I admit. I haven’t been to a career fair for the last three years. I have been so busy studying and getting myself back on my feet in the tech field for the longest time since I was laid off back in 2010. 1 In addition, my part-time job doesn’t really give me many chances to take a few days off without the risk of suffering my current finances, thus I have been stuck.

A friend of mine blogged about her experience in the annual Tech Inclusion Conference in NYC. The conference promotes diversity and inclusion of individuals of all races, backgrounds, shapes, and sizes into the rapidly-growing tech industry. When I read about her experience, I immediately looked up the conference to see if there will be one in my area. I was half-expecting that there should be one in my area, due to the nature of my hometown’s location. 2 Just my luck, there will be one in San Francisco the month after.

Unfortunately for me, I could not get all three days off. I really wanted to listen to guest speakers as they had a really good line up of who will appear in that conference. However, this time, I have my prior aim: their career fair. I felt like I may never have a chance like this again and would have to wait until next year for this conference to come back to my area, therefore, I decided to make my leap and take a day off. When I do get back on my feet again in a suitable job that would not just help me become financially stable, but to also fulfill the things that I love to do to the community and for my family and friends, I’ll have a chance to attend all three days, or if I get lucky in a tech job, the second and third days.

The career fair, at first, was quite overwhelming. I have been to past career fairs years ago and they weren’t as packed as this. There were a lot of big-named companies (which, not to my surprise, includes the company that I currently work at) and I was so happy that I found two of my dream companies 3 being there, as well as companies I did not expect to be there but kind of hoping I’d work there. 4 I was a little sad that there were also companies that I hoped would be there but were not there, 5 but still, it was quite a wonderful experience.

After having short talks with some of the HR reps in each booth, a lot of them were really eye openers for me. I’ve heard stories about some of their company’s hiring processes, which is much different from any other job interview. Because many of them are big-named companies, a lot of them are very tech-revolving with their job applications. Most of them did not accept paper resumes, but we did fill out forms on the spot to be a part of their career mailing list and other mailing lists regarding their company. There are some that I’m most excited to apply and there are others where I don’t feel I’m ready to take the leap just yet.

Around 1:30 p.m., I also attended a free workshop seminar about technical interviews. I needed something like this because I’m sure that technical interviews today are a lot different than the technical interviews back in the late 2000s. My last technical interview was back in 2007 or 2008 for my production artist job, in which I was asked to create a wireframe template using Adobe Photoshop using the given content and information. And yes, technical interviews are very thorough and not just your usual “Tell me about yourself” or “Can you give me an example of a time when ____?” types of interview questions. With technical interviews, they don’t care much about learning about your past situations and how you handle them and they don’t care much about your educational background or your past work experience too. They care more about how you’d be able to handle a particular task or a problem that happens on the job every day, and thus, would test you through one or more problem/issue situations.

Karat, the company that offered the workshop, was very kind and open to the questions that many of us have regarding the technical interviews and I also feel that they’ve done a wonderful job simulating a typical tech interview too. A lot of the people who came to the conference were women, college students about to graduate, and even those who were older than me. They also recommended a book that we should at least check it out. I purchased a copy from Amazon yesterday and had it shipped the next day. 6 I posted a photo of the book cover on my Instagram.

I do wish that there would be a video playback of these keynote speakers, but I doubt it. Still, after meeting many representatives from the companies that were present, I knew exactly which companies I want to apply for. Now I have to polish up my resume and LinkedIn before I take that my next step.

On the sidenote…

  1. Just to make a sidenote, I currently have a part-time job, but not in the tech field. I do work in a huge tech company, but not in the tech field. Hope this makes any sense…
  2. I’m sure many of you already know this, but I’ll repeat again. I live in the SF Bay Area, just some 20 miles north of the “border of Silicon Valley,” even though some locals say that I already live in Silicon Valley.
  3. Automattic and Google
  4. Crunchyroll, Microsoft, Autodesk, and Twitter
  5. GitHub, Adobe, and Facebook
  6. Amazon Prime member here. Free one-day shipping over $35. The book was about $38. 😊