Technical Career Coaching for University Students

For university cohorts and professionals seeking to transform and land their dream job by graduation

1. Technical Expertise

2. Stand-Out Profile

3. Powerful Network

Are you ready to transform your technical career to the next level?

I lack a large and influential network of professionals to leverage as job interview referrals and mentorship

I am not clear how to differentiate my technical skills and profile in a crowded job market

I am unaware of the technical, leadership, and behavioral skills I need in addition to the curriculum to stand out with prospective employers

I am undecided on what technical career path to pursue and this hesitation is negatively influencing my job search

I lack the confidence and experience to excel in technical interviews

Selling myself is not something that comes easy, yet I know I can’t count on qualifications alone to land a job in a competitive market

And that leads to applying to 100s of jobs with minimal interest and feedback. As a data & AI leader and executive coach, I will guide and accelerate your transformation to increase your likelihood of landing a job prior to graduation.

package, position, and promote your unique technical profile to stand out

Coaching Outcomes

Technical Expertise

Strengthen technical and essential non-technical skills to advance your career to the next level

Stand-Out Profile

Build and promote a unique combination of technical skills and personal traits to stand out

Powerful Network

Expand and strengthen a network of technical professionals and leaders to increase luck and learning

Key Outcomes

The ultimate outcome and success measure is maximizing student job offers. While I do not fully control this outcome, I partner with students in the following areas to increase the likelihood. Student satisfaction is measured by short surveys after each coaching session.

Strengthen expertise for a strategically-selected technical career path.

Each technical field generally has numerous paths that students can pursue upon graduation. Strategically selecting a path based on a student’s skills, identity, and preferences is essential to developing a portfolio of skills and guiding the job search.

  • Career Path: I collaborate with each student to guide them to strategically choose a primary and secondary path within the technical discipline (e.g., business analyst, data engineer, data scientist), business domain, and other requirements. This will help students focus their time and energy on the spring job search.
  • Learning Roadmap: Typically, additional technical and behavioral skills not taught in formal curriculums are essential to stand out. Given a student’s technical path, I recommend topics and certifications to pursue during school breaks and upon graduation. I recommend that students develop an ongoing learning roadmap for long-term professional growth.
  • Technical Certifications: Advice on certifications given a student’s career path to extend skills beyond the technical curriculum.

Stand out in a competitive technical job market.

I collaborate with students to build and promote a unique technical profile to stand out with recruiters and hiring managers. The other intent is to increase inbound demand.  I partner with a university’s career center as an extended member to focus on building the technical acumen of a student’s profile.

  • LinkedIn: Strengthen and differentiate student LinkedIn profiles to communicate a professional style, analytics skills, certifications, and relevant projects. A strong student profile can be a source of inbound leads from prospective employers and industry professionals. Given a student’s desired path, I will offer personalized recommendations to strengthen a student’s brand.
  • Resume: Feedback on the technical strength, differentiation, and overall positioning of the resume, given their desired career path. Students leverage the career center’s resources for resume style, format, and structure and conduct a first-pass resume review before meeting with me. I help students leverage technical keywords and tailor their resumes to their target career path.
  • Cover Letters: Feedback on tailoring cover letter technical content relevant to the job description and technologies referenced in the posting.
  • Technical Project Portfolio: Showcase student projects demonstrating skills, hands-on experience with technology, and business impact. An online portfolio can include LinkedIn, GitHub, and other web experiences for self-serve access from prospective employers.
  • Technical Interview Preparation: Strategize with students to prepare for a specific interview, including technical concepts, how to position skills and past achievements relevant to the job description and company priorities, questions strategy, etc. Students can also use coaching sessions for live mock interviews.

Expand and strengthen a professional network in the target technical career path.

Growing a strong network is critical to landing a new job and advancing in a chosen field. Students must learn to develop strategic relationships with industry experts, hiring managers, and recruiters to learn from, promote their profile, and increase the surface area of luck.

  • Networking Strategy:  I share strategies and guide students on how to network with data and analytics professionals.
  • Job Interview Referrals: I help student land interviews by offering warm introductions to members of my LinkedIn network. I position the students as someone I have coached and can often recommend their expertise.


James Gray

As a lifelong learner with three higher education degrees and coaching certification, I know how transformational a university program can be to taking your career to the next level. My experience is that transforming to this level takes more than a degree. It requires strategically targeting a path to be pursued after graduation, building a unique and memorable profile to stand out, and a network of people who can open doors and support your journey.

I have many years of experience working with early-in-career professionals. I coached and mentored 100s of recent graduates as an IT leader at Microsoft and serve as a Technical Career Coach at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  My “why” for coaching is simply that I love the outcome – saving people valuable time, opening a door that leads to a job offer, or strategically guiding a path that becomes life-changing. I am lucky to have accrued many stories that serve as fuel as a force multiplier through the work that my coachees move on to pursue.

I am here to help you do the same.

Experienced technology executive as a Chief Product Officer, Chief Information Officer and Data Leader.

Extensive experience coaching 100+ people with high customer satisfaction

Delivered career strategy workshops, 1:1 mentoring, and speaking at events that reached 3K+ people at Microsoft

MBA from the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley, and Master of Information and Data Science from the School of Information, University of California at Berkeley

Instructor for the Berkeley Haas School of Business course “Data Strategy: Leveraging Data as a Competitive Advantage”

Technical Career Coach for MS Business Analytics program at Gies College of Business, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Brown University / ACT Leadership and Performance Coaching certification (in-progress)

people coached

5-Star reviews

LinkedIn Profile


Proven Outcomes

James is an amazing career coach. He took the time to go over every single point in my resume and LinkedIn profile, and provided improvement for the same. He helped prep for interviews as well, to the extent where his advice helped me be more confident and convert the role I was looking for! He is extremely knowledgeable and his advice is super helpful. Thank you for helping out MSBA at Gies!

Source: LinkedIn

Saniya Chadda

Risk Product Management | Business Analyst, JP Morgan Chase

In a world hardly free of biased suggestions, James shines by giving honest and balanced advice. He has a remarkable talent for career coaching. Thanks to his crisp and clear suggestions, my resume now effectively highlights my strengths and achievements, giving me newfound confidence in my professional presentation. His attention to clarity and awareness of what will boost your presence as an applicant in the eye of a recruiter cannot be highlighted enough. Anyone would be graced to him as a guide in his/her resume grooming or job hunt.

Source: LinkedIn

Dhananjay Pandey

Data Analyst, SeoClarity

James has great knowledge in career coaching. I worked with him on my Resume and Cover Letter. He helped me rewrite my resume to clearly portray what I did, how I did it, and the impact (why) it had on the organization. We also spent a lot of time writing a cover letter, looking at each component of the job description and tying it to my skills and experience to show how I would be a good fit for the position I would be applying to. His help provided clarity with a lot of components from each item, and he was always available to request for meeting to go over revisions or clarify any question (s) I had.

Sabelo Zwane


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1. Co-Create Coaching Program

I co-create a coaching program with the director of the academic program and director of the career center given the resources and needs of the university.

2. Cohort Coaching

Groups events are generally tailored to student needs with a focus on topics, strategies, and open Q&A relevant to the program cohort.

3. 1:1 Coaching

Students engage in multiple one-on-one coaching sessions throught the academics program to personalize recommendations and support.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Is technical career coaching a replacement for a university’s career center?

A: No. Technical career coaching is a specialized focus on technical areas and extensive industry domain expertise that a university’s career center generally cannot provide.


Live Coaching

Students schedule one-on-one sessions on the coach’s calendar for personalized coaching that dictated by the student. Sessions are recorded for students to reviews the topic and recommendations discussed.

Asynchronous Coaching

In between live sessions, the students and coach collaborate through email and messaging.

Coaching Guidebook

Student have access to a curated document of strategies, tactics, and resources I update weekly for common coaching topics. The intent is to enable students digest these resources on their own time.


A newsletter focused on ideas and technology to shape high performance and evolving into your self.

LinkedIn Network

Students will have access to a large network of professionals at leading companies (e.g., Apple, Microsoft, Google, Meta, Databricks) and major tech hubs, including Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, and Austin.


Individual Students

This coaching program is initiated by students who desire additional coaching beyond the university-sponsored program or as individuals at any university.  I offer monthly programs and student discounts.

On the fence? Book a complimentary discovery session to experience a live coaching session.