Young people looking for green energy jobs may be a bit disheartened about job prospects without applicable experience. Fortunately, this should not be a barrier to pursuing a dream of working in green energy.
4 Things to Learn About Pursuing Green Energy Jobs
In a recent interview, the 28-year-old founder of Alcen Renewable, Tao Kong, offered insights to young people looking for green energy jobs. Here are four lessons from his experience to help you break into the field.
1. A Broad-Based Renewable Energy Education Is Essential
Educational institutions are developing new renewable energy programs to help keep up with the transition to low-carbon systems. Fortunately, the renewable energy industry is helping to speed up the process. The larger this industry grows, the more workers it needs. This information may not seem incredibly helpful for recent college graduates; however, Kong didn’t leave college with any specialized skillset or a significant amount of knowledge about renewable energy.
This lack of experience was hardly a hurdle, though. Almost everything he learned to land his first job in the industry was the result of self-study. Everything else he learned while on the job. For young people, this approach can actually be a huge advantage, as Kong points out. Without a new family or other major commitments, job seekers can follow Kong’s footsteps in learning about this new and exciting market.
2. Age Doesn’t Matter
Of course, it’s worth pointing out that Kong’s age hasn’t always played to his advantage. In the interview, he mentions that the industry seems split regarding his success. One half scoffs at his innovations. At the same time, Kong notes that these people tend to be part of the “status quo.” They don’t want things to change because they built their business models on what has always worked.
There are also the independent developers who, Kong points out, don’t really care about age. They’ll hear him out because they’re excited about what he may bring to the table. Anyone who is able to introduce improvements to the industry can succeed, regardless of age or background.
3. Ask Lots of Questions
Kong’s first real experience with the renewable energy industry was attending a conference. By this point, he had begun doing some preliminary planning for a family friend who was working on renewable energy projects in China.
To prepare for the conference, Kong committed to rigorously learning about renewable energy (he originally knew nothing). By the time the conference rolled around, Kong didn’t have all the answers, but he did know all the questions he had to ask. While many of the attendees wondered why he was there to begin with (due to his age), Kong was happy to explain himself because he got the answers he needed to help his employer.
Reinventing the wheel is not necessary. Kong probably could have come up with many of the answers he needed on his own, but it was far more efficient to simply find the people who had the information he needed and ask them.
4. Look for Green Energy Jobs with Startups
Kong cited a couple of important reasons why young people should look to startups for their green energy jobs. The first one is that startups are more likely to get excited about fresh ideas. An innovative idea can often beat years of experience in terms of getting a foot in the door.
Startups can also offer the opportunity to wear as many different hats as possible. This provides a broad-based education about the industry along with a better understanding of what roles might be good fits. Startups can usually offer this type of opportunity because of their lean structures; they need every employee to wear several hats at once.
Countless Green Energy Jobs Are Out There Waiting
Green energy jobs are growing. Solar, alone, is growing 12 times faster than the rest of the economy. A lot goes into finding the perfect job, especially for new job seekers. By utilizing Kong’s tips, including asking questions and providing fresh insights, the chances of finding the right opportunity are improved significantly.
This article was contributed by guest author Susy Bento.