Episode 177- Build a Strong Network and Become a Continuous Learner to Stay Relevant In Your IT Career with Sibeesh Venu
Phil’s guest on today’s IT Energizer Podcast is the software engineer and MVP, Sibeesh Venu. He is currently working in Germany as a Full Stack Developer for medialesson GmbH.
Despite having only been involved in the IT industry for seven years, Sibeesh is already a well-known tech writer and speaker. He has already become a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional three times.
(1.04) – So I really wanted to first ask you maybe if you could give us a little bit more about your background and tell us how you got into it. Sibeesh explains that when he left school he had no clear career direction in mind. So, on the recommendation of a friend, he went to engineering college. He got the qualification but had no job to go into. Sibeesh took a job at a local hotel. But, he soon realized the work was not for him and left after just 2 months.
At that point, he decided to try IT, Sibeesh started by studying .NET. He moved to a new city and joined a startup company as an engineer. Later, he moved to Germany.
(2.30) – How did you end up working in Germany? Sibeesh had always wanted to explore a new country. So, when he got the chance to work in Germany he made the move.
(3.14) – Can you please share a unique career tip with the I.T. career audience? Sibeesh says that it is important to always finish what you start, even if you find something really boring or very difficult you need to complete the project. That approach builds up your confidence fast and makes you more resilient. It teaches you that you are capable of pushing through regardless.
(4.29) – Can you share with us about your worst career moment? And what you learned from that experience. In the past, Sibeesh has mistakenly joined companies where there was no place for his technical exposure or no chance to improve his knowledge. He ended up working with old languages in roles that offered him no job satisfaction.
Sibeesh explains that you can only produce good work when you love what you are doing. His advice is not to waste valuable years doing a job you do not enjoy especially if it is one where you learn nothing new.
(5.34) – What was your best career moment? your greatest success. For the past six years, Sibeesh has been writing an award-winning tech blog. He has won the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award three times. An award that is given to someone who passionately shares what they know with the wider community.
Winning this award brings many benefits. For example, MVP winners get early access to Microsoft products. They are also in direct communication with Microsoft and get to attend the annual MVP summit.
(7.17) – Presumably by being a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, you get the opportunity as well to expand your network. Sibeesh agrees it has made networking a lot easier for him. Getting involved in meetups has also helped him to network more.
(7.40) – Can you tell us what excites you about the future of the IT industry and careers? The pace of change and the emergence of AI both excite Sibeesh. It is a challenging environment to work in because you can never be sure what is going to happen next. But, providing you keep your mind open and become a continuous learner you will be able to take advantage of the opportunities that are out there.
(8.47) – What attracted you to a career in IT? For Sibeesh it was simply the fact that his friend recommended that he give IT a try.
(9.15) – What is the best career advice you have ever received? One of Sibeesh’s mentors encouraged him to be a continual learner. Advice he took to heart and used to help him to quickly build a successful IT career.
(9.30) – Conversely, what is the worst career advice you’ve ever received? Someone once told Sibeesh that “your job is important, not your satisfaction”. Sibeesh now understands that the opposite is true. Your satisfaction is more important than your job. If you are not satisfied in your work, you will achieve nothing.
(10.04) – If you were to begin your IT career again, right now, what would you do? Sibeesh is passionate about and fascinated by the IoT movement. If he were to start his career again, that would be his focus.
(10.38) – What are you currently focusing on in your career? Sibeesh is working to make sure he stays within the MVP program. He is also working on building out an even stronger network.
(10.58) – What is the number one non-technical skill that has helped you the most in your IT career? Writing is the non-IT skill that has advanced Sibeesh’s career the most. Blogging about whatever he learns has really paid dividends.
(11.21) – What do you do to keep your own IT career energized? Continuously learning helps to keep Sibeesh interested and motivated. He also finds being a mentor and mentee, at the same time, to be very energizing, career-wise. Being both sounds a bit strange, but Sibeesh has discovered that it really is possible to be both.
(11.50) – Phil agrees, he says that it depends on where you are in relation to the other person in terms of knowledge. There is always going to be somebody ahead of you. But as you progress your career, there’ll be more and more people that are at an earlier stage, which means that they can learn from you.
(12.16) – What do you do in your spare time away from technology? Sibeesh has 2 YouTube channels which he spends quite a bit of time maintaining. On is IT related, but the other one is all about his experiences in Germany. He enjoys explaining to people how things work there. In particular, when he comes across something that is very different from what he is used to.
Sibeesh is also a keen photographer. He enjoys taking photos and sharing his knowledge of that subject with others.
(13.38) – Phil asks Sibeesh to share a parting piece of career advice with the I.T. Career Energizer audience. Sibeesh’s advice is to give back to the community. This helps you to build a strong network and motivates you to continue to learn. When it is time to change jobs the fact that you have done this will make things a lot easier.
(3.33) SIBEESH – “Finishing what you start, no matter what, builds confidence and forces you to hone your skills.”
(5.07) SIBEESH – “You can do good work, only if you love it.”
(7.03) SIBEESH – “We live in a world where everything is changing. Yet, in the end, what matters is the people who know us and the people we know”
(9.28) SIBEESH – “Keep learning, the one who stops learning is old.”
(10.03) SIBEESH – “Your satisfaction is more important than your job. If you are not satisfied you will achieve nothing.”
(11.31) SIBEESH – “I am a mentor and a mentee. A person can be both, at the same time.”
(14.01) SIBEESH – “Giving it back to the community is the first step to building a strong network.”