Evolving with Nita Jain
Evolving with Nita Jain: Health | Science | Self-Development
How to Break Into Tech, Negotiate Salary, & Increase Diversity in STEM with Engineer Andrew Baines

How to Break Into Tech, Negotiate Salary, & Increase Diversity in STEM with Engineer Andrew Baines

Entering STEM fields from non-traditional backgrounds, funding alternatives to college, building in public, cold-pitching yourself, removing hiring bias, and more!

In this week’s episode, engineer, recruiter, and podcast host Andrew Baines talks about breaking into tech careers, representation in STEM, salary negotiation, cold-pitching your way to success, and overcoming bias during the hiring process!

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube.

Chapter Summaries:

[00:00:00] Andrew is an engineer, recruiter, and host of the cuSTEM Journeys podcast, which highlights talented Black and Latino STEM professionals.

[00:00:50] In college, Andrew wanted to play collegiate football but opted for a career in engineering after a conversation with a family friend. He started the cuSTEM Journeys podcast to inspire other people to pursue careers in STEM fields.

[00:03:11] Diverse representation in media and society can help shape future aspirations. Everyday interactions in schools, churches, and communities can profoundly alter the trajectory of someone’s life.

[00:06:15] Entering the job market with a B.A. in mechanical engineering, Andrew didn’t initially receive the salary he expected because companies wanted to see more work experience. Employer-funded educational programs and internships can help bridge the gap for jobseekers with non-traditional backgrounds.

[00:11:59] Cold-pitching and creating content online can help you leverage opportunities that aren’t advertised by keeping you at the forefront of people’s minds.

[00:14:50] Documenting the highs and lows of your journey and building in public helps foster trust with your audience and has the potential to inspire future creators.

[00:17:04] You don’t have to wait for the perfect resources. Use what you have to get started because the message is going to come across more than the production value. Stepping outside your comfort zone can open the door to more opportunities.

[00:20:24] Andrew provides three actionable tips for going into a salary negotiation:

  1. Conduct research to familiarize yourself with the going market rate.

  2. Keep a brag book, i.e., instances of saving the company time or money, and clarify your value proposition.

  3. Maintain a bargaining chip, e.g., offer letter from another employer, if you can.

[00:26:01] Salary transparency within a company can help close the gender pay gap and prevent discrimination. Bumping current employees’ salaries to match that of incoming employees creates a sense of loyalty and increases worker morale.

[00:29:27] Andrew has an idea for a game show that involves setting up a blind date between jobseekers and hiring managers. One of his goals with this setup is to counteract any subconscious biases during the hiring process and instead keep the focus on skills, work culture, and what each side brings to the table.

[00:34:06] Employers sometimes use personality tests to determine communication styles of team members. This information can help create more comfortable workplace environments that acknowledge different communication styles and personalities. 

[00:36:08] Forming close ties with our workplace colleagues might help counteract the loneliness epidemic that many public health officials express concern about. Creating connections with people of different backgrounds can broaden our horizons.

Connect with Andrew and the cuSTEM Journeys podcast on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, & TikTok!

If you’d like to support the show, you can share this post or leave a tip! The show’s theme music, “New Beginnings” by Joshua Kaye, was provided courtesy of Syfonix. This episode was recording using Riverside and edited using Descript. Some links are affiliate and help support my mission to share actionable insights with the general public at no additional cost to you.

Evolving with Nita Jain
Evolving with Nita Jain: Health | Science | Self-Development
Whether it's a workout protocol, productivity routine, or mindfulness practice, Nita Jain shares actionable insights designed to help listeners optimize their lives and become their best selves. Topics covered include science, psychology, philosophy, health, fitness, longevity, entrepreneurship, and everything in between. The show aims to be interdisciplinary, encourage forward thinking, and approach subject matter in a balanced way.