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S3E1: Getting Into Tech after a Career in Finance with Ventrice Lam

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In today’s episode of the Learn to Code With Me podcast, I talk with Ventrice Lam. Ventrice began her career working in finance, but transitioned into tech when she realized she wasn't passionate about her job. She now works as an independent consultant to early stage startups as the founder of Bedelia.

Ventrice started out as an English Lit/Business Admin major at university. She then worked at Goldman Sachs for six years, living in Hong Kong, Singapore, and New York City. When she realized she wasn’t passionate about finance, Ventrice started going to networking events in the tech space and offering her help to early stage startups. Once she found her place in the industry, she became a freelance consultant and went from charging $20 an hour to $150 an hour.

In our conversation, Ventrice shares her experience of transitioning into a new industry and overcoming mental health obstacles in the process. She offers her thoughts on working for free, valuing yourself, and working out how much to charge. We also learn how volunteering and networking have been responsible for her success. This interview will inspire even the most introverted people to give networking a go.

Key takeaways:

  • Finding the right hourly rate for you and your niche will take both experimentation and confidence.
  • Networking is a great way to find high-quality clients and opportunities.
  • Women seem to have a tendency to talk themselves down. Decide on your rate and stick with it, unless you’re negotiating, in which case, start with a higher rate than the one you want.
  • Networking is about having a reciprocal relationship. Be wary of giving away too much for free if you’re getting nothing back in return.
  • If you do give something away for free, make sure you’re doing it intentionally rather than because you’re undervaluing yourself.
  • Look at job boards to keep an eye on the market. This will help you know where to focus your personal development to stay relevant.
  • Volunteering is a great way to get experience, build your portfolio or resume, meet and help other people, and see where you fit into an industry.
  • Hard skills like coding are important, but it’s the people you meet that are invaluable. Luckily, networking is a skill you can develop like any other.

Links and mentions from the episode:

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