At this year’s Tech Cocktail Celebrate Conference, one of the panel discussions – titled “Growing the Talent Pool” – focused on strategies through which public and private entities can support a growing talent pool within their communities. While the main points of the discussion centered around rethinking and revamping the way we approach education in order to adapt to the new tech economy – this economy of skilled talent in the tech industry – it was also an opportunity for panelists to suggests ways through which potential entrants to these industries can build necessary skills and find careers in these new fields.
The participants on the panel included Sheikh Shuvo, the senior regional manager for the Asian Pacific and MENA (Middle-East/North Africa) for UP Global; Donna Harris, the cofounder of Washington, DC-based incubator 1776; Mike McGee, the cofounder of Starter League; Shaun Johnson, the cofounder of Startup Institute; and Rebecca Lovell, the startup liaison for the City of Seattle. With their varied backgrounds in both the public and private space, the panelists each went through the resources offered through their cities and through their individual programs that support the growing needs of a population that's quickly transitioning into this new economy.
“We're moving the needle – just in the past three or four years – to this point of: ‘show me what you can learn, show me what you know – and I'll take that over what school you went to our what this resume says',” noted McGee.
McGee stresses that we're moving into a new age where the focus will no longer be on what you studied in college or from what industry you previously worked in, but on each individual's capacity and willingness for learning and growing. Whether it's a college student looking to prepare themselves for their first career, a recent graduate who wants to find a career in tech, or even someone mid-career who's hoping to make a transition – there are resources and programs out there that will enable them to build the skills necessary to fit in with this new tech economy.
While all of the panelists agree that the paths into these careers won't be easy – indeed, you will need to make the effort to take classes or to actively seek out the resources in your community and online – it's not an impossible task. Watch the video below from Tech Cocktail Celebrate, and learn more about what they had to say about what to do in order to position yourself for a career in the new tech economy. Here's the video: