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Helen Bohorquez

Brooklyn students learn about New York’s Silicon Alley

This article was published in The Kingsman

Brooklyn students learn about New York’s Silicon Alley.In a world of technology and entrepreneurship, the next big thing could not only come from well-established companies at Silicon Valley, but from the hundreds of innovative startups that call New York City their home. The city’s growing tech scene, Silicon Alley, is here to stay and looking for new talent, experts say.

Last Tuesday, the Magner Center at Brooklyn College held the “Startups in the City: Careers Of the Future,” workshop at the Student Center to educate students and faculty about future career opportunities in New York’s Silicon Alley.

The panel included professionals and entrepreneurs, who gave their inside tips and perspectives of the industry to students of all majors.

“We look for hustlers,” said Andrea Rudert, president of Vitamin W Media, a women-owned media platform focused on entrepreneurship and news. “Whether you are a tech person or a business development person, we have to know that you are hungry and willing to work really hard.”

According to the panel, most positions available in startups are in tech-based fields such as programming and engineering, but jobs in marketing, sales and copywriting are also in high demand. However, building your technical and business skills is not enough.

“Networking is extremely important,” said Mosheh Poltorak, a startup consultant and a Brooklyn College alum with a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance. “There are specific organizations in New York that you should become a part of, go to their meetups, go to job fairs. Going to these events is really valuable.”

According to the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Coalition, New York City is now the second leading tech hub in the nation, with an estimate of $30 billion in salaries per year. A report commissioned by mayor Michael Bloomberg also says that city’s tech industry has  become the second largest contributor to private wages . With more than 520 companies and  9,600 people employed, Brooklyn is second to San Francisco as the nation’s most important tech industry, the report also said.

“You have to be a go getter, look for your answers,” said Patrick Duggan, Director of NYC Startup Job Fair. “There is not a set methodology at a startup, so it’s important to be independent and come up with proper solutions without someone holding your hand,” he said.

Besides insights of the industry and career advice focused on skills and personality traits, the panelists also provided a wide range of information for autodidact students. Websites such as Codeacademy, CourseraCrunchBase and Meetup.com could also help students interested in being part of a startup.

“To know where they are getting information from was my biggest takeaway,” said Din Giddings, a Brooklyn College linguistics major. “They really opened my mind about how these companies work, and why they are successful. Although my major has nothing to do with the industry, I think there is always transferable skills you can put to use.”

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