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Advice for Newcomers

By Steve Jones,

This editorial was originally published on April 18, 2014. It is being republished as Steve is rehearsing for tomorrow's SQL in the City.

A friend recently was asked to give a presentation on their career to a group of 12 year olds. It was a challenge to engage the students, and my friend was surprised that very few of the kids were interested in technology. I was disappointed as well since I think this is a great career choice, and worth a little investigation, especially at that age.

It's hard to convince people to enter this business if they don't have any interest, but if they do, I'm wondering what you might tell them. Today I'd like you to think about your words of wisdom to someone interested in your job.

What would you tell someone that you wish you knew early on in your career?

You might impart some hints about how to approach technology. You might give them ideas on how to build skills faster or better? However for me, I'd tell them two things.

First, you can't underestimate the value of networking, no matter what field you enter. Whether that's technology, medicine, law, or anything else, networking will help you. Learn to make contacts and interact with people.

Second, learn what you don't like to do. Experiment with the technologies, practice the jobs, and understand what you don't like. You might not find something you have a passion for, but I'd certainly encourage you not to enter a field that you just don't enjoy.

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