Neel Mehta is a co-author of “Swipe to Unlock: The Non-Coder's Guide to Technology and the Business Strategy Behind It.” At time of this interview Neel is a senior at Harvard, studying computer science, and has held internships at Microsoft, Khan Academy, and the U.S. census bureau.
One of Neel's greatest passions is using technology for social good. He started by launching an education app with a quarter-million users while he was still in high school. More recently, he founded a civic technology nonprofit, Coding it Forward, empowering young coders to use their talents for good.
In our discussion, Neel shares what drew him to technology at a young age, how he landed his competitive internships in college, why it's important to understand technology even for professionals not in tech roles, and more.
Find out more about Swipe to Unlock at learntocodewith.me/swipe.
- “It's who you know” is true. A lot of getting ahead in tech and getting a foot in the door is about meeting the right people. Spend time networking.
- Think big; it's important not just to have the nitty-gritty coding skills, but also an understanding of how the bigger picture works and how tech can influence the world.
- You don't have to be a coder to understand tech concepts like how big data works, what the internet is, or why Microsoft bought LinkedIn.
- Reading tech interview prep books alone won't be enough to stand out. What's more important is to know and understand the company and trends in their industry. Read the tech news, play with the company's products, and develop some interesting opinions.
- It's always good to have built something yourself. It gives you something to talk about in the interview and something to put on the resume, it increases your understanding of how tech is actually made, and it's fun!
Links and mentions from the episode:
- Interview Cake (I will receive a small commission if you buy using this link)
- Swipe to Unlock: The Non-Coder's Guide to Technology and the Business Strategy Behind It
- Khan Academy
- Coding it Forward
- Cabra Flashcards
- Stack Overflow
- Neel on LinkedIn
- Cracking the Coding Interview: 189 Programming Questions and Solutions by Gayle Laakmann McDowell (I will receive a small commission if you buy using this link)
- Civic Fellowship Internship
- Neel's website
- Neel on Twitter @hathix
- Neel on GitHub – hathix
- LinkedIn Profile Completion Checklist
Thanks for listening!
Thanks so much for tuning in! Remember, you can listen to the Learn to Code With Me podcast on the following platforms:
If you have a few extra minutes, please rate and review the show in iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show. I would really, really appreciate it!
Special thanks to this episode’s sponsors
Make School: If you want to accelerate your tech skills in a higher education setting without student debt, check out Make School’s Product College, an accelerated higher education for the next generation of tech leaders. Only pay tuition after you graduate and launch your career at companies like Facebook and Google. Find out more at makeschool.com.
Flatiron School: Flatiron School offers an online web developer program with a focus on community, actual development tools, and a curriculum that will teach you the skills you need to land a career as a developer. Visit flatironbootcampprep.com to get an amazing $500 off your first month.