I’m a Tech Sourcer Learning to Code

You don’t need to know how to code to be an outstanding sourcer. Not knowing how to code won’t stop you from being able to dig into dev communities to find talent and contact information. The process is mostly the same as it would be for any other role. Anyone can develop a strong understanding of the functions of programming languages and frameworks to carry a conversation with candidates. However, as time has gone on, I’ve found myself wanting to connect with IT candidates on more than just a surface-level discussion. I entered the IT sourcing world almost a year ago and learning the ins and outs have been like drinking from a fire hose. Even now, it’s still easy to get confused or overwhelmed.

Ultimately I decided several months ago that I wanted to learn how to code. I started by creating a Code Academy account and thought I was pretty clever choosing the username “BuddyTheHTMELF.” I set aside half a Saturday and powered through a 4-hour HTML course. In the weeks following I dabbled in CSS and attempted Python which I gave up on after an hour and haven’t revisited since.

A few months after that, I hadn’t kept up on practicing what I had learned so much of it was not retained beyond knowing what and opening and closing tag was. My interest in coding, however, became re-ignited when I was allowed to attend a React.js conference with two members of our front end team. It was an unexpected opportunity to gain a better mutual understanding of both our professions. We ended up opening up our laptops and showing off different things we were excited about. I didn’t expect our front end developers to be even remotely interested in the advanced Boolean or OSINT resources, but there was some unexpected overlap with our jobs.

Much of coding is, in fact just like Boolean. I have always been in awe of what developers can create with lines of code. Seeing the presentations and the active engagement of the attendees was so reminiscent of that same passion I see from sourcers that attend SourceCon. Despite not genuinely understanding most of what was discussed by the presenters, I didn’t leave that conference frustrated or confused but more motivated than ever to go back and start learning again. In the following weeks, I ended up watching several hours of YouTube tutorials, downloaded a text editor and slowly (and I mean slowly) started to catch on. Over the next year, my goal is to have a working and functional knowledge of HTML, CSS, Javascript, and if I’m ambitious, React.js.

So why would I invest all of this time to learn skills that aren’t directly related to my day to day job as a sourcer? Because I intend to stay in IT sourcing long term. Becoming a genuine member of the developer community rather than just a tech sourcer looking in from the outside can only be to my long-term benefit. My ultimate goal would be able to contribute to online developer communities legitimately but to also become a known resource to help Devs find their dream jobs. Do I see myself crossing over and working as a Dev someday? Most likely not. But who knows what kind of potential I can gain to enhance my skills as a sourcer. The more conventions I attend, the more I see the programming aspect creeping into advanced sourcing methods, so why not stay ahead of the game?

I’m still early in my journey was a newbie coder, but several resources have been incredibly helpful. I would recommend these for any sourcer that is interested in learning some primary languages.

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Traversy Media Youtube Channel – The first video I ever watched from Traversy was HTML for absolute beginners. I wasn’t sure I would have the attention span to watch the whole hour in one sitting but the time just flew by, and I ended it feeling fully equipped to start practicing. I would describe the content as the quality of a course most would pay for. The channel has countless other tutorials on CSS, Javascript, React.JS, Python, etc. Also, there are videos for advice to self-taught programmers and industry news.

CodeAcademy  This is an excellent free resource to learn the basics of any language, but you need to purchase a PRO account if you want to become proficient at writing code. It’s easy to complete the tutorials, but it’s an entirely different experience when you get into doing it on your own with the projects they offer to hone your skills.

hashnode-I would describe this community as much less intimidating than Github and more geared toward social interaction between Devs than project-based. It was founded by two developers who got banned from other communities for asking open-ended questions. They saw a void to fill by creating an inclusive community for all levels. Users can share projects, host their blog, and discuss industry news. Also, this platform is an excellent place to source. Most users have their Github linked to their hashnode profile, so finding contact info had never been difficult. Finally, there have been discussions in the community about the possibility of adding a recruiter or jobs section as a means to generate revenue for the platform, so this may be implemented in the future.

General Assembly– If you want a general knowledge of programming and not necessarily looking to master coding, GA has brick and mortar locations in several major cities that host free introductory on-site seminars for basic foundations of programming. Attending live online is an option as well. Also, the networking events are well worth going to for sourcing candidates so I would recommend subscribing for alerts if you have a location near you.

Erin has been in talent acquisition for the past 6 years and has recruited for a broad spectrum of professionals including SAT prep tutors, costumed mascots, promo models, healthcare workers and IT.  She currently works as a Talent Sourcer for an e-commerce company in the greater Chicago area.

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