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How To Get Hired in Tech in 2024

It might be obvious by now, but here at Udacity we think tech jobs are one of the most exciting, rewarding paths you can choose to pursue. Getting a chance to be at the forefront of groundbreaking technologies like AI, autonomous systems, machine learning, and other innovations is something that makes for a fulfilling professional life. Plus, with the average US worker making around $111,348 in 2022, it’s a profession that rewards its innovators financially as well. Whether you’re a creative copywriter, a graphic designer, a backend engineer, or something in between, there’s a role for you. And with the rapid evolution of technology, you’ll never stop learning and growing, making every day a fresh and exciting one. 

Looking to get hired in tech in 2024? Here’s our guide to doing just that, from mapping your skill development to nailing your first interview. 

Table of Contents

How do I learn the hard skills required for tech?

How can I acquire soft skills as a tech professional?

How do I position myself for success as a tech professional?

How should I conduct outreach to land a job in tech?

What are the keys to tech job interview success?

First Things First, Start at the End

Many people interested in a tech career get this backwards. Rather than starting at the “start”, we recommend starting with your destination in mind. If your goal is to one day become a Meta software engineer, then what career paths, internships, endorsements, and certifications do people who are actually in that job have? Where did they go to school (if they went at all)? What is their true career story – all the bumps, zigzags, and detours included? Luckily, this info is easier to pin down today than ever before. Using LinkedIn, you can find the people who are where you want to be and dive deep into their profiles to see how they got there. Give it a try – you’ll be surprised how common career switching and industry jumping is, and how uncommon a clear-cut trajectory is for tech professionals who have your dream job. 

Also, don’t underestimate the power of informational interviews. Reaching out to professionals for a coffee chat or a virtual meet can open your eyes to the realities and requirements of the role you’re aspiring to. While most tech professionals are busy, remember that people generally love to share their stories and helpful insights, so getting a response is less of a shot in the dark than you might think. As you conduct your research and informational interviews, take note of and create a list of the specific skills required to succeed in the role you’re looking for. 

How do I learn the hard skills required for tech?

Hard skills are your ticket into the tech world. These are the tangible, teachable abilities you need to perform a job well. For each skill that your research has shown to be necessary – be it coding, data analysis, or digital marketing – categorize them into two buckets: Essential Skills and Nice-to-have Skills. Once you have your lists, it’s time to create a skills map to chart your learning path. 

Create a skills map.

To create a skills map, write down all of the hard skills listed above on a piece of paper or Google Doc. Then, mark down how you’re going to learn those skills, whether it’s an online course, a book, or in-person instruction. Being specific is key here. Here’s an example of a skills map an aspiring product manager might have for their Essential Skills list: 

From here, your skills map becomes a checklist. For each item on your list, be sure you learn the skill, but more importantly, you’ll need a way to show and prove you know it. If you’ve worked at a job where you’ve utilized these competencies, then great! If not, you’ll need to lean on projects. 

Contributing to open-source projects is an excellent way to gain hands-on experience. It allows you to apply what you’ve learned in real-world scenarios, collaborate with others, and get feedback from experienced professionals. This not only enhances your skills but also adds impressive, practical experience to your resume. To find your first or next open source project to contribute to, browse through boards like GitHub’s ‘good-first-issue’ feed or Codetriage. You can also access portfolio-ready projects when you enroll in a Udacity program, where you’ll get personalized feedback on your submissions as well. (We included a few of our favorite open source projects for budding developers in a recent LinkedIn post).

How can I acquire soft skills as a tech professional?

While hard skills might get your foot in the door, it’s your soft skills that keep the door wide open. In tech, where teamwork and innovation are paramount, soft skills like communication, adaptability, and emotional intelligence will play a pivotal role in your success. According to research out of Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center, 85% of career success comes from having well-developed soft skills and people skills. These tools enable you to navigate the complexities of team dynamics, contribute creatively to problem-solving, and lead with empathy – whether you’re speaking to a colleague or presenting to a client.

If you’re looking to improve your communication skills in the workplace, there are plenty of formal resources available online like LinkedIn Learning courses, and helpful books like Say What You Mean by Oren Jay Sofer and Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo. We also recommend less formal training, such as improving your ‘EQ’ (emotional intelligence) by learning your strengths through assessments like Gallup StrengthsFinder, or joining a local Toastmasters chapter to improve your public speaking. 

How do I position myself for success as a tech professional?

Once you acquire the skills necessary to get hired in tech, it’s time to set yourself up for success through strategic positioning, outreach, and interview preparation. 

Create a personal branding statement.

Your personal brand is how the world sees you, and in the tech industry, it’s a critical aspect of standing out. Start by crafting what’s called a personal branding statement. This is a short, punchy summary of who you are as a professional, your core strengths, and what unique value you’ll bring to a tech role. This statement will guide not just your resume and portfolio but should also reflect how you carry yourself in your day-to-day. As such, your personal branding statement should be a blend of your skills, experiences, and personal attributes. Here’s an example:

I am a forward-thinking Software Developer with a passion for creating innovative solutions using cutting-edge technologies. With a strong foundation in Python and JavaScript, complemented by my experience in AI and machine learning projects, I excel at turning complex problems into intuitive and efficient applications. Known for my collaborative spirit and a keen eye for detail, I bring a unique blend of technical expertise and creative problem-solving to every project I’m involved in. My goal is to drive technological advancement in an organization that values innovation, quality, and impactful user experiences.

Your personal branding statement will take different forms depending on the medium, so look at it as a living document to pull from in order to guide your portfolio, your resume, your LinkedIn profile, and more. Brie Reynolds, career development manager at Flexjobs, breaks down personal branding statements like this: “The top of your resume should be a forward-leaning section that shares what you have to offer and who you want to be as a professional. It’s very different from the rest of the resume, which is backward-leaning and shows what you’ve accomplished thus far.”

Keep Applicant Tracking Systems in mind.

When it comes to crafting your resume, remember that many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to score applications, which filter candidates’ resumes based on target keywords the job opening is looking for. Tailoring your resume to be ATS-friendly is crucial. Websites like Indeed and Canva offer templates and tips to navigate these systems. 

Add your certifications and skills to your LinkedIn & portfolio.

Certifications act as endorsements of your skills and knowledge, giving potential employers and connections concrete evidence of your expertise and dedication to continual learning. Whether it’s a Nanodegree from Udacity or a specialized certification in a cutting-edge technology, each adds a layer of credibility to your profile. 

To add a certification, go to the ‘Licenses and Certifications’ section of your LinkedIn profile. Include the name of the certification, the issuing organization, and the date you earned it. If applicable, add a brief description and a link to the credential. This not only validates your achievement but also provides an easy way for employers to verify your qualifications. By strategically showcasing your certifications on LinkedIn and your portfolio website, you enhance your professional narrative, making your profile not just a resume, but a compelling story of your growth and capabilities in the tech industry.

How should I conduct outreach to land a job in tech?

Once you have the required tech skills, along with the portfolio and resume to effectively communicate those skills, it’s time for outreach. Here, we’re using this as an umbrella term to refer to any and all actions you take between job hunting and landing an interview. 

A strong network leads to more opportunities for referrals. 

Networking is a cornerstone of career development, especially in tech. Platforms like LinkedIn, industry forums, and specialized Subreddits are excellent places for connecting with like-minded professionals. Engage in meaningful discussions, share your thoughts, and don’t hesitate to ask questions. This isn’t just about making connections, it’s about becoming part of a community. 

Zippia reports that referrals are 4x more likely to be offered a job than website applicants are. 

The importance of networking is something we feel is often overstated but more often misunderstood. Until you’re in tech, it’s hard to grasp just how important being connected and respected by other tech professionals is to your longevity in the industry. Many tech jobs are filled through referrals, and once you find your ‘group’, it isn’t unusual to find yourself working with the same people from one company to another over the course of your career. In fact, Zippia reports that referrals are 4x more likely to be offered a job than website applicants are. 

The good news is that Silicon Valley isn’t the only tech scene anymore – there are plenty of cities in the United States and around the globe making their mark in the tech world. And with remote work becoming more accepted by companies worldwide, proximity can still be an advantage but not a requirement for building a strong network. We recommend using platforms like to see what tech events are happening in your area. From Dublin, Ireland to Durham, North Carolina, there are cities far from the Bay Area making massive strides in the space. On a final note, if you went to a university, it’s also worth tapping into its alumni community to see if there are any members working in tech who you can rekindle a relationship with.

Use freelancing as your foot in the door.

Freelancing using platforms like Upwork and TopTal can help you build a noteworthy portfolio of real-world projects, enhancing your resume and providing tangible proof of your skills. More importantly though, it’s a straight line of communication to people already working in tech. It isn’t unusual for managers to first seek out contract talent before building a business case to hire someone as a full-time team member, so they often look to freelance platforms to fill that gap. 

On top of that, freelancing will arm you with the experience in performing the tasks and responsibilities of a full-time tech employee without quite as high of stakes. So if you’re having trouble landing a full-time tech job in your chosen career path, contract work could be a valuable alternative to consider.

LinkedIn Job Hunting Hacks.

We know you’re probably familiar with LinkedIn as a tech hopeful, so we’ll spare you the high-level details for more of the nitty gritty here:

Set up your job alerts and apply fast. LinkedIn is an incredible platform because of all the opportunities and accessibility it provides to job seekers all over the world. On the flip side though, it also makes the competition for coveted tech roles more stiff than ever. In fact, 6 people are hired through LinkedIn every single minute, and 61 million people browse for jobs on LinkedIn each week. To remedy this, it’s important to set up job alerts for your desired positions and companies and apply quickly once a position goes live. 

Consider subscribing to LinkedIn Premium. Investing in LinkedIn Premium can significantly enhance your job-hunting outcomes. Premium offers features like InMail, which allows you to directly message anyone on LinkedIn, even if you’re not connected. You also get insights into who’s viewed your profile, competitive information about other applicants, and how you rank for the jobs you’re interested in. These insights are incredibly valuable in tailoring your approach and standing out in a wide pool of applicants.

Utilize DMs. Direct Messages (DMs) on LinkedIn are a powerful tool for networking and getting noticed. Use them to reach out to industry professionals, hiring managers, or potential mentors. When crafting your message, be concise yet personable, and always express genuine interest in their work or company. A well-written DM can open doors to informational interviews, insider tips about job openings, or even direct referrals. 

After you’ve applied to a position, use LinkedIn search to locate the hiring manager or members of the specific team you’d be working with at the company. Then, use these templates or craft your own version expressing your interest in the position, why you’re a good fit, and how they can learn more about you.

To hiring managers: Hi, [name]! It’s great to meet you. I’m reaching out because I just applied to the open [company] [job title] position & think I’d be a great fit for the team. If you’d like to learn more about my work experience, all relevant links can be found in my portfolio here: [link]. Thanks!

To future team members: Hi [name], it’s great to meet you! I’m reaching out because I recently applied to the open [job title] role at [company] and would love to hear about your experience at the company as an [person’s job title]. Let me know if you’re available to connect. Thank you!

What are the keys to tech job interview success?

An interview is your moment to shine, and to bring everything you’ve learned and experienced to the table. We know there are loads of resources out there to help you with interview prep (including our own, which you can check out here), so we figured we’d lay out some of the lesser-known, too-often-overlooked things to keep in mind when it comes to them.

Above all, do your homework.

Conducting thorough research on a company before an interview is an absolute must. It demonstrates to potential employers that you aren’t only intrigued by the role, but also invested in the company’s vision, culture, and future. This level of preparation also shows you’re proactive, thoughtful, and genuinely interested in becoming a part of their team. 

To effectively research a company, start by exploring its official website, focusing on sections like ‘About Us’, recent press releases, and the company blog. This will give you insights into their history, mission, values, and recent accomplishments or innovations. Additionally, thumb through their social media profiles and recent news articles for the latest updates and product releases. Understanding the company’s offerings and target market can also provide valuable context for your interview responses. And last, if possible, try to gain insights from current or past employees through platforms like LinkedIn or Glassdoor. This level of interview prep equips you with the knowledge to impress your interviewers and also helps you assess if the company is the right fit for your career aspirations.

Pauses are okay.

When it comes to interviewing, you do not need to have a well-articulated answer to every possible question available on command. Preparing answers where possible will of course be helpful, but it’s okay to take pauses to think through the question the interviewer has presented to you. Ask your interviewer for a moment to give the answer more thought. Contrary to common belief and our natural instinct, sitting in silence isn’t necessarily a bad thing in a job interview. If anything, it shows you’re a thoughtful, intentional person – making you come off as more trustworthy than you otherwise would by answering every question with a half-baked, unstructured response. Your words are important, so take care in choosing the right ones at the right time.

Write a personalized, uncanned follow-up.

It’s important to show you were present and engaged in the conversation you had with your interviewer. Within 24 hours of the interview, write a personal email or LinkedIn follow-up message to the person you spoke with. This shouldn’t be a canned template you use for all your interviews. Instead, it should speak directly to why you’re excited about this particular opportunity and why you’re the person for the job – all while injecting personal touches where they fit. These could include anything from you and the interviewer growing up in the same city to the two of you sharing a favorite TV show or sports team. 

Be intentional about your Zoom background and presence. 

First impressions help inform others’ perception of you, and for better or for worse, perception is reality. If you’re interviewing virtually, your Zoom presence is crucial. Now, we aren’t saying you need to hire an interior designer to help you set up your Zoom background, but we are saying this is a chance for you to showcase intentionality, attention to detail, and a little personality. For instance, if you’re interviewing for UX design positions, take an afternoon to think about how you arrange the photos on your wall, the books on your bookshelf, your plants, decorations, and more. Showing you’re calculated with your Zoom background will imply that you apply the same level of detail to your professional work. 

Be mindful when it comes to standing a comfortable distance from your computer screen. Bestselling author and body language expert, Vanessa Van Edwards, claims one of the biggest mistakes people make when conducting Zoom calls is being unnaturally close distance to their cameras. As humans, we’re wired to interpret extremely close contact with another person as threatening, at worst, and uncomfortable, at best. Treat your computer camera like you would someone you’re actually speaking to in person by giving the two of you a comfortable distance.

Lastly, good lighting can leave a lasting impact when it comes to online interviews. If you don’t do anything else between now and your first Zoom interview, be sure your lighting is at least decent and not distracting. It’s worth purchasing a ring light to make sure your interviewers can clearly see your smiling face. 

Ready to Start Your Career In Tech?

Remember that the hardest part of getting into the tech industry is landing your first role. From there, the snowball effect starts. Hiring managers and recruiters will then have more confidence in your ability to perform above and beyond in other tech roles. Follow the playbook we’ve laid out in this article, and don’t get discouraged — the job hunt can be a demoralizing experience, but with the right skills, the right positioning, the right mindset, along with a positive attitude, you’ll get hired in tech in no time. 

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