First and most important: Congratulations! You have put in the effort, struggled through terrible professors, long nights, and might have a slight addiction to coffee. But you made it!
While in my sophomore year of college, I had the opportunity to become a QA Analyst at a small up and coming Mobile Application Company. Now, as a senior in college, I am now a Lead Software Engineer at the same company. I transitioned to a lead development position very quickly which is not always the case, but I have been forced to learn how to adapt. Here is some unsolicited advice you may not have seen while nervously awaiting your big first day:
Looking feminine is not for everyone, but if it is something that makes you comfortable, confident, and most important happy: GO FOR IT! There is a preconceived notion in this industry on how engineers, especially female engineers should look. But if wearing a skirt or doing your make up makes you happy, do it! If you are more of a band t-shirt and jeans, rock it! Be yourself, even if it challenges the ‘status quo’ (Look into the campaign #ilooklikeanengineer)
Software engineering is a team sport. A team should be based in mutual respect, where people are comfortable sharing their well thought out opinions and they know the others will actively listen. But during many social experiments, researchers still find that women are interrupted more than their male counterparts. From my experience, this is still the case in Engineering, from classrooms to meeting rooms. Remember, you should be heard. Your opinion has value.
Risk is everywhere in this industry: Risks in deploying code, to making certain calls on storage levels, to choosing if you work for a start up or an already successful and large company. Be impressive.
Ditch the filler language! It does nothing to strengthen our ideas, in fact it starts to weaken them. If I tell you “I think xyz idea will maybe work better that ABC”, it shows hesitation and that I have not convinced myself of my idea. But if I say “XYZ will work better than ABC because….”. It shows confidence and assurance that will make it easier for you to keep peoples attention and persuade them to your ideas easier.
I wish I could give you all the advice you would possibly need in your career. But I will leave you with those main important four, because if you are anything like me, this is one of ten articles on the subject you will be looking at tonight! Good Luck!