Just a head’s up: today’s blog is going to be a little different, in that it’s in no way music related, I just wanted to write a conversational post about a string of events that I was able to be a part of a few weeks ago.
If you follow me on any social media then you may know that alongside blogging I did a year-long stint in Digital Marketing, for South Bank London in 2014. Sadly, my position there ended in December due to funding, but I still maintain a professional relationship with the company on a freelance basis – managing their Twitter account and contributing their weekly Top 21 articles.
While looking for more permanent work I came to meet a guy called Ed Baker, publisher of technology publicaton ‘Techmix Magazine.’ After a brief chat about my background and aspirations within both Journalism and Tech, Ed invited me on a course that Techmix Magazine hosts, known as Tech Camp.
Tech Camp is an initiative that invites 40 young people into five of London’s leading technology companies across five days, to gain an insight into each organisation, as well as giving unemployed individuals a chance to grow their network and make contacts within the industry.
During my time on Tech Camp we went into the following companies: Mind Share (a global media and marketing agency hosted by Group M,) Japanese IT company Fujitsu, Fab Lab London (a prototyping workspace complete with 3D Printers and laser cutters!,) renowned brand HP, and global marketing company Sapient. We also had speakers from other well-known corporate businesses such as EE, and creative firms such as UsTwo – a digital studio that gives platform to new products and services.
It was really interesting to get a glimpse into such large-runners in the tech world and learn about what they do internally, including the processes that go into producing a product – the end result being the only part that the general public are usually privy to. However, that isn’t to say every day on the course was relevant to me. It wasn’t. I did find myself thinking ‘ok, this isn’t really for me’ on some days, but equally that doesn’t mean it was useless information either. It’s as much about figuring what you don’t want to do as much as what you do want to do.
Personally when the week began, being that my background is in Journalism rather than anything strictly ‘techy,’ (I’m not a programmer or web designer by any means!) I was a little dubious about how I could segue into that kind of work. But, over the week, I realised that I have quite a lot of experience in digital media, through blogging and my work with South Bank London, and just generally in life using things like social media. I also met people whose backgrounds weren’t in technology at all – I actually spoke to a few people at HP whose backgrounds were also in music – and it opened me up to not being so defined by the work I’ve so far been doing.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve had an idea about the sort of thing you’ve wanted to do for years, and when something new comes along you’re not quite sure. But, just because something isn’t directly in line with your plans or aspirations, you shouldn’t just write it off because taking that chance could lead to some fantastic opportunities. There are other things that you can do using and applying the skills you have – just maybe in a different way. I’ve also learned in recent years that it’s as much about your personality as it is your qualifications – you could be the best programmer this side of the Atlantic but, if you can’t hold a conversation, work well in a team, or have that fire-in-the-belly passion for the job, they’re not going to hire you.
Now, if you’re sitting there thinking, ‘but I know nothing about tech, I don’t speak code, and I’m not overly technologically minded.” 1. You probably know more than you think, and 2. I hear you. But the great thing about Tech Camp is that it opens your eyes to the fact that that’s okay, and there’s opportunity to learn on the job – they’re not expecting you to be an expert! There is support in place, they won’t just leave you to it and watch you flounder.
My advice to you would be to branch out; always be open to other avenues because they could lead back to where you want to be, or they could take you in a completely new direction. If you don’t end up finding anything you’re as passionate about that’s fine, but if you do – that’s a bonus.
NB: I’d just like to thank all the companies involved for having us in, and everyone I met for being so lovely. I’d also like to thank Andrei, MK and Ed for all the hard work they put into organising and overseeing everything during the week. And again, thank you to Ed Baker for giving people like me this opportunity and for putting this whole thing together, and for believing in me enough to invite me on the course over hundreds of other applicants!
If you’re interested in ‘Techmix Magazine’, or Tech Camp, you can take a look here.
Photos by: Emma Tarrant and Sophie Brown.