Furward Momentum (Introduction)
- Building Your Support Network and/or Team
- Mapping the Technology Landscape
- Learning the Fundamental Skills
- Choosing Your Path
- Starting and Growing an Open Source Project
- Building Your C.V.
- Getting Your First Tech Job
- Starting a Technology Company
- Career Growth and Paying It Forward
A C.V. (curriculum vitae) is a summary of your life’s work. It’s distinct from a résumé: C.V.s are longer, and they’re focused on credentials rather than competencies.
Your résumé is “a short menu for what I’m capable of doing”. Your C.V. is “what I’ve accomplished in my career”.
Building one’s C.V. is an ongoing process that doesn’t end until you retire or die.
If your end goal is to get a job, you’re going to eventually need both documents. If you’re starting your own company, you’ll only need to focus on filling out your C.V.
Why Does a C.V. Matter to Business Owners?
The document itself might not matter much, but the steps that go into building a C.V. is necessary for establishing your business’s reputation, especially within a local or online community.
Contributing to Open Source Projects
If your group has successfully followed along with all of the previous entries in this series, you’ve already started a few open source projects (individually as well as at least one collectively).
Chances are, your projects already depend on other people’s open source projects. (Congratulations, you’re a part of the ecosystem now!) If not, do some research and see if you can offload a lot of boilerplate code by depending on someone else’s open source library instead of rewriting it again and again.
At some point, one of two things is going to happen:
- You’re going to run into a bug in someone else’s code that affects your project and want to fix it.
- You’re going to get curious about how they implemented something.
This tends to happen organically, but if it hasn’t, try to work up a bit of curiosity and look under the hood. (Furries with feline fursonas take note: Curiosity in software will not kill you.)
Alternatively, you can just open the source code repository for an arbitrary open source project and look at the open issues tab to see what problems other people are already experiencing.
Whatever floats your boat!
At the end of the day, what you want to do is find something that needs to be fixed in another open source software project, and then try to fix it yourself. If it’s too hard, move onto another bug. (There are always plenty of bugs to fix!)
Do this a few times, to various projects.
Congratulations, you have a few projects you can list in your C.V.
Programmer Forum Reputation
Some software projects (especially programming languages) are popular enough to have their own tag on programmer forums such as Stack Overflow (and other Stack Exchange sites).
Contributing helpful answers to other people’s questions on these forums will likely result in an increased reputation score, which serves two main purposes:
- These websites also sell a service to help employers find skilled developers to hire.
- The more helpful answers you provide, the greater your reputation among your peers (which can also lead to business opportunity).
The best way to farm for reputation on websites like this is to find questions that have not been answered (or closed).
For example, this link is a search query for the newest unanswered questions tagged with both [php] and [encryption].
Find the tags relevant to the technology you’re working with, search for unanswered questions, and then answer them.
Other C.V. Opportunities
The last main category of C.V. growth opportunities to consider before pursuing the next steps is volunteering. Find a non-profit organization that needs technology assistance, and provide it.
The only other areas that typically fit on one’s C.V. include:
- Past employment, which would place you in a weird catch-22 if I emphasized it in this guide.
- Formal education, which takes years to acquire and almost always results in an inappropriate amount of student loan debt (which sucks).
- Articles published in peer-reviewed journals
- Published books (if you have any, rock on!)
- Patents and non-patented inventions
If you can fit something else in your C.V. that isn’t described on this page, more power to you.
We have finally reached the fork in the road, where job-seekers and business owners will take separate paths. There is definite value in learning both pathways, but if you’re crunched for time, don’t feel pressured to read both. (By all means, feel free to if you want.)
If your goal is to get a job in the technology industry, your next step is: Getting Your First Tech Job.
Alternatively, Starting a Technology Company is your next stop.