Keen to get on the fast-track for beginning a career as a Software Developer? Whether you’re a career switcher, looking to turn your hobby into a full-time job or have gained a new-found love for Software Development – there are ways to stand out that don’t require a detailed CV in all things Tech and IT. You’ll be happy to hear that you don’t necessarily need that prior industry experience to make your mark and find an entry-level position in the field. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to put the work and research in!
Qualities that can impress hiring managers include an avid interest and knowledge in development, proof that you can translate that knowledge into forming awesome programming and projects as well as a portfolio that speaks volumes about your IT capabilities. In fact, a 2016 developer study found that 56% of participants were entirely self-taught and did not hold a degree in computer science. In 2022, Software Developer vacancies are anticipated to rise by 10.1%.
So don’t be apprehensive, instead, learn and teach yourself to display to those prospective employers that you’re creative, passionate and capable of taking on a role within their company. Here are some more specific tips to land yourself your ideal Software Development role:
Get comfortable with all the necessary fundamentals
You’ll want to know the major data structures (those being graphs, stacks and lists) as well as the most commonly occurring algorithms. Also, understanding GitHub and Git will help you tremendously as you’ll be able to preview, view and even restore previous versions of your code plus plenty of other useful features.
Containers help to ensure all your code is running effectively across all different types of devices. Lastly, using Cloud platforms will be valuable (particularly AWS and Google Cloud) as they’ll provide you with application management abilities and database tools.
Show off your potential by creating your own projects
Companies will expect you to showcase your abilities from the jump, they’ll want to see what you’re able to do and building awesome projects will be one of the strongest selling points you could possibly have. It validates your skills, displays what you have to offer professionally and it puts your programming knowledge into practice.
If you’re a little unsure of where to begin or are looking for new ideas, you could go with building: your own game, music player, mock online shop, quiz app, fitness tracker – whatever inspires you the most! There’s plenty of alternative ideas and how-to guides out there to get you started. You can use tools like BitBucket and GitHub to have your projects up online.
Pick a small selection that you can develop to the best of your abilities and gain an impressive portfolio you can feel confident sharing. Don’t forget, when you’re in an interview scenario, the interviewer will likely ask you questions about how you create them, try to recall your creative process and relay as much detail as possible.
Consider building an online presence to gain interest
Having a LinkedIn goes a long way but if you really want to display your insights and enthusiasm, consider creating your own software development blog. Not only is it a handy extra tool to convey to potential employers you know your stuff, it will also give you extra credibility when your name is entered into search engines.
It’ll clearly display your dedication and will be a hit with prospective employers who are trying to get to know you and understand you better.
You might even get employers or recruiters reaching out to you as a result! So don’t underestimate the power of enhancing and building upon your online presence. It might just be your opportunity to get your foot in the door!
Seek advice where you can and gain new industry connections
We mention this because job hunting shouldn’t be quite such an isolating process and you can actually gain a lot by reaching out to either developers you might know or professionals online. By using these connections, you can gain invaluable recommendations about what job boards to be scouring and learn from other software developers’ journeys.
Perhaps you might notice a developer you’ve friended on LinkedIn didn’t go to University or take up an apprenticeship – you could reach out and ask for advice. The majority of the time, people are happy to share their words of wisdom and provide you with helpful insights.
Make the most of these social resources and you could learn how to navigate your journey more clearly as a result. Plus, 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn (in fact, 3 users get hired every minute) so establishing connections and sending out plenty of messages can get you far.
Figure out what speciality would suit your goals and interests
It’s one thing knowing you want to become a software developer, it’s another to sort out where exactly you want to specialise. Whether you want to focus your efforts as a full-stack developer, go into game or app development – think about how and where you want to apply your skills and passion in your IT career long term.
Try and pick a niche where you would feel capable, excited and invested in the kind of work you’d be undertaking. There are other options like working on embedded systems, data pipelines, graphics, CRM, big data, security, project management or you could even go into IT consulting.
There are loads of different options, room for growth and new developments happening all the time with technology, the opportunities to expand your career growth and learn new skills are limitless!
If you are considering a career in Software Development, we’ve created an expert learning pathway, designed to take you from no-code to pro! Check it out below.