Five veterans of the Austin technology and information-related industries visited the School of Information on April 7 to offer advice to students aiming for careers in fields that range from user experience design to social media research and digital content management.
More than 40 students attended the ATX Experts in Tech Panel, which was sponsored by the iSchool student group Advocating for Women in Technology (AWIT) and the School of Information Career Development Office.
The panelists offered suggestions to find mentors, ask the right questions during job interviews and adjust quickly in high-pressure environments. They also discussed ways to get to know the culture of an organization and encouraged the iSchool’s students to make sure the culture is a good fit for them. In the same way that an employee must meet a company’s expectations, it’s equally important that a job and culture meet an individual’s expectations as well.
Cecy Correa, a full-stack developer and designer at ReturnPath, said recent graduates should not hesitate to apply for jobs and internships even if they do not satisfy all of a position’s requirements. Some applicants look at a list of job qualifications and think, “I’m missing a couple of bullet points, so maybe I won’t apply,” Correa said. But job seekers should know that companies understand no candidate satisfies every requirement, she added, and new employees will be given opportunities to learn on the job.
Also participating in the panel discussion were Jeni Putalavage-Ross, an iSchool alum who works in social media research and analytics at Sprinklr; Bretagne Abirached, also an iSchool alum and associate experience director for Razorfish; Jana D. Tate, an iSchool alum and webmaster and content management system administrator for the University of Texas at Austin; and Stephanie Schuhmacher, a user experience architect at Lifesize, a division of Logitech. At a reception following the panel, students networked with job recruiters and industry guests from several Austin tech companies.
Founded in 2011, AWIT’s goal is to inform, educate and mentor students, especially women, in developing the technical skills necessary to succeed academically and professionally. The organization has led a number of initiatives in the past five years, including student work showcases and other special events.