industry for that matter) need to optimize their online exposure and professional experiences. One way to do this is to create a portfolio-type website that acts as an online resume. LinkedIn is another powerful platform for doing this because it ties together professional resumes with a limitless network of industry professionals. The site allows users to update resumes, portfolios, job experiences, skills, and other information into one, easy to find source. LinkedIn also shares job openings associated with a user’s interests and prospects.
While online portfolios are maturing, the resume still holds power. Tech job-seekers still in school are at an advantage because they usually have career services departments capable of professionally tailoring a resume to fit a specific industry or field. Neeraj Tewari says these resources are incredibly useful and effective, and they can even help with cover letters. The cover letter is another beast to tame for job-seekers. They are an opportunity for a potential employee to really go out and explain his or her motivations about the job, as well as give a sample of the applicant’s personality. A solid cover letter is the best way to lock down the dreaded interview. The interview, according to Neeraj Tewari, is a completely different monster.