If you’re looking for a long-term career that has plenty of unique opportunities for growth, then getting into the world of software is a great choice with almost no major drawbacks. The demand for software engineers grows every year and your skills can branch off to many different areas of expertise that can help you land contracts and consulting roles later in the future. There is so much opportunity for growth that it can be hard to settle on just one role.
But if you’re just getting started then we’ve prepared a few tips to help you land your first job as a software developer.
Embrace entry-level roles, but don’t be exploited by bad companies
Entry-level roles such as software QA jobs can be a great opportunity for getting into the industry. However, many organizations can end up exploiting these types of workers, requesting them to work an extraordinary number of hours, giving them work that they’re not qualified for, or putting them in work environments where they just aren’t comfortable. This isn’t as common nowadays, but there are still many companies out there that are just looking for cheap labor and will do anything to reel you in.
Just make sure you have your wits about you when you join these entry-level roles. If you’re being given lots of opportunities to grow your skills and learn new things, then you should stay. However, if you feel like you’re being requested for overtime far too often and you’ve reached a point where you’re no longer learning new things, then you should start looking for a new job and use your experience to help you land a better position.
Every company has its own tools, so there’s going to be more learning involved
Just because you’ve mastered a programming language or two, it doesn’t mean that you’re qualified to be a fully-fledged software developer. This is because almost every company uses its own proprietary set of tools and there are occasions where they might change the type of libraries that they use. This means that you’re going to have to learn an entirely new set of tools for certain projects, and there are also many companies out there who are struggling to upkeep their legacy tools because they’re too stubborn to change.
In short, don’t be surprised that you have to learn a new programming language or work with unique tools that you’ve never tried before. As a software developer, your knowledge of computer science should help you quickly learn new tools by applying concepts that you’re familiar with to different languages and systems. Also don’t be afraid to showcase your street-smart knowledge of the tech world, be that showcasing your latest Github upload using a Git GUI with powerful features, or stewarding your principles around open-source software. This is part of what it means to be a software developer, so don’t hesitate to embrace the unknown and be prepared to learn something new every day.
While it can sometimes be daunting to learn something that you’re not familiar with, it’s important to get accustomed to that idea because you’ll be constantly figuring new things out and learning new ways to optimize your processes. The more you learn, the more appealing you’ll be as a candidate too.