Once upon a time, back in the mid 1800s, there was a little boy who immigrated to Brooklyn, New York with his parents. His family was so poor that every day after school, he used to wash the windows of a bakery shop and collect pieces of coal that had fallen off the wagons that delivered fuel, to help support his family.
Edward Bok, the little boy, became one of the most successful editors in the history of American journalism despite never getting more than 6 years of schooling in his entire life. How’s that even possible?!
Here’s how he did it:
He studied the lives of highly accomplished people and wrote them letters asking to learn more about their story. And these people replied!
Soon he was chatting back and forth with some of the country’s most successful people at the time: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, Louisa May Alcott, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jefferson Davis and General Sherman. Not only that, but when he had vacation time, he would visit some of these distinguished people in their homes.
These highly successful and often influential people, mentored this young boy and fired him up with a vision and ambition far beyond what he thought was even possible. It was due to this, according to Edward himself, that he was able to become so successful. Quite lucky huh?
Imagine if you had the opportunity to learn directly from some of the most accomplished people in the IT industry like Edward Bok did. If only you were able to pick the brains of experts for an hour or so, you’d be able to learn things that are not even written in books yet. You’d be able to get advice from people who get their knowledge directly from the front lines of experience. You’d be able to learn exactly how they made it to the top, extract what you like the most, and apply it to your career.
Edward Bok lived before the internet, so people were not bombarded with thousands of messages and ads every single day. Hence, many of the people he reached out to, replied. His strategy to call people’s attention would probably not work for most of us nowadays. Unless, of course, you are an expert at cold emailing and influencing people, in which case you probably should be harnessing that talent instead of pursuing an IT career (good luck to you, now go away!)
Having at least one good mentor can be the difference between making it to the top of the industry sooner than later or being stuck at the helpdesk answering boring questions for 20 years of your life. If you had the privilege of being mentored by multiple experts as you start or move through your career everything would be way easier for you. Imagine if you had this advantage and were able to harness it to the best of your ability.
You’d be able to know exactly what skills to acquire; the ones that are truly needed and valuable in the industry. You’d be able to learn what hiring managers at top companies look for in candidates and prepare accordingly to cruise through any interview. You could learn how some of the top engineers made it to the top of the industry and the little things they did to accelerate their success.
You could learn the best tactics to negotiate higher salaries, how to get promoted faster and perhaps even get inspired to start your own IT consulting business one day.
Lucky for you there’s a free podcast called RockStarSE where you can learn directly from some of the most successful people in the IT industry. Its host, Terry Kim, interviews top experts ranging from a Cisco hiring manager, who reveals what he looks for when hiring people, and some of Silicon Valley’s top network architects, to a former U.S. military IT instructor aiming to disrupt tech education and a data center CCIE who claims that success is not all about certs.
Terry Kim has been a systems engineer for some of the top tech companies in the world, including Cisco Systems, Arista Networks, and Dimension Data. He is also a former Air Force IT instructor who graduated over 1,000 engineers, many of whom went on to set up and manage network communications for the U.S military all over the world.
If you want to have a successful IT career and eventually become a systems engineer/network architect, you need to differentiate yourself from the pack as much as possible. Otherwise, it could take half your life to get to that level, which would suck.
The RockstarSE podcast gives you the opportunity to learn from some of the most accomplished people in the IT industry for free. Take advantage of all these experts have to say and apply their insights to your career. Just like Edward Bok, you have the opportunity to leverage the privilege of being able to pick the brains (or at least have someone do it for you) of some of the most successful people in the industry. Don’t take it for granted!
Without a doubt, having a mentor or multiple mentors can help jumpstart and skyrocket your career faster than what you probably think is possible. Get inspired by the best, hang out with the best, and you’ll eventually start looking at things like them.
Comment with questions you’d like to ask the experts.
Sign up for RockStar SE here, it’s free.