Episode 207 – Become an Effective Networker and Be Flexible About Your Career with Jennifer Wong
Phil’s guest on this episode of the IT Career Energizer podcast is Jennifer Wong. Jennifer is a former civil engineer and self-taught software engineer specialising in UI and frontend development. She has written for Net Magazine and has had projects covered by Mashable, Engadget, Gizmodo and more.
She is also an avid conference speaker and a Mozilla Tech speaker.
In this episode, Phil and Jennifer Wong discuss how being flexible about the work you do and pushing yourself to learn completely new skills helps your career. Jennifer also speaks about her experience with sexual harassment in the workplace. Jennifer explains why you need to educate yourself about workplace disciplinary procedures, even if you have not, yet, had any issues.
She also discusses how her project “Human Wasteland” helped to make a positive difference for the issue of homeless in San Francisco.
(4.09) TOP CAREER TIP
Be flexible about the work you do and how you lead your life. Not being too rigid about your career plans makes it easy to adapt as things change and follow your interests.
(5.49) WORST CAREER MOMENT
Jennifer experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. She went to HR, yet, the person just got a slap on the wrist. Shockingly, their boss protected them when the issue came to light. Worse, that person continued to abuse others even after Jennifer had left the company.
It was an awful experience. One that highlighted to Jennifer the importance of knowing your rights and how workplace disciplinary processes should work. That way, if something goes wrong you do not waste time or end up taking ineffective action.
(9.23) CAREER HIGHLIGHT
Creating Human Wasteland is Jennifer’s career highlight, so far. She took an innovative approach to highlighting the plight of San Francisco’s homeless population.
Finding a public toilet is not easy, in the city. So, street defecation is an issue in the city. Jennifer mapped the 311 reports the city receives when this happens. Her innovative project caught the attention of the media. This in turn opened up the chance for Jennifer to talk about solutions for the homeless and play a part in local politics and improving social justice.
(11.45) THE FUTURE OF CAREERS IN I.T
The fact that anyone can now potentially work as a programmer is an exciting prospect. Jennifer can see this new wave of people coming up with lots of truly new and innovative ideas.
(13.18) THE REVEAL
What first attracted you to a career in I.T.? – Jennifer was inspired to get involved in IT when a friend of hers learned HTML and CSS and started building her own websites.
What’s the best career advice you received? – You will always feel you don’t know enough. Don’t worry about this, everyone still has so much to learn.
What’s the worst career advice you received? – Don’t worry about learning new skills just use the ones you already have. There is a real danger your existing skills will one day become redundant.
What would you do if you started your career now? – Jennifer would have began her IT career earlier.
What are your current career objectives? – Identifying and learning some of the skills she currently has zero knowledge of. In the podcast, Jennifer explains how she is using side projects to achieve this goal.
What’s your number one non-technical skill? – Empathy.
How do you keep your own career energized? – Jennifer finds that working on side projects energises her. It pushes her to learn how to use new tools and languages.
What do you do away from technology? – Jennifer volunteers for the League of Women Voters and co-leads the Police Commission Observer Corps.
(0.00) FINAL CAREER TIP
Become an effective networker. You can never tell which relationship is going to lead the next big thing in your life.
(4.15) – Jennifer – “Be flexible with what you want to do with your career.”
(8.41) – Jennifer – “Educate yourself, in advance, about what to do if you are harassed or bullied in the workplace.”
(15.12) – Jennifer – “Don’t just build on the skills you already have. Actively learn some completely new ones.”
(19.33) – Jennifer – “It’s important to have empathy and understanding for your customers.”
(21.24) – Jennifer – “Network. You never know who is going to connect you to the next big thing in your life.”
ABOUT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS
Phil Burgess is an independent IT consultant who has spent the last 20 years helping organisations to design, develop and implement software solutions. Phil has always had an interest in helping others to develop and advance their careers. And in 2017 Phil started the I.T. Career Energizer podcast to try to help as many people as possible to learn from the career advice and experiences of those that have been, and still are, on that same career journey.
CONTACT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS
Phil can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms:
Join the I.T. Career Energizer Community on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/ITCareerEnergizer
ABOUT THE GUEST – JENNIFER WONG
Jennifer Wong is a former engineer and self-taught software engineer specialising in UI and frontend development. She has written for Net Magazine and has had projects covered by Mashable, Engadget, Gizmodo and more.
Jennifer is also an avid conference speaker and a Mozilla Tech speaker.
CONTACT THE GUEST – JENNIFER WONG
Jennifer Wong can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms: