The Intro

The past twenty years have been the evolution and progression of the IT industry from intellectual math nerd to grunge, anti-social, do-it-yourself computer geek, to a fully matured, professional, and competitive industry of the 21st century. There’s no getting around the fact that even in the past decade the rules of the game have changed… You can’t hope to skate by any more on that unemployed dropout look that worked so well for the pioneers and founding fathers of our modern internet… It’s just not feasible. So with this in mind, I have decided to outline some of the more common-sense things that you should consider when marketing your IT-self to a prospective employer. These ideas are not an ace-in-the-hole on landing the job, they are simply observations and topics of consideration when you are interviewing for an IT position at a company…

We have it pretty hard as applicants for an IT position, and not just because our work could be considered the higher end of intellectual or the more diverse end of creative, but because our industry is so rapidly changing it means that the rules of the game change quickly too. So, we have to be the kind of people who can flexibly integrate ourselves into any environment, any team dynamic, and any technical position if we hope to survive. In recent years, with the IT industry’s integration into the corporate world, the rules that govern how we as IT people handle ourselves have changed, and we need to adapt to these new rules if we want to better present ourselves as viable candidates for a corporate IT position.

Corporate people and the business community aren’t afraid of us anymore. They know words like HTML and Databases and Google Analytics that they throw around freely to show how savvy they are, and to prove how entitled they are to make their opinion heard. And with the full on invasion of new Project Management methodologies like Xtreme Programming and Agile, which force us to interact with these people on daily basis to get stuff done, we don’t really have a choice but to make them a part of our daily work routine (that is, if we want to retain our jobs…). So, coddling the weak as a wolf mother would to a wounded cub, we’ve been forced to bring these people into our arena and give them an insight into our world, and in most cases we see that we’re more productive, people think more highly of us, we get more dates (??? maybe not… ???), and we’re generally more integrated into the daily workings of the corporation… A light shines on our dimmed hacker den, and the odor of feet and rotting potato chips subsides… And this is just simply the way that life is nowadays — deal with it.

So, over the past few years I’ve paid close attention to what goes on in the corporate world during the hiring process and have compiled a comprehensive list of non-technical things that go into the hiring decision… These are good topics for you to think about when you’re going into any interview for an IT position in today’s corporate world, and if you stick with them you should come across as a very strong candidate. Truthfully, you can’t simply market yourself in the IT world anymore based wholly on your level of knowledge or expertise — IT is more and more becoming a “People’s Place,” and as such, we need to become more personable.

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