In the era of great resignation on one side and talent crunch on another, it sometimes can get very frustrating for the candidates looking for their first job, especially if it’s a technical job. If you are one of them, then keep reading because we are here to decode how to get your first software developer job.
When it’s the first job then there are a lot of thoughts consuming you, “is my resume compelling enough”, “will I have to take a year off if I do not get a job”, “I am not sure I know enough to do this right”.
All these constant mind puzzles tire you up.
We get it.
Because while at the core of it, if we particularly talk about a software developer job, recruiters are looking for someone who understands software development lifecycle and can write code in an optimized manner – there can be several other factors that can be the deal breaker or maker for you.
Before we get into addressing these factors and laying out the plan for you, there is something you must ask yourself, “what kind of developer do I want to start as?”. You might be good in a specification but your growth trajectory and career opportunities in that specification don’t need to be good. For instance, one of the strongest positions in software development are – full-stack engineers (front-end/UI and backend development) but it doesn’t need to be the one for you.
In your first job, you need to work in a role that challenges you and keeps your learning on the right track, and a company that enables that.
Self-assessment should be the first step you take before applying for the job.
The Next Step is to Get Your First Software Developer Job. Here’s How:
1. Get Hands-on Technical Skills and Techniques Needed for the Job
Once you have figured out what developer you should be, get on to learning everything about it, pick up its technologies, programming languages, and what tools and platforms can be used to augment both. For instance – if as a fresher, you can write something closer to a production-ready code, then every company will be eager to pick you up.
Why? Because production-ready code means you can not just write it but deploy it too, monitoring that it works and understanding why it is not. For this, you must understand the use cases for the programming languages (C/C++, Java, Python, etc.), data structures & algorithms, and other tools that will be relevant in your software developer job.
It is also okay if you cannot write production-ready code in the relevant programming language until you have some good problem-solving or DSA skills. Being confident in what you know and how it can be integrated into projects is more important than knowing all the languages.
2. Get Job-Ready With the Basics
After having learned the technical skills it is time to use them to create an impactful profile. Make sure to do internships, certifications, and projects in the programming language that you know or learn, such that you can use them to build a portfolio for your resume.
Well if you can create a portfolio website and use its link in your resume, then that is simply awesome.
For any technical job, resume screening is step zero followed by a technical screening round (which can be live coding, assessment, or a telephonic interview involving questions on your projects and knowledge of the language). If all goes well, then an onsite interview discussing the role.
It will be helpful if you can look up the interview questions of the company you are interviewing for, Glassdoor and Google can help you here to be confident before appearing.
3. Prep Up to Approach Technical Rounds of Interview
Generally, most companies, especially startups, want to not see you run a code but understand your problem-solving approach and your thought process so make sure you put a lot of comments to bring forward your reasoning. So you must know the fundamentals of programming and data structures & algorithms such that you can show how you can come up with an effective and optimized solution for a particular problem.
You are recommended to solve various programming problems to hone your programming and DSA skills. There are several standard platforms such as GeeksforGeeks, etc. that can help you to practice as much as you can without any cost or other hassle.
Also, be active on GitHub, contribute to open source projects, participate in hackathons, create a coding blog, work as a freelancer, and give out suggestions on Reddit’s r/learnprogramming – all these are signs of a self-motivated candidate who has a voracious appetite to learn from anywhere and everywhere.
4. Prep Up To Approach Non-Technical Rounds of Interview
Almost in every interview the recruiter or the hiring team is looking for a team player who can adapt to their culture and solve problems to grow the firm ahead. A culture fitment is what they are trying to figure out.
You must differentiate yourself from other software developers and most importantly you must stand out. Knowing relevant programming language and go-to data structures is important but so is being self-motivated. Similarly, you need to be a good communicator who works well on a team. As a software developer, you would have to work with multiple teams since in a product multiple features are being concurrently built and each is dependent on others at the source. Hence you must work well in teams, if feasible do some of your projects in a team or run a community of like-minded individuals to depict you are a great team player.
Also, not being afraid to Google things. This means you own up if you do not know something, and you are not afraid to go back, learn and improve. Googling in today’s day and time is the number one skill that everyone must have.
5. Start Applying For The Jobs: It Might Take Time But The Right Job Will Come Along!
Once, you’re equipped with the required tech and non-tech skills for a software developer job along with having a professional resume – now, you should apply for relevant job opportunities. You can use LinkedIn and various other online portals like Get Hired With GeeksforGeeks – GFG Job Portal. Also, you can ask for job referrals from the individuals in your personal or professional network.
It is your first job, do not lose hope. Competition is intense, especially in this field but at the same time, everyone gets a job sooner or later. If they can, so can you.
Just like while writing code, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but that does not mean you do not try to reach a solution that works.
Mark Twain once said, “Comparison is the death of joy.”
So do not compare your journey with your fellow, work hard, and then hope for the best and move on to the next. At the end of the day, every interview is a learning experience for you to improve upon something and get better at the next one. And once you get that offer, treat yourself for all the hard work you put in, and do not be afraid to ask for the pay that justifies your worth. It is another essential trait of being self-aware and confident. If not in money, you can always ask for the perks like remote working, more flexibility, sign-on bonuses, etc.
There is a ton of demand out there for programmers or software developers. It is okay if you do not make it to your first software developer job sooner – if you are technically sound with good required non-tech skills, the right job will come along. Also, you can always continue to freelance. The good news is, once you get the first one, getting the following ones is a lot easier. Just remember to focus on getting right with the first one where there is immense scope for learning.
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