The Tech Talk tonight was presented by Karen, who focused on Networking as a primary method to connect with potential clients. Following is the WrapUp of her talk.
Note the photograph, from the mid-60s. Karen is sitting at a Control Data Corporation (CDC) 1700 computer that supported up to 32K of RAM, provided a 10-pound 5MB removable disk pack [image shows only size, not capacity or brand], and provided the ability to enter machine-level code via toggle switches on the console. StateOfTheArt.
Inspired by the recent Tech Talk on Automating Retail Pricing Policies, and awakened by the realization that the Retail Industry as we know it is in fact dying out, I decided to investigate other industries to see which ones are still viable for new techies launching their careers.
Results of a quick DuckDuckGo Search for “Industries” returned the website for Deloitte (which used to be Deloitte Touch and is now Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company; formerly one of the Big 8 Accounting Firms, and now one of the surviving Big 4) at the top of the search results. [As Deloitte’s Wikipedia Entry will attest, Deloitte seems to spend about as much energy merging and acquiring as they do with their core business activities of accounting and consulting.]
Here—for quick reference—are the Industry Categories & Sectors listed on Deloitte’s website:
- Energy, Resources & Industrials
- Financial Services
- Government & Services
- Life Sciences & Health Care
- Technology, Media & Telecommunications
As I skim the sectors within the industries listed, I am hard-pressed to find one that, in its current instantiation, will be around long enough (40-50 years) to provide a lifelong career for today’s tech graduates. Not only will the sectors change (via mergers and acquisitions), they will be transformed and compacted, squeezing-out people in favor of automation. How do today’s tech college graduates select their ideal career?
I’d like to launch the Tech Talk by reviewing the 3 C’s for Tech Success.
THREE C’S REQUIRED FOR A LIFETIME CAREER
I looked back on my own career in technology and came up with three elements that provided a sound basis for a lifetime career:
These three C’s will provide a solid foundation for anyone to move forward. Let’s examine them one at a time.
Confidence is an obvious, pragmatic requirement for dealing with the business world. But how do you acquire confidence?
Start by performing a SWOT Analysis on your Skill Set. SWOT is a marketing acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. The first two categories, Strengths and Weaknesses, are internal analyses; assessed on oneself. The last two categories, Opportunities and Threats, are external analyses; assessed on domains outside oneself.
Taking a step back from the SWOT Analysis, you need a basis for identifying specific strengths—and combinations of strengths. The best way to understand your professional self is to identify your aptitudes; innate abilities that form the elements of individual skill sets.
Understand your aptitudes so you have a basis for an educational path. Enhance—and orchestrate—your aptitudes with education, practice, and mentoring.
Along the way, understand where the disciplines overlap and can be combined to provide career tangents to explore. Developing multiple skills may lead to multiple revenue streams in retirement.
As you achieve a minimum level of confidence, you’re ready to explore.
Connections include personal contact, tangential contact, friend-of-a-friend contact, online connections via professional networking sites—and even accidental encounters.
How do you connect? Networking events, trade shows, business service groups, school groups, volunteer groups, professional placement companies (colloquially, “Head Hunters” or, agents), and almost any gathering of professionally-oriented people.
REMEMBER: It’s who you know that gets you in; it’s what you know that keeps you there!©
Clients include any business entity that is willing to pay money for your services. How much money? You determine that.
How to Set an Initial Hourly Rate
Start by calculating your Fixed Monthly Expenses; colloquially referred to as your “nut”:
- Multiply your “nut” by 8 to determine your Monthly Required Revenue.
- Here’s an example breakdown for revenue distribution each month:
- one-half of net-after-expenses revenue goes to taxes (Federal: 25%; OR State: 9%; FICA (100%): 15%)
- one-eighth to your reserve fund (for when you are between jobs or gigs)
- one-eighth to savings and investment (for retirement)
- one-eighth to your “nut”
- one eighth to monthly extras
- Determine your Annual Revenue: Multiply the Monthly Required Revenue number by 12 (months in a year) to calculate Annual Required Revenue.
- Determine your Hourly Rate: Divide the Annual Required Revenue by 2,000 (fifty 40-hour work weeks; two weeks for vacation) to determine your Hourly Rate.
- This is a starting point. The market will tell you whether it’s too high, too low, or right on the money.
- HINT: You might want to start with a higher Hourly Rate and provide discounts (prompt payment, new customer, senior, seasonal, up-front monthly retainer or annual payment, etc.) That way, when you reach the point where you have more work than you have time, you won’t have to raise your rates—you simply discontinue the discounts.
If you are considering going to work for a company as an employee, subtract one-third from your calculated Annual Revenue; this will cover your employer’s contributions to various taxes and reserves for all forms of paid leave.
How does one find clients?
Research tech-oriented companies in your desired geographical area. Understand their business operations. Find a glossary of terms for that business and research any unfamiliar concepts.
Make connections with company personnel. Research their website to discover whether the employees volunteer their time to local causes; then join-in those local causes and interact with the people.
Research news articles to discover recent company activities in the news, including merger and acquisition news. When companies combine operations, they frequently downsize staff and may need temporary help (a.k.a. contractors) with IT operations—integrating or merging software.
Develop Your Product: You
Set Your Price: Calculations
Find Your Place: Market Savvy
Promote Your Product: Network
Following the Tech Talk, we chatted about networking and tech talks, and welcomed a new person to the group.
Dinner was great, topped off with Strawberry Sorbet. Yum!
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