Software development is a constantly growing field, and the ability to program and build custom software is in high demand. For a candidate looking to begin a career in the field of software development, it’s important to make sure that the position is the right fit.
Here are a few key questions for aspiring software developers with answers from the managers who hire them and the developers who were looking to start their careers not too long ago.
What is a good software developer made of today?
While some hiring managers may have different views on what qualities make up the best person for a particular position, when it comes to looking for Software Developers, the managers point to one particular quality: problem-solving. And it’s not just the managers who recognize this quality either. It’s the developers themselves too. “Software developers are problem-solvers,” says Wayne Rossi, Systems Architect at Miles Technologies. “That’s the best way to put yourself forward and the best fit for a software development career.”
Hiring managers also stress the importance of the inquisitive mind when evaluating potential candidates for a software developer position.
, Director of Software Technologies at Miles Technologies, states that she looks for candidates with an “analytic mind, curiosity, and a passion for learning.”
Since developers constantly have to stay abreast with the latest technologies, an eagerness to learn and keep up with the most recent trends is key for sustaining a career as a software developer.
Eric Butler, Software Developer at Miles Technologies, says that this is the best advice he would give to an aspiring developer. “Never stop learning,” he says. “Always seek to improve your skills.”
In addition to looking for candidates with a problem-solving and curios mind, hiring managers also identified these other important skills they seek out in software developers: flexibility, focus on quality, attention to detail, and ability to work on a team.
What should aspiring software developers do to prepare for their careers?
Many aspiring developers will enroll in undergraduate college programs in computer since, information systems or other related fields. Current software developers today report that it’s highly important to take advantage of the educational opportunities available in your college or university. “Learning good principles of software design and planning are the best things you can focus on in college,” Rossi says. “Don’t skip things like discrete mathematics – it really helps to have a good understanding of the concepts beneath computer science.”
While learning in the classroom is certainly a valuable tool, there are other avenues where developers can improve their skills through other collaborative activities. In the Philadelphia area, for example, there is an event called Code Camp that is put together by the non-profit organization Philly.Net. The semi-annual convention has dozens of speakers that talk about a whole range of programming technologies.
Even if you don’t have the ability to attend an event like that, you may not even need to look further than your own school’s computer science department for helpful activities. Brett DiCioccio, Software Developer at Miles Technologies, says that he was able to engage in events and activities that helped prepare him for the professional field. “Some colleges have programming teams or clubs that actually go and compete against other colleges,” he states. “Joining one of these teams will give you something close to professional experience and broaden your skillset with things that you don’t learn in class.”
What are the best ways for developers to present themselves in interviews?
Both hiring managers and current developers stress the importance of honesty during your interview. Hiring managers don’t expect candidates—especially entry level ones—to be familiar with every technology available. “My biggest tip would be to speak to what you know and not try to guess when you don’t understand a technology,” says John Graham, Software Developer at Miles Technologies. Development is an ever evolving environment and it is ok to not always fully understand all aspects.”
JP Lessard, President of Business Software Solutions at Miles Technologies, says that truthfulness during the interview proves is vital to ensuring that the candidate is indeed right for the position. “Be open and honest about your interests and experience so you and we can both recognize where you would best fit and how to help you grow,” he states. “This will help you be happy and successful in the long run.”
Hiring managers also report that some of their best conversations come with candidates who are more relaxed throughout the process. “Focus on your strengths, and take it easy,” says Panjwani. “It’s more of a conversation, less of an interview.”
Because managers look for candidates who have a passion for learning, Rossi says that it’s important to make sure that aspect shines through during your conversations. “Always be learning something new,” he states. “In an interview you’ll be able to show that you’re focused on continual improvement as a developer.” Current developers also report that having extra items available during your interview such as a portfolio or a specific project you’ve worked on can help interviewers gain a better understanding of your knowledge and skills.
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