The importance of learning from others

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80.” — Henry Ford

Looking for a job can be a daunting task for anyone, especially if you’re new to the industry (as every 👨‍🎓 is). Without a solid plan and the right people guiding/advising you it can become a drawn-out process of endless applications and automated rejections.

Pretty early into my Leaving Cert year I knew I wanted to do something related to technology in college but was hesitant to do a Computer Science degree as I didn’t know if I wanted to be a quote-unquote “programmer”. So I decided to study Electronic and Computer Engineering instead.

Given a personal interest in the technology industry, I spent most of my time learning about its history and structure during my first year at college. I became fascinated with San Francisco and the opportunities it offered 🤔⏩😮⏩🤯 Studying in NUI Galway made the actuality of ever getting there seem like a pipe dream at the time. But I was naive and determined enough to engross myself nonetheless, doing everything from reading books to learning how to program. I made a conscious effort to find an internship in Dublin during the summer of my second year at college. I signed up to an app called Shake (run by Kevin Holler) that helped college students find internships and jobs. I was lucky enough to land a 3-month internship with Brian Kenny of Minicorp. This was a big step forward for me. As someone who’d largely taught themselves to code, experiencing what it was like to ship a product used by real customers was captivating. I began to immerse myself in the Dublin startup scene any way I could think of — attending startup weekends, doing side projects, and even organising a week long event that brought 20 students to Dublin to explore potential business ideas with help from mentors and daily talks on everything from design to raising funding. Seeing the connections people made during this event really instilled a belief in me that there are priceless benefits to young students having mentors guide and inform them every step of the way 👨‍🎓🔁👩‍🏫

From this I went on to do an 8-month internship with Intercom as part of my college degree and again, as I learned massive amounts from those around me, the sheer value of experience those just a few years ahead of you can offer was startlingly clear.

Like Mark, I wasn’t too interested in job hunting during final year. It’s a stressful time without the added pressures and time needed to research companies, fill out application forms and go to interviews ⏲📝👨‍💼 Inevitably though, as other people in my class started to get hired I began to question whether I should look to do the same. Around February I came across a blog post from Basecamp looking for interns. Given it’d only be a summer gig, I opportunistically applied thinking it’d be a great experience and give me the space to properly consider what to do long term.

When it came time to decide what I’d do next it was obvious that going back to Intercom was the right thing to do. I now work as a Product Engineer on our Capture & Convert team, where I build features in the Intercom app for sales and marketing team such as our Marketo integration, the ‘Get a Demo’ messenger app, and new skills for our bot, Operator 🤖

Looking for a job or internship is completely uncharted territory for students and graduates. Every time I’ve gone looking for a job I’ve wasted time and faltered along the way. It’s totally ok not to know where to look for jobs or which ones suit your skillset. You may not be familiar with what you should put on your LinkedIn profile or what a good CV looks like, or how to tailor them to different types of companies or countries 🌏 It is unlikely that you will have done many interviews, and even rarer that you will have negotiated a salary 🤑 But these are all things that everyone who’s gone before you had to understand in order to get a job.

Taking advice from the people I’ve met along my journey has been more influential and beneficial to my career than anything a guidance counselor or lecturer has said to me. Gradguide wants everyone to experience these benefits by pairing mentors with students/grads to walk them through the process of getting the best first job they can 🚀


David from Gradguide

Online career guidance & mentorship program transitioning students from college to their first job in tech 👩‍💻

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