Learn@NUS

The NUS Education and Learning Blog

Month: May 2018

Career advice for fresh graduates after their “dream job”

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A vast majority of people like to claim that your “dream” job is just waiting for you around the corner, only if only you wait and stay true to your passions. Being narrow-minded about pursuing a job that aligns with your passion is a fairly dangerous strategy. Firstly, your passion doesn’t promise dinner on the table – harsh, but true. Secondly, chasing your passion doesn’t diminish the point that there will periodically be elements of your job that will not excite you.

If you’re gearing up to join the workforce soon, here are a few invaluable pieces of graduate career advice that will help you succeed in securing a job without sacrificing your mental well being.

1. Know when to quit:

At a time where hustle, tenacity, and perseverance are glorified, letting go of something that doesn’t actively contribute to your professional growth can feel like the wrong thing to do. After all, if you just keep working at it and giving your 110 percent, you’re eventually going to get there, isn’t it?

Well, not if you’re toiling away at something that’s not right for you.

Caroline Cotto, Culture Content Creator at HubSpot, recently admitted in an interview with The Fast Company that “she was extremely self-conscious about quitting her first job as a researcher at a nutrition lab” even after realizing that “it was the wrong place for her.” Afer joining HubSpot, she soon changed her mind, and touts “quitting and refusing to settle for a job I did not enjoy” as “probably the best decision of her life.”

2. Learn when to say ‘no’:

Yes, opportunities knock on our door when we least expect it, and sometimes they come with a promise of bigger and better things, however, sometimes it can be an intelligent decision to say no, especially these opportunities are more likely to hinder with your ability to be good at your job.

Lauren Berger, Founder of InternQueen.com explains that a college graduate’s desire to go out of their way can render them overworked,  and prone to overlooking their core duties.

She goes on to state that you might be skilled at “everything”, but once you’re hired for any job, you have to concentrate on the work at hand. As a brand-new employee, holding back and saying ‘no’ to that extra project can be a smarter decision.

3. Find meaning in ‘grunt work’:

Kevin Lancelin, Apparel Designer at Nike told Fast Company that right from the beginning of his college degree, his long-term “dream” goal was to work at Nike. So, he went ahead and designed his curriculum and coursework to put himself in the best possible position to work for the sports apparel company. “I really studied to impress Nike,” he told Fast Company.

Remember, even if you do end up being stuck with a substantial amount of grunt work, silently complaining is not the only alternative. You can be diplomatic about making the best of the grunt work, for instance, discovering a specific niche that you can excel at, especially if happens to be something no one else wants to touch.

Why leading by example is the most effective leadership method

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You can lead effectively if you lead by example. “Lead by example” sounds like one of those cliché statements that fly around. However, you will come to realize that great companies often have leaders who obey thisgolden rule – “Lead by example”.

Understand the concept

Firstly, you must understand the concept of leading by example. The truth is that every leader is already leading by example. The question is what kind of example are you setting as a leader? – Good or bad. The concept of leading by example is simply to set good examples. It means to mirror what you desire to see in your team members.

The idea is that you should not say/expect one thing and do another.Your team will follow you devotedly if your actions are consistent with your expectations. Having understood this concept, let us find out what it really means to be leading by example.

What it means to be leading by example

  • Set the bar high for yourself

This means you should not set low expectations for yourself while you expect much from those on your team. When you lead, you set the bar from above. But when you lead by example, you also live the bar being set.You must haveequal or even higher performance expectations for yourself as you have for members of your team. To do this, you must first establish priorities for yourself as a leader. Then, model and live the conduct and behaviors you want in your team members.

  • Finish off on your commitments

One thing about leadership is that people on your team are watching you. Your team members notice everything you do. Not only that, they are being influenced by your behavior. Leading by example means that you also get your hands dirty with the rest of the team. You also actively engage yourself in pursuit of a goal you have set for them. Leaders who only pay lip service don’t usually get much result from their team.

  • Take the blame and share the credit

Most people have mastered the art of taking credits and shifting blames. If you act like this toward your team members, you will be setting a bad example for them. As a leader, you must be willing to take some hits that you don’t deserve. You must also appreciate team efforts when things go well. Don’t act like you pulled it off all by yourself. This will encourage your team members to act selflessly and build a strong team-spirit. A strong team-spirit has many benefits.

When you are conscious about leading by example, you would do three things regularly.

  • Think and clearly spell out what exactly you expect from your team.
  • Evaluate yourself to see if you are reflecting those things personally.
  • Set a process on how to achieve your goals

If you would love to develop this kind of process, you could enroll in courses or do proper research. Another way to improve on leadership skills is to attend leadership talks or any similar program. Your professionalism and efficiency in leadership and management will surely be improved when you master the art of leading by example.

This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.

Self-learn coding

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We live in a world where the internet has made it possible for anyone to self-learn pretty much anything. The stuffy classrooms of yesteryear are fast becoming irrelevant and now more than ever, coding has become a valuable skill which some say is on par with reading and writing.

Whether for career prospects, general knowledge or to level up your skills in order to embark on a personal/pet project, there are a variety of resources that you can find online which can help equip you with the material that you need to set you off in the right direction.

Broaden your horizons with a fun game development course, this Vue JS course or a PHP course. All you need is some discipline and a healthy dose of determination.

However, although determination is important, there are a few things to remember. Here are some tips that you should bear in mind on your journey towards becoming a self-taught coder.

Have a good reason

First of all, recognize how much time and effort you are going to devote to teaching yourself how to code and have a solid enough reason to keep yourself motivated.

This will determine your direction, ways you will embark on your self-education and the success that you will achieve.

If, for example, you hope to one day develop a mobile game, try out interactive tutorials, read up on game development and immerse yourself in the many resources out there.

Having a good enough reason to learn to code will also help you get you in the right frame of mind and remain psyched up throughout the learning process.

Pick a language

Before picking a coding language, you should follow up on your reason for learning by specifying and clarifying your goal. Your goal will influence the language that you will be using.

If, for example, you want to develop an iOS app, Swift will be the language to learn. Once you have clarified your goal and picked the language that you have to learn, don’t beat yourself up if you feel that you have made the wrong choice. Many programming languages are in theory very similar and there isn’t a best programming language.

Furthermore, it’s much easier to pick up on another language once you have already learned one. The most important thing is that you’re learning the fundamentals of coding and the pursuit of knowledge should be an end in itself.

Begin with baby steps

Don’t dive headfirst into the overwhelmingly complex topics. Start with the simpler, more easily understood subjects and climb your way up from there.

There are plenty of online courses and training sites that you can learn from. These will walk you through the basics of programming and help you progress forward.

There are many books on programming as well as e-books and even coding games that you can find online.

These can make otherwise boring subjects digestible and enable learners to experience them in an entertaining way.

You can also try experimenting with open source code first. Test out every line of code that you write and slowly refine how the program works.

Try getting involved with programming communities by joining forums and building your own network of programmers. These can come in useful if (or when) you ever encounter bugs or issues that you need help with.

This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.

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