Stefany Barker - Future Careers
Topic Future Careers
Date March 24, 2017
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Future Careers with Stefany Barker

Are you interested in working in the tech industry? Maybe in web development or AI? In this Q&A session Stefany Barker, Managing Director of Girls in Tech Switzerland, offers advice on what to study, where to find useful resources and tips on staying motivated.

"Starting a business can be lonely. Partner with the local startup community. You will find people who are going through the same things as you."

My question is that I am planning to pursue software engineering but I am confused in choosing what to do. I am not interested in making software for financial purposes like storing data in tables etc. But I want something more graphically orientated. —Mohammad S

I recommend you choose a course that focuses on front-end programming and/or graphic design. You can try a course online via teamtreehouse.com or codeable.

I'm into JAVA right now. Would that help in any way?

If you love JAVA, stick with JAVA. If you’re curious to discover other languages and purposes, try an online course for fun.

JAVA is the basics and 100% worth learning. Perhaps try HTML 5 or Javascript for front-end development. It’s sure worth having fun with different languages! In the sense, you can have one language you know best and then understand/explore as many other languages as you want.

Is it possible to specialize in both web development and AI? —Haitham M

Absolutely! AI is so exciting. Again, there are online courses you can do to test a bit of both. If you really can’t find a degree that does both, you can always do a course on the side in one and a degree in the other (that’s what I did for learning entrepreneurship and technology).

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Can I be an AI developer with Javascript?

Unfortunately no, Javascript is front end (that means it’s all the stuff you can see, like images, fonts etc). Here’s a resource for you understand the kind of languages needed for AI development: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_programming_languages_for_artificial_intelligence

I'm kind of interested in quantum mechanics, and quantum computers. I'm also inclined towards relativistic physics, and the study of space time. I've decided to get a Bachelors in physics first. would that be the way to go? —Harram Khan

Ah! Quantum computing is kick ASS! The Economist did a big article about it recently. http://www.economist.com/technology-quarterly/2017-03-09/quantum-devices

Going with physics is good, maybe do a course on the side (does your uni offers an evening course?). Physics courses tend to be better because you can meet other like-minded people etc. But you could use Coursera to do online course if there aren’t any near you.

Could you tell us a bit more about your organization Girls in Tech? —Pierre-Eric P

Girls in Tech empowers and engages women (although open to everybody!) in tech, startup and careers. Here’s our Facebook page: facebook.com/GITSwitzerland

I have a marketable business I plan setting up, but I don't know how to get funded. —Joshua O

There are a few ways to go about it depending on your business. Perhaps you could use a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter. Or perhaps you could get advance payment from customers (get them to sign up and deliver the goods later).

Or perhaps a startup competition could give you the funding. A good place to start is to go to the startup scene and ask people who have been in your shoes.

I know the startup scene around the globe is growing, so there should be a Google Campus or co-working space with events that can help you to find other similar startups you could brainstorm with.

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What would be the advice you'd give a struggling startup business?

Partner with the local startup community. Starting a business can be lonely and in these communities you will find people who are going through the same things as you.

If you have the money, outsource anything you are not good at. For example, if you are not a developer, you better hire one. If you are a developer but you’re not good at sales, hire a salesperson.

In your opinion what is the first step to be a successful entrepreneur in software? —Rania A

I’m a HUGE believer in Lean Startup Methodology. What does that mean? It means proving that your customers exist BEFORE you invest in the business.

Check out: http://theleanstartup.com/principles

Eric Reis also did a book called “Lean Startup”, read it.

I wanted to know how can I as a girl learn the skills that you have taught yourself? —Priyanshi P

I’m a big fan of using girlsintech.org as a platform to improve my skills that will help me move forward and to learn how to support others. I’m sure there is a chapter there for you. Check it out! You’ll love it no doubt.

http://girlsintech.org/#chapters

Topic Future Careers
Date March 24, 2017
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