“Because Detroit is a baby tech community, we are helping to build a diverse IT community from the ground up. People from different backgrounds, cities, upbringings are able to get started, and land IT Jobs here.” – Erika Carlson

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It’s no secret that Detroit is becoming a hot  scene for IT development and IT jobs of all kind. Groups such as Girl Develop IT (GDI) and Grand Circus are really working to make a community of learning to support and sustain that growth. On April 30th, GDI and Grand Circus held a Women in Tech Web Careers Panel Discussion to teach learners and practitioners of all levels how to navigate the wide variety of IT jobs available. Some attendees came to ask where they should start, some wanted to know how to transition as well as how their skills would apply to different jobs. Deena Wiltsie (Recruiting Panelist for Brightwing), Chandra Floyd (Detroit Institute of the Arts), Erika Carlson (Detroit Labs), Laura Eagin (Freelance), Nicole Rodriguez (Xperience) and Monica Wheat (Founder of Digerati Girls), spoke to the challenges and successes they have had finding IT jobs, clientele, navigating a male dominated field, and why it was all worth it.

Key takeaways :
-If you are making a complete shift in your career, even if you have been working for 20 years, don’t look down on entry level positions. They get your foot in the door and can really help you learn.
-Show how passionate you are about learning and the industry when interviewing, even if you have minimal development skills.
-Put yourself out there and opportunities will float your way.
-Job shadowing can be an incredible way to learn what you know, what you don’t and what you need to learn.
-Learning HTML makes a designer better at what they do.
-The experience that you get while problem solving is invaluable. Development is a way to help people solve their business issues or questions.
-Consistent learning is the best part!
-Communication is INCREDIBLY important on development teams.
-Make sure you have an online portfolio to showcase your work or projects.

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