People aspiring to launch their career in the information technology (IT) sector generally focus on maximizing their technical skills and obtaining certifications. While these are crucial, IT newcomers are often unaware of the importance of “soft skills” – the ones that will help get them hired in their first IT job – so learning them from seasoned mentors in the San Antonio tech ecosystem would provide a valuable resource.

The need for such mentorship inspired Gerry Diaz, director of IT talent acquisition at Webhead, to organize Tech Talent Tuesdays, a monthly recurring event typically held on the third Tuesday of the month at the Geekdom Event Centre. The event’s goal is to help grow the tech ecosystem by teaching people how to enter and prosper in the tech workforce and by uniting tech professionals with mentors in the San Antonio business community.

Around 100 people attended the kickoff event on Oct. 24. The next Tech Talent Tuesday is Jan. 24, 2017 from 6-8 the Geekdom Event Centre. Click here to sign up.

“It’s a coalition of organizations supporting Tech Talent Tuesdays,” Diaz told the Rivard Report. “Using Tech Talent Tuesday events, (coalition members) San Antonio Coding Academy, 1st Choice Recruiting, The Iron Yard, Tech Quarry, and Webhead help deliver monthly events that are focused on the IT professional entering the market or those mid-level professionals looking to grow their career.”

Participants at a past Dinner and Code meetup learn about coding and programming in an encouraging setting in the Geekdom Event Center.
Participants at a past Dinner and Code meetup learn about coding and programming in an encouraging setting in the Geekdom Event Center. Credit: Courtesy image

The vision for Tech Talent Tuesdays was to create a partnership of organizations striving for a common goal – growing the tech industry in San Antonio into a thriving ecosystem. Coalition members serve in various roles within Tech Talent Tuesdays, such as event planning and communications, providing sponsorships, handling social media, and booking speakers.

While there are multiple ongoing events that help people learn coding or programming skills – Dinner and Code, for example – Tech Talent Tuesdays focus on the soft skills IT professionals need to kickstart and then advance in their careers.

“It’s not the typical tech meetup that focuses on the latest technology or coding,” Diaz explained. “No one talks about the soft skills needed for someone to advance in one’s tech career, so this is what Tech Talent Tuesday seeks to address. We work with like-minded companies to help IT talent grow these soft skills.”

Soft skills include learning how to craft an effective “elevator pitch,” developing excellent written and presentation communication skills, and coordinating and collaborating with others on a team.

“What we see is that we have to grow our own talent, rather than import talent from other cities,” Diaz stressed. “Part of doing that is equipping IT professionals with foundational knowledge, such as how to properly present oneself in an interview, how to design a résumé, or how to network effectively.”

Diaz is optimistic that Tech Talent Tuesdays will help IT professionals looking to join the local tech workforce.

“When you’re looking for a job, the key to finding that new job is to create that new opportunity. Join us at Tech Talent Tuesdays for help to do just that.”

The next Tech Talent Tuesdays’ topic will be #Connect4Success, with Christian Torres from advertising and marketing firm Chamoy Creative and Nan Palmero, marketing manager at Texas A&M University – San Antonio as the featured speakers. To sign up, click here.

Follow TechTalentTuesdays on Facebook or follow Gerry Diaz on Twitter.

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Iris Gonzalez

Iris Gonzalez writes about technology, life science and veteran affairs.