I wanted to talk about what it's like starting out in the growing IT industry and my experiences, since I know many other young people are interested in this field.
Before joining Sharing Minds, I had no prior experience, never had a formal job and didn’t enjoy socialising with people. This is partially due to the fact I have Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism which makes it harder to communicate because we interpret social cues and environments differently.
After finishing high school, I was unsure of which career direction to take. I have always had an interest in technology, computers especially, so software development felt like a natural fit. With the enrolment cut-off date looming, I decided to enrol at TAFE Brisbane. I knew I didn’t meet all of the eligibility criteria, but I worked up the courage to contact the program coordinator to convince him to let me in. I plead my case and he agreed, the course took me a year to complete and I graduated with my diploma, which I’m very grateful for and proud to have achieved.
After graduating, I applied for numerous jobs in many roles including Software Developer, IT Technician and Web Developer, and was consistently getting knocked back; either denied upfront or not passing the interview stage. This went on for about a year and a half until, fortuitously, one of my friends from TAFE forwarded me an email from a former teacher advertising that Sharing Minds was hiring software developers. I got excited and instantly took the opportunity to give them a call to express interest.
The day of the interview arrived, and I was extremely nervous. I was anxious that I was going to mess up my speech or say something silly. Afterwards, I was skeptical whether I would be offered a position but a few days later I got a call offering me a four-week internship! I was excited but also terrified. I knew I would have to push myself to impress my manager and the executives to secure a permanent position in the company. During the 4 weeks, I learned the fundamentals of Office 365 and how custom development worked with SharePoint. Regardless of the outcome, I was thrilled that I had that chance to learn so much from the great people around me. On the last day of the internship, I was invited into a meeting and offered a full-time position - I was stoked! I raced home and told my girlfriend and parents who were all ecstatic for me.
I must admit, the nervousness I felt before the first interview didn’t lift until a few months into the role. But my anxiety eventually settled down and I now have the best work family I could ever imagine. I’ve now been in my job for over a year and can't express my gratitude enough. I have been given so much support and encouragement to learn which has guided me to where I am now.
I want the takeaway message of this post to be you can do anything if you put your mind to it. I used to be a person who never went outside and struggled talking to people. But now I'm social, I go out and enjoy life on the weekends and I'm extremely happy and grateful to work with a team like Sharing Minds. If anyone is struggling with starting into the IT industry all I can say is stick in there and if you have the willpower to learn and succeed you will go far!