Top 5 lessons after landing a new software development job in 2021

Top 5 lessons after landing a new software development job in 2021

It's always hard to find a job, here are a few things I learnt in my recent job search for a full-stack developer role

After a lot of thought and deliberation, I decided to take the leap and try and find a new software development job.

This was by no means an easy process and was only my second time trying to get a full-time development job in the industry.

I learnt a lot from this process and wanted to share what I learnt so that maybe someone reading this might find it helpful in their own interview process.

Make full use of LinkedIn to land your software development interview

It goes without saying that LinkedIn is a very helpful resource for finding jobs. If done right this site can really elevate your prospects of getting the high paying tech job you deserve.

A great LinkedIn profile can attract many more people who might be looking for someone just like you.

So before you start your job search make sure your profile is up to date. Have a list of all the technologies you know. Put references to projects you have completed, your personal website or blog and any other sources or links you think would be helpful.

Make sure everything that you would want to show a prospective employer is there.

Most of the interviews I landed actually came from my LinkedIn profile. It wasn’t the best profile out there but it had a lot of sections on it that seemed to attract many recruiters.

The sections I had on my profile included:

1. A brief summary of me, my experience and what I am looking for. Keep this short and sweet, with just enough information to attract the right people.

2. A link to my portfolio. This I think is essential for every serious software developer out there. Have a portfolio to show people your work, even if that work is just a side hobby. Employers want to see that you are passionate and care about coding. Having a portfolio of your work and links to live sites/code repositories will go a long way towards that.

3. My previous roles. If you have any experience, even in fields not related to programming, it’s a good idea to mention it. Put a brief summary of what you did and how you made a difference. If you can show proof of that, even better. But be prepared to speak about your roles in your interview.

4. Tech stack I have worked with. My previous role was primarily as a full-stack C# developer. But I had also worked with other technologies such as JavaScript, Angular and NHibernate. You do not need to be an expert in all the technologies you mention, but if you’ve worked with it and know your way around that will go a long way to landing your interview. But make sure you don’t lie because you’ll likely get caught out.

5. Finally, I had some references from the freelance work I did. Getting references from clients is one of the best ways of showing that you really can do what you say. It also shows prospective employers what clients think of you and how you might represent them in the future. Get references where possible.

I’m not saying this to brag, but instead to show you that you don’t need the perfect profile to get the job.

The offer I ended up accepting did actually come from LinkedIn. I thought my profile might not have been good enough when I started my search, but just goes to show if you don’t try you will never know.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

Most of the interviews I attended generally had 3 stages.

The first stage is normally a screening stage. The second is an in-depth interview followed by a coding challenge. The final stage is normally just final discussions.

The actual specifics of that changes from company to company but that’s the general gist.

Don’t accept the first offer

This one I found hard to stick to. It's natural to be happy that a company want to hire your and that you are in demand. However, from the company's perspective, they will be looking to hire people for as little cost to them as possible. Nevertheless, if the company value you, your skill and your potential (and they have the budget of course), they will be willing to pay you more. The initial offer is normally not their max offer.

This process of negotiation is a skill on its own. One thing that I found from interview prep, in general, is never to give your figure first. You will have a number in mind that is your minimum acceptable number but that number might be way below what the company is willing to pay you. If you give them your number first then they will take you at your word. If you are happy to work for much lower than their budget then why wouldn't they take you up on that?

Obviously, this process is easier if you have multiple offers on the table and are not afraid to walk away from the negotiations if another company is offering more.

What you need to remember through this is that your skills are in demand, they wouldn't be hiring if they didn't have a need. This brings me to my next point: don't underestimate your skill set!

Don’t underestimate your value and skill set

Know your skills, know what you're worth. Do you market research, see what other companies pay for someone in the role you are applying for. Sites like Glassdoor is good for finding this out.

Don't undervalue yourself. Aim high and you will be pleasantly surprised with what you can achieve.

Just get yourself out there

Finally, just get yourself out there. Send your CV, apply for jobs, talk to recruiters.

Don't stop yourself from applying to a role that sounds great but has skills they are listing that you think you don't have. Even if it's a language you might not know, still apply.

Companies are looking for someone investible, someone they train or fit into their team. They will have the capacity for training and they will also expect some learning on the job.

Speaking from experience, this is something that I was pleasantly surprised to learn. I got a job that needed React, however, I only had experience in JS and Angular. I was able to prove that the skills I have are transferable and that I know enough to pick up react and get going.

Companies create a wishlist of their ideal candidate, but it is rare that they will find someone who fits all.

Don't hesitate, just apply!

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