Career & Industry Research

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Career & Industry Research

Career and industry research are integral to a finding your next job. Here are specific steps to explore your career goals and understand the tech industry.

Why is it important?

Knowledge is power. Industry research is integral because it puts your career in a broad context and makes you efficient when applying to jobs. An understanding of your own goals as well as knowledge of your field will be useful before, during and after career search! Below, we will address three major steps to help you kick start your search.

Gather Clues

Ever find yourself asking the questions - what am I going to do with my life? Well... you’re not alone. If you’ve found yourself at a crossroads and you are looking for clarity, approach it like you approach programming--namely, start with a plan (like writing pseudo-code). Here are 4 initial topics to address:

  1. Natural talents and abilities: What comes easily to you? What do you enjoy doing? These are all clues.

  2. Personal traits and values: What makes you proud? How would you describe your personality, what traits are you proud of?

  3. Passion and purpose: What motivates you? What makes you get out of bed in the morning?

  4. Compatible environments: Do you need to be in a certain geographic location? Physical or remote office? How big of a company and what stage?

Work Your Clues

Now that you’ve gathered your personal inventory by asking and answering the tough questions, it is time to work your clues and identify your top career components. From here, map your major career components to connect with real jobs.

The first step in this process is to brainstorm the fields and positions that could be a good fit. Secondly, research these fields and positions using tools like LinkedIn, job boards, Quora, Muse, Crunchbase, Angel List, Linkedin company pages, Glassdoor,, Twitter. 

From here, make a list of the companies you want to work at and jobs you might want to pursue. Don’t worry if you aren’t completely settled on these companies. This list can serve as a way to make small steps progress and gain momentum. You’ll use this to guide in your next research steps.

Dive Into Career Research

You have your road map now, so the third step is to start driving!  Take your clues and take the listfrom above and start build your career network by connecting with people.

  1. Connect to People: It can’t be stressed enough - relationships and people matter in your career. Reach out to someone with the position you want at each of your target companies.  Here, your goal is to  learn if this job and company is for you, learn about the industry, and make connections (and keep them!).

  2. Get a jump start with a plan: Keep focused and grounded in your industry research. Getting a jump start by creating a plan will streamline your process. From the information your created above, start by creating and updating your Personal Inventory, career research spreadsheet, career network plan.

Tips: Find a personal or interest-related connection to your target contact. Start by sending a short, focused email with a clear task. Be polite, and always follow up with a thank you.

Here's a sample of how to inventory your skills and keep track of your progress (note there are 3 tabs in the spreadsheet). Make a copy and get started! (“file” → “make a copy” OR “file” → “download as... Microsoft Excel (.xlsx)”).

Researching Industries

Hosted by Udacity Program Manager, Jennie Kim, and Full Stack Engineer, Lindsey Smith, the workshop will include strategies for career research and a Q&A with Udacity students.

Don't Give Up

Career and industry research will have its ups and downs, but keep with it! Use your map as a compass to guide you and continue staying up-to date throughout your employment.

Nanodegree Student Common Concerns

Questions about industry research range, but the most common Nanodegree student questions revolve around making new connections in an unfamiliar field, perceived lack of experience, and how to market your Nanodegree education. Below are a few quick tips to address these questions:

  • New to the field? Be honest and open about your interest with those you meet, be resourceful about making connections, and be humble, yet diligence in asking for insight.

  • In-person networking a challenge? If your pool of close contacts in the technology field is limited, take advantage of online communities like LinkedIn, GitHub, Stack Overflow, Twitter, etc. You can broaden your connections virtually and build from here.