Hello! I am Harshita Manti, currently undertaking the MSc Data Science Internship pathway. I am one of the thousands of international students who came to a foreign land for the first time, willing to explore new challenges and opportunities. After securing a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and two years of industrial experience in India, I was very much interested in being employed in a management role. Which is when I decided to join the MBA program at Cardiff Met.
The first step towards working for a goal, is to realize what best suits you. After spending a week in lectures, I realised that I was not ready to change my skill set from computer science to management, especially at a Master’s level. I believed that my skill set belonged elsewhere, and I chose to transfer from the MBA to the MSc Data Science program.
Since my very first day in Data Science, I realised that my fellow students were extremely talented, and standing out was almost impossible. As I joined the programme later, the lectures had already started and I was already missing the basics. I was afraid of being left out. So I urged myself not just to catch up, but also to learn something more than what was taught in class.
I contacted my programme director, Dr. Ambikesh Jayal, seeking his advice to address my need. He guided me into practically learning a set of trending technologies via different tasks by including me into various projects. Mr. Ali Shahaab, my tutor for the Python module, also gave me a lot of technical advice not just on my academics, but also on securing a job.
I started applying for jobs from the first day I joined the course and constantly prepped myself for interviews. Of course, I always took advice on what topics to learn for an interview. Every single interaction with my professors and the career service at the university was worth it (including the international advisor team). Because, sometimes, all you have to do is just ask, help is always there! The same interactions helped me go through stress and depression when all my applications were getting rejected. Not one, not ten, hundreds of my job applications got rejected due to various reasons, and sometimes with no reason at all.
I tried not to leave behind any opportunity that might get me a job. Meetups, conferences, job fairs and many more! With every step of my job search, I didn’t know if I was getting closer to success, but I knew that everything was making me stronger and prepared for the worst. By the time I got my dream job, I wasn’t just technically qualified but also a mentally stronger person. So, the journey I undertook was very precious and I will cherish it forever.
The foremost things that I took care of during my job search are my LinkedIn profile, my CV, interviews, and knowledge of my subject. Yes, there is nothing different that I did than what you already know. But the only difference is how I managed all of them.
LinkedIn – “You never know what’s in store for you”
If you properly follow up on job applications and constantly try to reach maximum contacts, chances are very high that you might find a potential job. The one-month free subscription of LinkedIn Premium worked miracles for me. I got the most valuable advice from total strangers on LinkedIn, without which my job wouldn’t be possible.
CV – “Looks do matter”
Any amount of experience and qualifications can be fit in two pages and nothing more than that is required. Adding hyperlinks to your CV (if relevant), adding certifications and organising it properly are an absolute catch. Don’t worry if you haven’t got any certifications to add. There are plenty of courses offered for free on the Cardiff Met student portal!
Knowledge – “Practice makes perfect”
Getting yourself familiarised with most of the concepts, with at least one example each, helps a lot in interviews and boosts confidence. Working on a project idea or at least researching a project idea which includes popular technologies helps in constructing a good discussion in interviews.
Outdoor meetups/conferences – “The world is much kinder than we think it is”
Every other day, there are number of social gatherings and conferences that are being held for corporate workers. I feel they are helpful because attending would make us aware of the current technology and kind of skills that the industry is looking for. All the information is posted online in various websites. “Meetups” is one of such examples. And the good thing about this is, almost all of them are free! Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, all meetups have turned online.
These are few of the most important things I followed during my job search.
I feel blessed and extremely happy for getting my position at HM Land Registry, but it is quite unfortunate that I am working from home and haven’t had the chance to work at the office since I joined. Even though understanding the approach to my work is a bit challenging due to remote work, daily online stand-ups via MS Teams / Skype and work updates help keep the work intact on a regular basis. I am starting to like the Post COVID-19 corporate culture and I believe remote work can be far more effective once the population welcomes it as the new norm.
My motive – “Luck is when opportunity meets preparation”!