Monday, October 24, 2011

Communication Careers at Tech Companies

Andrew Waldrup, Culture Evangelist at Gowalla; Whitney Francis, Community Manager at Google and Jennifer Stafford of HomeAway spoke at a panel about communication careers at technology companies this past Wednesday, Oct. 19.

All three panelists were from different backgrounds and provided excellent insight into the communication industry. This insight consisted of what we should know as students, what to expect from a start-up company's schedule and the importance of location-based services.

I think the most interesting part of the panel was the aspects that related to how students can make themselves more marketable. They said that students do not have to know everything about coding and that a basic knowledge of HTML would suffice. The panelists also said to join clubs like PRSSA and Social Media Club.

According to the panel, knowledge of Search Engine Optimization and social media is an imperative skill for this industry. The panel encouraged students to attend SEO meetups around the area.

Two other pieces of advice the panel gave to students were to always apologize during crisis management and to learn how to use Radian6.

Jennifer Stafford said that you should expect to "wear many hats" when you work at a start-up company. She said that hours are difficult and having a flexible schedule is a must.

The future of location-based services is extremely important to the industry. According to Whitney Francis, one-in-five searches in Google are location-based. Andrew Waldrup said Gowalla is against gamification because the company wants long-term sustainability. It seems like social location services will continue to exist because the companies are always seeking and capitalizing on innovation.

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