Accessing Tech Opportunities in a COVID-19 World
By Ashley Bass, +SocialGood Connector
The year started off with our new normal: remote classes, remote interviews, remote everything. There’s no doubt that recruitment has been impacted due to the pandemic. From travel restrictions to delayed visa processes, institutions are navigating new territory as they try to spot new talent. On the other end, young people who wish to break into the tech sector are also having to find creative ways to market themselves.
Economic growth was already slowing down before COVID-19, and currently, it is reported that the world faces the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Estimates show that the pandemic may lead to 1.6 billion informal workers losing their livelihoods, and an overall job loss of 400 million in 2020.
These new health, economic, and social challenges have added additional hurdles to making progress on SDG 8: promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. There are three main targets to achieving SDG 8:
- By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.
- By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training.
- By 2020, develop and operationalize a global strategy for youth employment and implement the Global Jobs Pact of the International Labour Organization.
Focusing on the last target, what does it mean to gainfully employ youth (anyone between the ages of 15 and 24, according to the United Nations definition)? More specifically, what does it mean in the context of an international pandemic? I reflected on some of these issues recently, when I teamed up with the GitHub Education team for their annual Universe conference, an event featuring product experts, software leaders, and enterprise teams who are building the world’s most important technologies.
GitHub is an open source development platform where more than 50 million people learn, share, and work together to build software. .This year, the Universe conference featured the company’s education programs designed to help students, teachers, and schools access the tools and events they need to shape the next generation of software development.While brainstorming ideas for speaking topics, youth employment immediately rose to the top of the list. Participants had many ideas for how youth could enhance their profiles for the job market, including joining a virtual hackathon to connect with developers from around the world; building skills online through initiatives such as the Major League Hacking fellowship (powered by GitHub), which provides a powerful ecosystem for emerging talent and helps companies reach innovative student engineers; and learning how to better prepare for interviews.
One particularly compelling presentation was by Raymond Blum, Infrastructure Tech Lead and Engineering Manager at Google, who presented on “Interviewing Done Right.” As a host of many interns and a team lead at Google, he has seen the ins and outs of what it means to successfully employ young people. Here are some tips he shared throughout the video presentation that might be helpful for young people on the market for tech opportunities:
- Connect — To get the interview
- Prepare — Get ready to pass the interview
- Interview — Listen, discuss and solve throughout the interview
- Follow-up — Remain interested post interview
Check out the full video here, and write to us to let us know about some of the techniques and tips that you’ve been using to apply for jobs and ace interviews during the pandemic.