As part of a sequence of blog posts from Alexandre, here is his final contribution in his “IT Tips in Toronto” series. Thanks, Alexandre for being a part of this blog and for sharing your tips with us!
Until this moment, we have learned about meetups and library resources as excellent sources of knowledge. The next step is contributing to the IT community, increasing your professional network, and showing your abilities.
The lack of a professional network and reputation are big problems abroad. Frequently, newcomers are alone in the job market and have no local references or colleagues. This situation may be more positive if you contribute to a project as a volunteer, in-person or remotely, being a part of something bigger.
Volunteer jobs are good for the mind, happiness, self-esteem, and are as significant as physical and mental rewards. Furthermore, you can make a real difference to the lives of people through your help. It’s win-win!
On the internet, you’ll find volunteer positions listed on some famous job websites such as Indeed and Monster, and others like Idealist, VolunteerMatch, and CharityVillage. Potential volunteers must make sure that the mission and vision of the organizations selected in their job searches match their expectations before applying. It’s essential to work on projects that really interest you.
One important point is preparing your resume and cover letter for each volunteer application. WoodGreen has workshops that teach people how to make these documents. Subscribe to the Community Connections newsletter that has information about workshops, by sending an email to Teresa Tao at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another way to contribute to the community is participating in challenges and hackathons. These events give you the chance to apply your skills to complex problems. Many companies promote its API, products, and technologies through these kinds of challenges. Winners are spotlighted on websites and newsletters. Your network can increase a lot if your team has a good performance, at the end of the event.
I participated in TPL’s Second Annual Hackathon about Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy (search for EZHouz). Each member of the team received wonderful feedback, met other people in the field, and added many new contacts on social medias. Websites as DevPost, and HackthonsNearMe are great places to search for challenges.
Finally, there are many hidden opportunities all around us. For example, if you note that people have tech problems with their devices and equipment, or your community center’s website needs a better version or a mobile app, offer yourself to do it. In my case, I identified that this, the Career Pursuit Blog, didn’t have any IT articles on its portfolio. So, I offered to share my experiences.
To summarize, my tips were based on MEET-LEARN-DO concept ( my own concept ) through meetups, library, and challenges. This is one of the ways you can show how proactive you are, and show that you have initiative, and are driven to have a good beginning of your professional career in Toronto.
I hope my articles help you.
If you have questions and suggestions, let me know. It will be a pleasure talk to you.
Alexandre Belloni Alves, Systems Analyst
You can find out more about me here.