Training and Certification
Ask Reddit and Quora for Career Advice
February 16, 2016
This blog post presents a different perspective for seeking career advice and direction. Ask for insight on Reddit, Quora, and relevant online forums.
Are Counselors as Practical as Reddit and Quora?
Question and answer forums may not provide the most suitable solutions for your life problems, but the individuals in those communities are more often helpful than not. They’ll tell you the hard answers a college counselor, mom, dad, or close friends won’t give you. They usually don’t know you (we all peruse Reddit under aliases). They don’t care who you are. But they will certainly speak the truth according to their personal perspective.
Where College and High School Counselors Fall Short
My college and high school counselors supplied very little guidance. Perhaps I didn’t take them seriously enough or give them enough to actually help me, but that’s a pointless debate now.
Practical counselor should ask you several questions about college, including,
- College affordability and the long-term reality of student loans
- The practicality of proposed major and career
- Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years from now?
- Are you even ready for a four-year school?
- Do you know the difference between a four and two-year school?
- Alternative educational options
They should serve as an inside man (or woman) who gives you the plain truth about higher education and possible careers. They shouldn’t tell you what you want to hear. If you’re interested in college, they don’t need to sell the product. The percentage of students going to college from your school shouldn’t matter. This isn’t a numbers game.
We need more college counselors with the practical minds to tell it how it is. Until then, turn to Reddit and Quora. Ask away. You’ll find answers. They may not give you what you want to hear. But the hard truths are better for you than what you want to hear. This advice specifically applies to those interested in computer science or programming careers.
Take career advice from Pros in the field with a grain of salt
Remember, as much as that person loves or dislikes their job, their personal preference and advice overall, is skewed by their bias. Do not take their advice as complete truth. Observe the bias and take it into account. We very often overlook the state of personal bias.
Internships and Experience will open your eyes
I came across a Reddit thread about whether or not to pursue certifications or an internship. The commentators overwhelmingly suggested seeking an internship. Experience carries more weight and stands out on a resume. Not only does the experience establish credibility, create references to your work and skills, but it gives you a first-hand preview about a potential career. You can also gain significant connections within your aspiring field.
Also, for IT interns, one redditor pointed out, “Very few IT students serve in unpaid internships”. Don’t take this comment as absolute truth, but more often than not, this is the truth.
Most importantly, you have an opportunity to test the waters of a potential career path. These experience serve as the best barometer for knowing if you’ll like and grow to love a career.