Episode 221 – Network Face-to-Face Learn Teach and Mentor with Jen Looper

 In Podcasts

Phil’s guest on this episode of the IT Career Energizer podcast is Jen Looper, a Google Developer Expert and a Cloud Developer Advocate Lead at Microsoft with over 18 years’ experience as a web and mobile developer, specialising in creating cross-platform mobile apps.

She is also the founder and CEO of Vue Vixens, which is an initiative promoting diversity in the Vue.js community.

In this episode, Phil and Jen Looper discuss why making connections by physically meeting people is still the most effective way to network and uncover new career opportunities. They talk about how the frontend is changing. In particular, the impact the faster frameworks like Svelte are going to have.

Jen also explains why those who are new to the industry can benefit from focusing on open source.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

(2.50) TOP CAREER TIP

Network as much as you can. In particular, attend user groups and meetups. It is surprising how much face time will help you. People remember you better and you make stronger connections this way. When you are looking for a job you will be surprised by how much easier it is to find one when you know more people.

 

(4.12) WORST CAREER MOMENT

At one stage Jen worked in a workplace that was a bit rough around the edges, in general. For example, the CEO lost his temper and threw a chair at one of her female colleagues He tried to physically intimidate Jen too. But, she was taller than him so the act of her standing up and towering over him was enough to calm things down a little.

Working in a place like that was awful. But, it taught Jen that if you are working in an environment where you have to use physical cues to get your point across, it is time to move on.

 

(5.14) CAREER HIGHLIGHT

Jen and her team of Irish developers earned a Star Award for their work on an insurance application, which they did for Sun Life. It was definitely a career highlight, which felt all the better because it is unusual for remote teams to win these kinds of corporate recognition awards. She especially enjoyed seeing each team members’ careers take off after they had won the award.

 

(7.44) THE FUTURE OF CAREERS IN I.T

Right now, Jen is excited about what is going on at the frontend. In particular with the new frameworks like Svelte, which are going to really simplify interfaces and improve performance. These changes will make a huge difference to people who live in areas of the world that still have slow connections.

 

(8.53) THE REVEAL

What first attracted you to a career in I.T.? – When it came to tech, Jen was an early adopter. When she realised she was good at programming working in IT was a natural step.

What’s the best career advice you received? – Make a 1 year and a 5-year career plan. Jen does and she reviews them every 3 to 6 months.

What’s the worst career advice you received? – From college, Jen wanted to go to Cal Berkley. But, instead of being advised how to do that, the college’s suggestion was that she explore becoming a sommelier because women had a heightened sense of taste and smell.

What would you do if you started your career now? – Jen would start with open source and embrace the community around it.

What are your current career objectives? – Jen has just moved into managing technical teams, so she is currently focusing on doing that well.

What’s your number one non-technical skill? – Being a good networker and an active listener.

How do you keep your own career energized? – Keep reading, keep following interesting people, keep building and continue to grow.

What do you do away from technology? – Jen has just moved house, so has been busy making a new home. She is also enjoying learning to use Procreate app, an Apple Pencil and her iPad to create paintings, diagrams and art.

 

(14.25) FINAL CAREER TIP

Keep learning, teach and become a mentor. When you do that you continually improve and will be helping the next generation to step up. The world is going to need a lot of people to maintain and evolve its tech.

Jen is really excited to be helping people from across the world to get involved in tech, in particular, on the frontend.

 

BEST MOMENTS

(2.58) – Jen – “Attend user groups and meetups. Meeting face to face is a very effective way to build a strong network.”

(4.27) – Jen – “Avoid confrontational workplaces, the chances are you will have to leave quickly, so why put yourself through it?”

(9.33) – Jen – “Make a 1 year and a 5-year career plan and review them every 3 to 6 months.”

(11.28) – Jen – “Embrace open source, in particular, if you are just starting out.”

(12.23) – Jen – “Cultivate active listening, to become a good communicator.”

(13.18) – Jen – “Keep learning, teaching and mentoring. Doing all three will build you up and help the next generation.”

 

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:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/philtechcareer

LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/philburgess

Facebook: https://facebook.com/philtechcareer

Instagram: https://instagram.com/philtechcareer

Website: https://itcareerenergizer.com/contact

Phil is also reachable by email at [email protected] and via the podcast’s website, https://itcareerenergizer.com

Join the I.T. Career Energizer Community on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/ITCareerEnergizer

 

ABOUT THE GUEST – JEN LOOPER

Jen Looper is a Google Developer Expert and a Cloud Developer Advocate Lead at Microsoft with over 18 years’ experience as a web and mobile developer, specialising in creating cross-platform mobile apps.

She is also the founder and CEO of Vue Vixens, which is an initiative promoting diversity in the Vue.js community.

 

CONTACT THE GUEST – JEN LOOPER

Jen Looper can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms:

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/jenlooper

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jen-looper-3442413/

Personal Website: http://www.jenlooper.com

Website: http://www.vuevixens.org

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