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Discovering the perfect fit: Matching skill with functionality in tech

Woman looking for a new job on her laptop sitting on a sofa

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Mandana Ahmadi, CEO and Founder, Alena, takes a look at how you can find and thrive in the perfect role by gaining a deeper understanding of yourself—not just in terms of your skill set but also in terms of your function within the team.

WHEN INDIVIDUALS EMBARK ON THEIR JOURNEY TO SECURE THEIR FIRST FEW JOBS, THEIR PRIMARY FOCUS IS OFTEN ON ESTABLISHING A FOOTHOLD ON THE CAREER LADDER BY ACQUIRING SKILLS.

They meticulously polish their CVs, highlighting their hard-earned skills, and yet they may wonder why their impressive abilities don’t always land them a job. What they tend to underestimate is that hard skills, such as proficiency in coding languages or the cleanliness of a code, only tell half the story of who the candidate is. A discerning hiring manager also looks at the other half, which encompasses the candidate’s potential role within the team and whether there is room for the function they will play.

Mandana Ahmadi, CEO and Founder, Alena

In this piece, Mandana Ahmadi, CEO and Founder, Alena, takes a look at how you can find and thrive in the perfect role by gaining a deeper understanding of yourself—not just in terms of your skill set but also in terms of your function within the team.

Mandana has always been passionate about mental health and how to use technology for social good. She has spent her career seeking a deep understanding of the human mind in order to protect and heal it. 

As Founder and CEO of Alena, Mandana is dedicated to tackling the world’s mental health crisis, starting first with social anxiety. Alena is harnessing the power of computational neuroscience to decode the cognitive processes that are involved in social anxiety. The app assesses and measures the health of these cognitive processes and delivers a personalised app-based program. 

Mandana has worked with the International Brain Laboratory, and achieved her PhD in Computational Neuroscience from UCL Gatsby. Mandana is passionate about leveraging technology to create meaningful change and believes that Alena can be used as a tool to empower people to take charge of their mental health. Her life’s mission is to make the world a better place for everyone, one person at a time.

IT ALL BEGINS WITH A VISION.

Humans are dreamers and creators. Throughout history, whenever someone has had a meaningful vision, individuals have united to bring it to fruition to make life more comfortable and better. This straightforward process is how jobs are created. Therefore, before applying for any job, it is essential to ask yourself: Does the vision that this job supports resonate with me? Am I proud and enthusiastic about contributing to this cause? If you lack excitement for why you do the work you are applying to, it will be challenging to find fulfillment in your job. And without that sense of fulfillment, it becomes difficult to truly shine in your role and succeed in it.

HOW ARE VISIONS TRANSFORMED INTO REALITY?

Once you are confident that you genuinely connect with the vision that your contribution serves, you must determine the role, or the function, that you will fulfill. In other words, how will you utilise your hard earned skill set to advance the cause?

What makes the realisation of a vision challenging is its apparent detachment from day-to-day tasks that, when executed correctly, will eventually bring that vision to life. Connecting the vision with these daily tasks is a complex process with multiple steps. Each step demands a specific functionality to be executed flawlessly, regardless of the skill set required to perform it. You may be an excellent coder, but you can excel best only in a particular role, or function.

ENOUGH WITH THE ENIGMAS. WHERE DO I FIT IN?

First and foremost, remember that all roles, or functions, are essential for a vision to materialise. A team consisting solely of individuals with one type of function is destined for failure. That’s why, when you find yourself in the fitting place, your team members will deeply value you for making their lives easier by propelling things forward.

There are three types of functions, and individuals are often adept at just one: They are the big picture thinker, the process wiz, and the tireless implementer. Each of these functions corresponds to distinct types of jobs and career paths. If you are a big picture thinker, focus on ascending the career ladder towards decision-making positions. If you care for absolute clarity and certainty, then you will excel as a process wiz, and so consider a career trajectory towards managerial roles. If you are a tireless implementer, strive to be the best team player you can be, as this will make you an immensely valuable member of the team as you will be delivering fast and furiously together with your teammates. 

People often settle in a job without giving much thought to the role they’d be playing in their team. Make sure you understand the career ladder in your chosen field very well, and climb it according to a function that you find most natural to your personality. If you do so, and equipped with a strong set of hard skills, you are bound to be very successful.

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