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Jeannie Nguyen
Jeannie Nguyen

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Advice for Those Looking for Their First SWE Job

More of us than ever are looking for jobs. Many are looking for their first SWE job.

I'm hoping between all of us here on dev.to, we can provide enough advice to help even just one person land their first SWE job.

To all software engineers, how did you land your first SWE job out of college or bootcamp? What did you feel the key factors were in landing that job? What do you know now that you wish you had known while you were job hunting?

Discussion (8)

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Dmitry Shvetsov

The first job I get when I was an absolute newbie (I knew how to use Rails generators and it was enough haha). One of my friends from the previous telco job offered me to become a developer in their startup. I was the only developer in the company but It was good for beginners.

The second job, dev in a consulting PHP/Ruby shop, I got with by demonstrating my pet project. It was a Rails app to tag and rank cities (now it sound smart, lol, this app was pretty simple).

My advice is to have a good network (read be a good person and make good connections) and work on your moonlight/pet projects (read gain experience). Contributing to open source projects is a great way to connect with other devs and gain experience.

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Dana Ottaviani

Before my final year in undergrad I applied to a programmer cohort (sort of like a bootcamp but 4 months long and free) where I worked with other programmers from all different levels of experience. We had to build a product for one of the companies that was supporting the program. At the end of the program we presented our work in front of everyone. On our final day (graduation) someone reached out to me and gave me their business card. I kept in contact with the company during my senior year while applying to other jobs. I started working in that company the month after graduating from college.

There's a chance you may not like the first place you work. Especially now I can understand the urgency to land a job to get some professional experience. I'd say learn on the job but also (if your time allows it) keep learning on your own. I eventually left that company without having another lined up. I was nervous but couldn't stay there while looking for another position at the same time (job searching is a job itself). I was also feeling like an impostor because I wasn't getting any time to code outside of my job that I needed to get back into doing it on my own in order to feel comfortable with my skill level and realize what I needed to work on.

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John Espinosa

During technical interviews, don't try to bullshit your way through a question you don't know the answer to. It's not making you look good. Obviously, try to know the answers to questions you are most likely going to get asked.

But when you truly don't know. Be honest and just say
"Hmmm, I never thought about that" or
"I'm not quite sure" and follow up with
"I don't know, but I'm curious now!"

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Sleepless Yogi

Some of my resume building tips

  • Make it user-friendly - readable
  • Choose font and font colors that will make it easy to skim through
  • I am interested in which technologies have you worked on
  • I am interested in WHAT YOU did on the projects you worked on
  • Linkedin is your friend!
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Ben Halpern
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Arit Amana

My latest youtube video is on this very topic! πŸ˜„

youtu.be/rc5AyncB_Xw

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Boris K

Sorry, but what does SWE mean?

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Nora Del Rosario

SWE stands for Software Engineer. Hope that helps!