I’ve been doing more interviewing in my role lately, trying to narrow down software development candidates to add to the team. These quick tips are less technical in nature and more practical for those that are fresh out of school, or looking for their first job. They come from observations I’ve had in interviews and talking with prospective software development hires.
First things first – really understand your problem solving and crtitical thinking skills. Learn how to explain to others how you solve problems. You’ll probably be asked to explain not only how you solved a problem in an interview, but your problem solving process as well. Practice this with your friends or colleagues, make sure your process makes sense and get feedback.
Have a solid portfolio and have the projects you want to share with prospective employers on a public repo such as GitHub, Bitbucket, SourceForge, etc…
Don’t rely on projects or assignments that you’ve solely done for school to be your primary works for your portfolio. Companies are looking for developers who can build software that can add value, not school assignments. When you finish a project make sure you can effectively explain how your programs work to a “non-technical” user.
Use a resource like Fiverr to get some graphic design and UI/UX help. I list Fiverr, because it’s typically inexpensive. Your programs may function efficiently and effectively, but if they look like something from a 1998 GeoCities website, you’re probably not going to get the job. It’s the same concept as not taking a shower and showing up in dirty clothes for an interview… you just don’t want that as your first impression.
Great teams, needless to say, get stuff done exponentially faster. You’re probably going to end up working on a team of some sort and you don’t want to be the weakest link. Develop some communications, team building, and conflict resolution soft skills. If you’re at a loss on where to start. I recommend reading Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends & Influence People”.
Last but not least ask questions. Ask about who you’ll be working with, ask about what projects you’ll be working on, and ask about the management structure. A company may think your the perfect fit for them, but make sure that the company you want to join is a perfect fit for you.