Three professionals from the tech industry spoke at Mass Comm Week at Texas State University on Thursday, October 19th, concerning the importance of networking and staying up-to-date on current technology in order to insure a job after graduation. Adrew Waldrup, a culture evangelist from Gowalla, Jennifer Stattford from HomeAway and Whitney Francis, a community manager at Google, sat on a panel and engaged the audience in an informative and very relevant discussion about of success in the tech industry.
Networking was a key skill that the panelists stressed. Waldrup, a graduate of Texas State, explained that perseverance is key when it comes to landing a job. He told the story of how he "stalked" a person at Gowalla in order to get his job. He obviously wasn't saying to be a creeper and look through the window of your prospective employer, but rather to maintain contact with the people who would be hiring you.
The panelists also said, and to some degree, reassured the audience of young people, that they don't need to know how to program a computer in order to be successful in the tech industry - basic HTML will do. The technology that is a key necessity is knowing how to use a wide range of social media; from Facebook to Twitter, and all the other similar programs out there.
Overall, the presentation gave a great deal of information that may students, especially those who have little to no professional experience, will be able to use after graduation to land them their dream job (or at least a job that will pay the bills).
On a side note; a good resource for getting "linked in" to a professional network is to try out Linkin.com. If you're unaware of this site, it is like Facebook, but for professionals. Check it out and see if you can find people who are in the organizations that you are interested in working for and start a relationship with them - but don't forget to make a real-life relationship as well.