My Twitter Early Bird 2018 experience. | Tanaka Chingonzo

My Twitter Early Bird 2018 experience.

My Twitter Early Bird 2018 experience. 4 mins read.

June 25, 2018

Three or so weeks ago I was incredibly fortunate to be selected to attend Twitter’s early bird camp. This is going to be a post reflecting on my time at Twitter HQ, the feature my team and I built for the platform, and my key learnings.

I was one of 30 attendees selected out of 2000+ applicants to attend a five-day immersion program for first-year computer science students focused on professional and technical development including coding, networking, personal branding, resume writing,interview skills.

To start with, I want to list the key realizations I made while I was there.

  1. it is possible to build meaningful relationships in just 5 days. Time is hardly ever a signigicant constraint.
  2. sit in front whenever possible and participate meaningfully.
  3. there are always resources and opportunities around, and I have to be proactive about using them.
  4. talking and asking questions is the most important thing I can do in any conversation.
  5. the best anyone can do for themselves is find the things they love doing, and then doing that.
  6. be genuine and authentically yourself sounds cliched, but it is incredibly good advice.

Going to this event, my goal was to make friends and connections that would carry over after the event itself had ended. I also intended to meet as many people as I possibly could within Twitter itself- the very open environment at Twitter helped me do this. Over lunch time, while standing in line for food, I got to talking to employees at Twitter- or as they are popularly referred to there- Tweeps. I asked them about their work, and how they felt about the company, and what advice they might have for a college freshman trying to figure out what niche in CS made him excited to wake up every morning and solve problems. Twitter University organized a lot of events where we could meet with mentors and get advice too. Overwhelmingly, the advice I got was to find a problem I wanted to solve, and work on learning the skills and technologies I would need to solve it. More than 10 people also talked passionately about attending NSBE.

Also, I should be genuinely myself when I attend these things. I think people are so used to putting on facades now that there’s nothing quite as outwardly charismatic as being authentically yourself. I think school and computer science as a field puts so much pressure on us to present our best selves- and in some cases to invent these versions of ourselves. When I have met people who did not seem to care at all about how they seemed, and whose biggest goal seemed to be to satisy a curiosity about other people I made such easy friends with them. Also, interestingly, my most lasting friends from these things have constantly been the people with whom technical speak consisted an almost insignificant amount of our conversation.

I talk to some of the people I met there almost every day now or at least once a week. I think the really good thing about events like these is they pull me out of the monotony of the little microcosm that is my life on campus. Which is an amazing time- but I don’t think this is real life.

  1. You don’t always need to have something to say, but if you do, absolutely say it.

  2. Utilize resources like NSBE.

  3. Reach out to recruiters on Linkedin, and if they work at Twitter, via twitter.

Here are some pictures from my time there:

My team and I giving our final presentations: