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Learn to Code, Engineer a Job Offer

Human Resources

Learn to Code, Engineer a Job Offer image Screen shot 2012 11 19 at 8.41.52 PM

Sometimes it isn’t who you know, but what you know that lands you the job.

Kevin Dreimiller had always wanted to work for Red Hat, a software company whose products are used by many Fortune 500 firms and ranked #1 for customer satisfaction in their field. After a year and a half of “daily verbal beatings” as a customer service rep with an internet service provider, he decided it was time to move on. Kevin went directly to the source and searched Red Hat’s website, uncovering a listing for a “Lab Administrator” in his area.

Programming knowledge was a helpful skill for this position as Lab Administrators are responsible for maintaining and managing the data centers (Lab Space). Kevin’s job experience suggested that getting this job would be a stretch as he had not finished college and the majority of his work experience was as a paralegal, not in IT. But after two years of spending his nights and weekends teaching himself programming, Kevin was able to list JavaScript, HTML and CSS skills in the “Other” section of his resume. He also included a link to a website he built from scratch.

Using these new skills as leverage on his application for the Lab Administrator position, Kevin also turned to social media to push his resume through. When he didn’t receive a response from the company after one week, he went to Red Hat’s Facebook page and politely asked when he might hear something about his application status. His proactive approach landed him a phone interview and a week later he was brought in for three interviews. The day after these interviews, he received a job offer—proof that his self-taught coding skills had market value.

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The job offer, however, had one hitch—it was a three-month contract position, with the opportunity for a full-time position at the end. This model of trialing entry-level employees before committing is becoming more popular among employers. Kevin had to risk leaving a full-time job with benefits to prove himself as a fit at Red Hat, with the goal of being made a permanent employee beginning in the fourth month. No guarantees, but a lot of upside since Kevin would be working for his “dream company”. He took the gamble and quit his job. Fortunately, it paid off.

Today, Kevin is the happiest of employees. He completed the three-month trial, was made a permanent employee and loves his job at Red Hat so much that he says “it feels like a hobby, not a job”.

For those who want to learn how to code, online training sites like Coursera and Codecademy are today’s answer for the technologically ignorant. They offer free training in most of the major software programs and, if committed, deliver marketable skills.

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