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Career Advice Panelists Agree, "There Isn't One Path" to Success in Tech


Photo by Marcin Wichary / CC BY 2.0 

Inspiring! Young Penn alums working in tech on the "Young Penn Alums in Tech" panel unanimously agreed that "there isn't one path" to making it big in the tech world.

All four alumni on the panel shared stories about their respective paths, each one starkly different from the others.  One panelist explained that she started her career as a talent agent at an entertainment company before she joined Google's marketing team.  Another panelist explained that she was an astronaut initially, then got her PhD in classics before pivoting to tech. Finally, one panelist was a waitress for much of her 20s (and still is, on the weekends) before she started working at Facebook.  Rent in the Silicon Valley sure is high!

Benjamin Cohen (E' 18) missed two classes to attend this lengthy panel.  It turns out, he left the panel more confused about his career than he was upon arrival.  Even though he is studying engineering here at Penn, the panel prompted him to consider unorthodox post-graduation plans.  According to the panelists, tech firms love to see candidates with "a diverse background."  

"Why did I study engineering in order to go into tech?" Cohen lamented.  "That's so predictable!" he added.

To spice up his resume, maybe Cohen will be a waiter for a few years after graduation. Or an astronaut. Or a classics scholar. Or a talent agent.  Who knows?