Job hunting can be brutal.
In 2014, Philly native Stanley Griggs II decided to pursue a career in web development and bought a ticket to NET/WORK Philly. Not sure of the outcomes, Griggs put on his game face and opted to make the best of the job fair. Two years later, he’s a junior developer at Tonic Design Co., a web agency in Philadelphia known for leading successful apprenticeship programs for up-and-coming dev talent.
Below, Griggs walks us through his experience as a NET/WORK attendee who is now thriving at one of Philadelphia’s top 100 companies.
The 2016 edition of NET/WORK Philly is tomorrow, Feb. 23, at the Fillmore. More than 70 local tech organizations will be there looking for talent. Maybe you’ll be this story in 2018.
Walk me through your experience as a NET/WORK attendee. Did you have an agenda for who to meet and network with, or what companies interested you most?
I did have a few local companies such as Curalate and RJMetrics that I knew I’d be interested in working with, in any capacity. This job fair was my last hurrah. If nothing came of it, I was going to sign up for Dev Bootcamp and go wherever the wind took me, even if it meant leaving Philly.
Tell me what resulted after you attended NET/WORK? How did the Tonic hire come about? Who else did you connect with?
I didn’t see the Tonic Design Co. — DmgCTRL at that time — table, as they were in an obscure corner. I’d already made my rounds and was a little stressed out. Luckily, NET/WORK had a coffee bar where I met Catherine Enck, who was wearing a DmgCTRL embroidered t-shirt. I started a conversation with her, and learned that DmgCTRL worked in software. I explained that I was gearing up to take a leap of faith and join dev school, at which point she let me know that teaching was a core part of her company’s identity.
"Without NET/WORK and that coffee bar, I would never have met Catherine, who opened the door and helped me to begin my journey at Tonic."
A few weeks later, I met with one of the partners, Jason Allum, who said I could hang at the office whenever I wanted. The pivotal moment for me was right after that meeting. I didn’t go home — I found a desk and did Codecademy work for the remainder of the day. Whenever I got stuck, I’d ask one of the developers for help. I showed up every day for 2 months, and eventually joined their paid apprenticeship program.
In January of 2015, Griggs was promoted to junior software developer at Tonic, working with some of the world’s biggest brands.
Meet Tonic Design Co., and 70+ other hiring organizations at #networkphl16. Ten bucks gets you HubBub coffee, new professional head shots, resume reviews, professional development sessions and beer.