July 16, 2012, 9:21 PM —
In September of last year I wrote a column “Entrepreneurship can help you find a job”. Here is a real life example of this concept in action.
Before being given the opportunity to do new things (becoming unemployed), David Asher was a technical product manager in the telecom equipment industry. His challenge is common to many technology professionals faced with finding a mid-career position – companies are only looking to hire the candidate that has exactly the technology experience to be productive on the first day at work. In the world of technology, those domain requirements change very quickly!
Like all others in David’s situation, his ultimate goal is to find a new job. Unlike many others, however, David took a two sided approach to his job search. First, was a traditional job search including writing a great resume, face-to-face networking at various professional associations and job searching venues, and all the other required activities of a well constructed job search. Second, and the thrust of this week’s blog, David also took advantage of his current predicament to expand his technical skill set, and thus expand his professional marketability.
After the commensurate research and soul searching, David decided that he wanted to expand his hands-on technical ability and business knowledge in the area of Android and iPhone based cross-platform software development, deployment, and its related social media marketing. In essence, he made the conscious decision to learn the mobile app industry from the bottom up, not just through research, but by doing. David wanted to actually build a mobile app, deploy it, and market it. This doing, rather than just researching, had the following advantages:
• It gave his research into mobile app development a purpose
• It gave David hands-on experience building a cross-platform based mobile app and thus deep understanding of the issues, trials, and tribulations of mobile app software development.
• It provided hands-on experience on the deployment, marketing, and business side of the mobile app industry.
• It resulted in a demonstrable software product to show to prospective employers as a showcase of his technical abilities, understanding of the mobile app business arena, and his self-starting and entrepreneurial nature.
• It allowed David the ability to participate in, rather than just observe, how the mobile app business place operates.
To make David’s plan a reality, he first needed to decide what mobile app to develop. After additional research, analysis, and networking, David found a partner that wanted to publish his travel guide as a mobile app. It was easy to generalize this problem into one of exploring customized maps from a smartphone. Getting out and meeting people from different communities proved to be a critical step in finding a unique problem to be solved.