David J. Malan is one person who has influenced many for making a career in programming/coding. Being in a place where you constantly feel that you are under a microscopic lens is not anyone’s favorite place. That’s what it feels like when you are a software developer interviewing for a position but have no prior experience.
Candidates who indeed have experience dominate the ones having no experience. Same with companies. But you have a chance too, keep reading to learn more.
One thing which is important to understand is that experience is still a factor, it is still not a necessity. Having an appropriate skillset, consistency to keep getting better, and a growth mindset are necessary.
The reason why companies are a bit reluctant to hire candidates with no experience is the risk of hiring a software developer who doesn’t know how to code. That’s a negative addition to the company and can cost a lot of the company.
Enough with the chit-chat, let’s see what you can do to get a job.
The Necessities -
Let’s understand the necessary skills that one should have before they even think of applying. It is a technical role. So, let’s talk about technical skills before we jump on to anything else.
You Should be Proficient with the Fundamentals of the Language
Language could be any of your choices, be it Python, Java, C++, etc. Learn what you can. No company will consider you if you lack the basics. Get the help of youtube, mentors, and books, or join a course - it’s up to you.
Do quizzes, solve simple questions, write code even on paper, and make a simple mindmap to fill the knowledge gaps.
Your goal should be to have proficiency in at least one language.
Data Structures and Algorithms - Don’t be scared
Each one of the companies evaluates candidates based on the DSA. It’s an important part of the technical interview. The core of software development is DSA. If you want to get hired for a good role, DSA is your shortcut.
Start from the basic topics like Array, Queue, etc to the Advanced Data Structure concepts. Use online free quizzes to get your DSA strong.
Go through your books again and clear your basics. Understand that DSA helps while working as a software developer, it’s not a prerequisite for getting a job only.
This is a compulsory element of the software developer role. Companies expect you to showcase your projects. Your projects will validate your programming skills, and proficiency with algorithms, databases, etc. It’s a bonus for your confidence as well.
It becomes the central talking point in your interview as well. It doesn’t have to be the next revolution. But remember to make it a little creative.
Remember to make projects that allow you to have a sense of the domain that you are applying.
GitHub - Everything you make should go on GitHub, it demonstrates your progress.
While hiring, Yogini checks the GitHub of every candidate, and whenever she finds even one new feature (or creativity while executing any other feature), it leaves an impression on her. This is what hiring managers are looking for - a bit of your personality.
This is your way to make a move in the tech community. It helps you to analyze your skills, it helps you in SWOT analysis as well. Coding challenges give you exposure and also help you build projects under a timeline.
For example, Hacktoberfest is live. You can participate with a group, or individually and contribute to open source. It is your valley to shine. Some companies keep an eye on these events as well.
Some of the platforms are TopCoder, HackerRank, etc.
There are a few tips to stand out and one of them is to impress your hiring manager on the spot.
Recently, a candidate who failed to answer a question during the technical round came with POC in the next round to get feedback. The candidate made an impression on Yogini. According to her, it shows that candidate has a learning mindset which is what most startups are looking for.
Find your specialty, goal, and interests
This can be rewarding for you. Rather than focusing on everything, find your interests, and make your job profile around them. Your projects should show your interests and goals.
There is one thing when you say you want to be a software developer but knowing where you wanna specialize is a different thing. With new technology every day, you have a lot of options from full-stack development to game or app development.
Once you get done with necessities, move forward to increase your chances.
Make Your Luck
You make your luck. Let’s understand how you can do that.
Open Source Contributions
Your GitHub shows your contributions. Once you start submitting bugs that were identified, you are sure to influence the entire community. Programmers will benefit from the bugs you report. It is designed to be altered by anyone and that’s why it’s an advantage for you.
We all know some people who have landed an amazing opportunity from the same source.
Seek Advice and Network
Feedback from seniors, from your network, help you understand where you are lacking and also gives a clear view to the people in the industry - they get to know that you are working on something.
Networking is your lifeline in today’s era.
Your online presence can be highly effective as well. Hiring from referrals is not new but it has changed a little. Now rather than asking your friends’ friends, you go online and build something that can be helpful for a few which results in people knowing you for a particular skill set.
Now, let’s understand what you can do once you are selected for an interview.
Impress Your Hiring Manager
Once your profile is selected for the interview, there comes the part where you have to stand out as an individual and show some soft skills as well. Understand industry has plenty of talent. Hiring managers want a package - a candidate with programming skills as well as soft skills, who can code and also work in a team.