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3 Things to Help You Land Your First Software Engineering Job

NJOKU SAMSON EBERE
I love providing solutions to real world problems. When I am not coding, I enjoy movies, hanging out and working out.
・Updated on ・4 min read

Introduction

If you are new to Software engineering, you must have seen a lot of Software engineering roles and thought that getting one will not be difficult once you acquire the necessary skills. But that is not always the case. This article will help guide new ones through baby steps to getting their first Software engineering role. You know that the first step is usually the most difficult.

First Step to Success

Getting your first job as a software engineer can be a tonne of work and even frustrating because recruiters require certain level of experience or expertise in order to trust you with their projects. Now you might wonder:

I need experience to get a job but I need a job to get experience. πŸ˜³πŸ™„

This must be quite confusing. So how do we go about this?

This article discusses 3 things that can help you get your first job as a software engineer. It includes:

  1. Build projects that solve real life problems
  2. Network with other software engineers
  3. Contribute to opensource

Let's dive right in...

Build Projects That Solve Real Life Problems

When learning a programming language, most times we follow a step by step route building a particular application (for example, a TODO application). That is a good start but doesn't show that we own the knowledge. It just shows how good we are at duplicating what we can see.

Recruiters are interested in you problem-solving skills. So they want to see you build something original using those knowledge you claim to have acquired. This will show that you own the knowledge and can think your way through solving a real world problem with codes.

Build Real life projects

So why not look around you and see local problems facing your community and build a simple application to solve that problem in a way it has not been solved before? The project you build do not need to be overly engineered. It should just solve the problem it set out to solve.

If you are able to pull through this, even though it might be really challenging, you will see yourself applying the things you have learnt, learning a few new things and tricks and most importantly, you will be very confident to take up bigger projects when presented with one.

Now even though you have not gotten a job, can you see how you can be getting valuable experience?

But how about if you find it difficult to get new ideas? πŸ€·πŸ½β€β™€οΈπŸ€·πŸ½β€β™‚οΈ

I have gone ahead to build an application to help in that regard. I call her the Ideas Repository. It is meant to host project ideas that recruiters will love to see. You can also contribute to the projects that are already there. Check it out at https://ideas-repo.netlify.app/. Click on the tweet below for more details.

Network With Other Software Engineers

Sometimes, we might not hear about a job opening but someone who knows us or have see our works and got to know of such opening can call our attention to it or even recommend us. This is only possible if we have connected with other engineers so that they get to know us and we get to know them too.

Networking with people

Possible places or avenue to connect or network with others are at meetups, conferences or social media sites like Twitter, Github, Reddit and so on. What can you use these avenues for?

When you are at these places, do well to discuss and share your progress, achievements and challenges. If you have written an article or built an application for instance, share a link to it on Twitter with your friends so that they get to know things your are capable of. You can also let them know that you are open to work if any is available.

Moreover, a lot of companies are more inclined to recruiting engineers who were referred by someone they already trust than recruiting engineers who randomly send them applications. The value of having the right network of software engineers cannot b overly emphasized.

Contribute to opensource

Opensource is an avenue for developers and content creators to contribute their knowledge to the growth of a given community or application.

Opensource

Opensource contributors are not usually paid but this opportunity helps developers to apply the knowledge they have gathered, learn how to work in teams, give back to the community and get to meet other passionate developers. There are a whole lot of these communities on Github. You can raise an issue on their project and possibly raise a PR. This way, you are already getting experience without a job.

Asides writing just code, you can contribute contents by writing articles/tutorials for free so that other developers can learn from your knowledge just as you learnt from others. As you write these articles, do well to build small sample projects that you can upload to Github. Let other software engineers get to meet you through your works.

You might just get an email some day requesting your service like the one below:

Email Requesting My Service

Conclusion

Landing your first job as a software engineer is not always an easy thing but it is possible. We have seen practical steps to follow in order to convince recruiters that we are good enough for the task. Do well to visit https://ideas-repo.netlify.app/ and drop me a feedback if you have any.

These steps outlined are not very easy as they require a good level of consistency, dedication and hard work. It might take up to 3 to 6 months building that application and/or 6 to 12 months contributing to opensource and networking before you getting that first offer. But once you get the first one, you will never run out of offers. Then you will see that the initial hard work was worth it.

So go get that job now!!! 😊

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