Silicon Valley is a unique place where companies have both high demand and intense selectivity regarding hiring people. At first, it can be intimidating as you compete with other people who have more expertise than you. In this article I would like to reveal my strategy on how I secured a job in Silicon Valley based on my experience. The strategy might vary from one person to another, but I find this strategy to work for me and I hope it will work for you as well.
My startup career started from the bottom. From understanding and liking the computer science classes that my teacher taught back in college couple years ago, joining small team in my local community, getting on-campus tutoring jobs while I was in school, doing part-time and co-op computer science jobs in some small companies in the Midwest, to finally securing a prestigious job in Silicon Valley. I am a strong believer that everybody has to start from somewhere and practice makes perfect.
When I first started out, I trusted my guts. Starting from loving computer science back in school, I spent countless hours trying to master and perfect coding skills. We are all amateurs when we first started out, and yet you must remain courageous to knock on the door that will lead to your destiny.
The difference between a successful person and a not yet successful person lies in the mindset. It is easy for us to compare ourselves to other people; we might be ahead in some aspects, but behind on other aspects. A key to be successful is to avoid temptation of comparing ourselves to others; do not let it to distract your main goal and feel bad about yourselves. If you have found what you love, you should pursue it no matter what other people told you to. A positive thinking mindset is the key, don’t be afraid to fail. If you fail, at least you learn something that you never know before, and as long as you are learning, you are not a failure. To accomplish this, find out what you passionate about. As Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.
The first thing that you will immediately notice when you do what you love is that feeling the excitement. I think human nature dictates that when you know something good comes up, you feel excited. Feeling excited about getting a job in Silicon Valley will spark your interest to learn more. In addition, you are willing to ride through bad times. Silicon Valley is often known as having intense interview questions, both through technical and behavioral questions. Life is inevitably going to be tough, and it is absolutely an unenjoyable feeling to get rejected from the company that you admire most. Your passion will make all your effort worthwhile, because you will be able to keep your motivation high and continue learning from your mistakes when you are in difficult situation. Furthermore, a deep passion toward something leads to determination, determination leads to persistence, persistence leads to countless hours of practicing and mastering skills, and once you do all of those, countless opportunities will come to you. As you can see, the beginning of the chain to be successful in Silicon Valley is by having a positive mindset to start up passionately, often from the very bottom, in order to achieve your end goal.
The next and final step is to put everything into an action. Always remember that goals are dreams with deadlines. You will not be able to achieve your goals if you never have the bravery to start with, and to take action accordingly. Time management is crucial in order to be successful in Silicon Valley. Know your priority; make sure to plan out how much energy and time you would need to spend on every task in order to submit the task before the deadline. Aside from time management, it is very important to learn the interview process since technical questions are undeniably crucial in Silicon Valley. Get to know the details and corner cases before going to an interview. Moreover, it will be helpful to ask seniors on how they cope with the interview. Make sure to practice coding and master it before you are going to an interview, especially in Silicon Valley. However, despite the fact that knowledge of technical stuff is important in Silicon Valley, having a positive attitude is very important in order to succeed. Be real and be open for criticism. If you accidentally made a mistake, acknowledge your mistake. Mistake is the best way to learn, and being able to acknowledge and learn from your mistakes by holding to the positive attitude are crucial.
10,000 hours of coding might give a person the knowledge that is needed to tackle an interview, but knowledge alone at the end of the day is never enough. A very knowledgeable person with the courage and tenacity to start from the bottom, who has developed a strong passion, and nurtured positive mindset and attitude, would be the kind of person that succeeds at Silicon Valley. Good luck!
Content edited by Artricia Rasyid
Photo Credits: Author’s Collection
Yanuar graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and has true passion in the field of software development. His hard work paid off as he landed a full time job as a web developer in Wolfram. Afterwards, Yanuar worked hard to spread his wings at Quora, a Q&A startup in Silicon Valley, USA, to build his craft and passion that he had finally discovered.