How to land that dream job in software development

You’ve put the hours of effort in, doing your homework, and gaining experience along the way. Now it’s time to start applying for that dream job in software development. It’s daunting, but here are a few tips to help you get the job you want…

Apply lots, but not indiscriminately

Getting a job can take lots of applications, maybe even dozens, maybe even 100 or more, but don’t fire out copy-and-paste cover letters and CVs as if they’re confetti. Do your research on each job, and apply for each one personally, not as a mail-shot. It’s probably best to not rely on things like CV aggregators as they tend to spam big companies with constant emails, to the point where they get ignored. Do keep your LinkedIn profile bright and shiny, though. It’s often the first place that potential employers will look before calling you for an interview.

Have a project to show off, and somewhere to show it off

If you want to be an impressive software developer, you’ll need something to convince employers that you’ve got the right skills. So make sure you have some self-designed work up and running, preferably accessible through your own website, that employers can have a look at. Make sure that it’s creative and interesting too, not just a simple clone of a bigger, commercially available programme. Code Institute students create such a portfolio as part of its programme.

Show that you can work in a team

That self-designed work we talked about above? It’ll look even better if that’s a collaborative project. Yes, that dilutes your own personal impact on the software a little, but in a big company you’re never going to be working on your own and if you can show that you work well as part of a team, that’s a big plus.

Get out to meet-ups and conferences

Web Summit may have moved to Lisbon, but don’t worry — there will still be a tonne of local software development events, meet-ups, and conferences in your area. Make sure you get along to as many as you can and start building a network of people as much as you build LAN networks. Many of the better jobs in software development never get advertised but are filled through personal referrals, so the more people you know, the better a chance you have of picking up a sniff of a good job. Incidentally, if you can present a talk at one of these events, so much the better. It makes you more visible and gives employers a chance to see you in action.

It’s interview time. Be ready

Don’t just read the ‘About Us’ page of the company website — make sure you do your homework on what the company that’s interviewing you does, how it does it, and where it wants to go. Then work out how you can become a vital part of that process. Be prepared to practical elements in the interview, such as showing, on paper or a whiteboard, how you’d work through a notional software issue — if you’re not used to doing that, get practising.

Start your journey to your dream job

Don’t consider this list exhaustive, nor complete, but hopefully it’ll point you in the right direction to start finding your dream job in software development. If you’ve been looking for a dream job as a programmer – a great starting point is the free 5 Day Coding Challenge. It will teach you some of the basics of HTML, CSS and JavaScript – by the end of the challenge, you will have built your first web page… for free. Register through the form below.

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