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Practical step by step guide to get your career started in a meaningful direction

Looking for a job? Trying to decide on an education?

Below you'll find my most concrete and detailed guidance yet to a meaningful and effective education, for a rewarding and future-proof career.

Summary: contact a lot of start-ups and ask them, then study on-line whatever skills they are missing

Share this post. If you only share one single post on my site, this one should be it. Share it with your entire network. Make sure those guys who can't decide what to study, where to study, how to study etc. read it and apply the lessons in it.

There is no spoon

First you must realize your future is not as just another employee at a big firm.

And the path to where you are going probably isn't through 4-5 years of partying and time-wasting in formal education.

Then commence your quest to find the right place for you. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Find a directory of start-ups. In Sweden you could, e.g., start here, at SiSP, where you'll find 80 start-up areas with dozens or hundreds of associated start-ups each.
  2. Start with the area closest to you, e.g., this one, UIC.
  3. Call and visit all the companies on their list.
    1. UIC currently lists some 300 young companies and start-ups.
    2. Send e-mails directly to each company and start scheduling as many meetings you can.
    3. Treat the project like an essay or writing a book, not as job interviews.
      1. The goal is to map which companies there are,
      2. which industries and sub-sectors,
      3. which problems they are trying to solve and
      4. with which technologies, and not least,
      5. what skills they are looking for in potential employees or partners.
        1. Ask them outright if they would hire people without formal education and
        2. if skills are more important than diplomas.
        3. Do they test the skills of their employees or do they just check their grades?
  4. Keep going through companies on the list, until you find an industry or sub-sector that you find particularly interesting, or, alternatively, that is looking for people and find you interesting
  5. Make a summary of your findings. Do it in a way that you imagine could be interesting to start-ups in your chosen sub-sector -and send it to them. Identify how different start-ups could help each other, or how one company's methods could be used in another etc. What problems or solutions are they missing? If you find something like that, they'd hire you in a heartbeat.
  6. OK, maybe you're not ready to get a job, but now you have a clear view of challenges, available technologies and what skills and knowledge you would need to be able to contribute to those or similar companies in the future, after your "education". So, let's get that education:
  7. Ask around at forums like YCombinator on how best to acquire the skills you need. There you can find out even more about what skills are in demand and where to acquire those. E.g., ask whether it is best to study in a formal setting, or if there are online resources that are equally good or better.
  8. My guess is that Stanford, MIT, KTH, Linköping, Lund, Chalmers offer very interesting courses for free. And then there are of course CourseraKhan and Codecademy, not to mention YouTube in general if you know what you ant to learn. And here are 144 other on-line study resources. In addition never forget the importance of taking stuff apart and trying to put it back together again (with the help of YouTube)
  9. Study. That is, take what you found out in the points above, and either study on-line or combine it with some kind of formal education
  10. Stay in contact with the start-up scene. Keep meeting with new companies; IRL or over Skype if you or they prefer that. Keep identifying which problems are being solved and what skills the start-ups are looking for.
  11. Consider starting your own business, applying whatever skills you gain along the way during your chosen studies. Build websites. Repair electronics... It's the perfect way to broaden your network of industry contacts and potential partners.
    1. E.g., if you found out that a company needs Python programmers, start learning Python. Meanwhile, talk online in various programmer forums and find out what you can do with Python - perhaps control quadrotor robots or add features to Japanese robot toys. Start a business doing that to hone your skills as well as make some extra money.


I'll find you


And, so help me God, I'll find you and personally punish you, if you don't set up a website with your findings from all those interviews, and create a community of like-minded people, aggregating each other's information at one place.



Forgot where to start?

Find a start-up close to you. Call them or e-mail them and ask if you can visit them to see what they are working on, what their challenges are, what kind of skills they would need.

Then do one more.

Continue until you see the light and know what you want and need to learn. Then learn that - preferably fast, on-line, using and building a habit of doing deep work. While you're at it, maybe try to get paid for your skills along the way, by starting a simple business or doing extra work at the start-ups you of course keep calling and meeting

Share this post. If you only share one single post on my site, this one should be it. Share it with your entire network. Make sure those guys who can't decide what to study, where to study, how to study etc. read it and apply the lessons in it.

Taggar (blogg): 
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (ej registrerad)

It's hard to find well-informed people about this

topic, but you seem like you know what you're talking about!


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