Before Sean Astrakhan started working as a software consultant at a tech company, he was a middle school Spanish teacher. He loved his job, but he felt a pull in a new direction. A job, a project, something, that could have a bigger, wider impact.
One night, he awoke from a life-changing dream. Whatever he was going to do to help shape and improve the education industry, it had to involve tech. One problem: He wasn’t sure what that even meant. So he investigated. He didn’t have a deep understanding of technology, but he decided that the best way to start was to try to learn basic web design. He took four months to teach himself HTML and CSS.
And eventually he found his way to the Baltimore-based software and data solutions consultancy Mind Over Machines.
So it was familiar to him this February at Technical.ly’s NET/WORK tech jobs fair in Baltimore, where Sean found himself shaking hands with tech experts and generalists that were on the job hunt, people that he believed in and related to, regardless of their background.
Astrakhan went to the event to serve as the link between those two worlds: those that were deep engineers and those that were career changers that were looking for a new way to have impact in their careers without having tech experience.
Despite the company’s need for highly technical workers, he was also on the lookout for good people skills. A lot of the company’s engineers work face-to-face with clients and the job is as much about pushing code as it is about understanding customer pain points and helping with requirements gathering.
“I appreciated the event Technical.ly put together because it attracted a variety of talent beyond those with technical ability,” Astrakhan said. At Mind Over Machines we look for human-minded as much as tech-minded thinkers.”
At NET/WORK, he worked the table alongside someone from the company’s human resources department and one of the company’s technical recruiters. That’s something a lot of Technical.ly clients do: make sure they tell their technology story, and, well, their human story. After all, culture at a tech firm is what’s found between those two ends of the spectrum.
His favorite part about the Technical.ly audience he met at the event?
The diversity of skill sets and the expertise of the candidates. Some were extremely technical, and others demonstrated a variety of applicable soft skills. All of the attendees, he said, felt invested in what the company was doing.
“At other events, I got a lot of resumes from people that are exceptionally technical, but don’t have a drive for what they want to do,” he said.
In other words, at NET/WORK, he met people who were passionate about the problems that Mind over Machines was working to solve.
After all, that was his story, too.