Technology has completely revolutionized the process of getting a job, particularly for new software engineers. From creating an online presence to staying fluent in digital skills, coding school graduates face new challenges and opportunities in today’s tech-connected environment.
As the world has witnessed an explosion of connectivity and coding possibilities, graduates have started to take more control of their destiny. They have to work hard, showcase their skills, and build a positive and searchable reputation. The good news is, there are now more means than ever for making connections, building portfolios and learning new skills, enabling you to determine the fate of your career.
Our curriculum at MakerSquare builds software engineering expertise. Here are key tips we share with our students as they set out on their future coding careers:
Build a Positive Online Persona
With social media, forums, blogs and personal portfolio websites, your digital footprint can be as big as you want it to be. Consequently, you can shape the narrative of your online persona. Recruiters and potential employers will vet these platforms — particularly LinkedIn and Github — so make sure everything you post online reinforces the positive qualities you bring to a team and highlights your strengths as a candidate. When you take the next step and interview, be sure to embody this in person.
Get Involved With the Coding Community
The beautiful thing about being a software engineer is that there’s always something to work on. Whether it’s a solo labor of love, a group effort with friends or an open source project, you will always have ways to add to your portfolio. It’s not just about doing the work. Your efforts deserve to be publicized on Github, LinkedIn and other such sites. Keep working on projects, keep whiteboarding and brainstorming and keep pushing your skills while collaborating with your peers. Trust us — people notice these things, and it will pay dividends for your career.
Go Beyond Fellow Engineers and Get Networking
For many people, networking may start by making connections on LinkedIn, but it shouldn’t end there. In fact, successful networking goes far beyond the computer screen. This means face-to-face events, where handshakes and warm introductions go side-by-side with drinks and appetizers. Business networking events occur on many different levels; on one hand, you have tech mixers to connect like-minded people. On the other hand, if you attend a hackathon or coding event, it will turn into a networking event. Not only do these events help get your name out, they will also sharpen your social skills for eventual interviews. Eventbrite and Meetup are great resources to find in-person events to meet fellow engineers.
Be Diligent With Applying
MakerSquare encourages our graduates to apply generously for new positions, a notable difference from other coding immersion schools. But, positions and companies must be thoughtfully selected and vetted, ensuring that the company you are applying for is a company you personally believe in. Once you submit enough applications for jobs where you fit all qualifications, the results will start to show.
But, Don’t Apply in a Vacuum
These days, it’s easy to apply for a job — just click a few links and send the application. Because of that, managers are seeing a deluge of resumes. What can you do to differentiate yourself? Do some research and custom tailor your cover letter to the company you are applying. They don’t want to just hear why you have the skills for the job, they want to see that you are excited about their work and will bring improvements to the table. Stay top-of-mind with potential employers by following up within three to five days after applying. Ask potential employers for feedback, as it will help you discover what you need to refine or improve.
Remember, This Is YOUR Job Market
As a coding school graduate, you have positioned yourself to succeed today and tomorrow. With cloud apps, smartphone apps, the IoT and other emerging technology, the coding job market is rapidly growing — and by 2020, nearly one million coding jobs will be unfulfilled, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means that the odds are in your favor, but there are no freebies in the professional world. Your coding skills are the start, but by following these tips, you will build the foundation for a lucrative and fulfilling future.
Harsh Patel has been involved in education and technology for most of his career. After graduating with a degree in biomedical engineering, he joined Teach For America and taught middle school in South Chicago. From there, Harsh co-founded Portfoliyo, a web-software service that enables teachers to communicate with students and parents over text messaging. After participating in a coding bootcamp in New York City, Harsh founded MakerSquare in January 2013. MakerSquare has locations in Austin, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
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