Friday, November 9, 2012

Valuable tips for students wanting to get into Software Engineering

Software development and technology moves extremely fast. It's an ever-changing landscape of different tools, platforms, and initiatives. With such a fast-paced discipline, I've been hearing questions from students wanting to get into software engineering, such as, "what are a few things I need to do in order to land a job with a team that's just as passionate as I am?"

Let's face it, being a software engineer is the hottest career right now. There's a war for talent where companies (startups and large corporations) are fighting over the best of the best software engineers that are leaders in their respective masteries (backend, frontend, mobile, games, etc). We're in an age where the cost of technology is so inexpensive thanks to cloud computing and continuously evolving toolsets. In addition to this, teams are now practicing lean. Lean is a simple way of quickly testing viability and value proposition by shipping fast and shipping often. This means that there are no "perfect" products in the startup world and usually means that there are a lot of 80/20 approaches to solving problems.

Below are a few suggestions that can help in landing your first job when you're coming out of university:

1. Show up at meetups and expand your professional network

It's always great meeting new people and finding out who's really dedicated to their mastery. Meetups will often open the doors to these passionate people. The faster you're able to connect with people that love what they do, the faster you can start making a positive impact on the community by working with them on collaborative projects, technical talks,  and open source initiatives.

2. Share your brilliance on Github and continuously improve yourself as a software craftsperson

Part of being a leader means not being afraid of embarrassment. Every programmer can write terrible code but it's really up to them to take in that constructive criticism from their peers, improve, and push forward. Being open about your mistakes is a great way of showing a high level of maturity.

3. Make a name for yourself as a leader -- inspire others around you

Adding value to other people's lives can have an extremely positive impact on your career path. People will always remember your acts of kindness and dedication -- going above and beyond the call of duty to help them, mentor them, or inspire them.

Cheers,
Jaime
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