Published on

Tips for finding yourself a good software job

1035 words • 6 min read

Here are a few tips for a better career in software engineering. Read this if you are currently a student and are looking forward to a career related to computers. I learnt these things over the course of my college years, mostly from first hand experience and advise and inspiration from others.

Tip #1
Work on side projects to showcase your skills

I was inspired to start working on my own side projects after seeing the work done by people like Linus Lee and Sam Jajoo. I wanted to build myself a gallery of side projects which I can showcase in my profile. Inspired by this I started going through the Twitter profiles of such makers as part of my "research" and I stumbled upon Deta. I decided to use Deta as the database for my project as I was learning Node.js at this point and found the code to set up Deta much simpler than alternatives like MongoDB. I also hopped on their Slack channel and started talking with Mustafa and Max from the Deta team.

Working with Deta and interacting with the devs had a direct impact on my career. You can never expect the amount of exposure you might end up getting just by talking to people over the internet. If you are a beginner no question is stupid and you can learn from literally everyone else. It is highly likely that you will get instant, straightforward answers to all the doubts you can possibly have. As you keep on working on smaller projects, you will learn a lot and start getting more ideas. Ultimately your work will speak for itself.

Tip #2
Write and share blogs about the projects you do

After I finished working on quarantineresu.me, my first side project where you could create and share a resume of all the things you did during the Covid-19 lockdown, I wrote a blog post on Medium about how I used Deta to quickly set up my project. I sent this blog to Mustafa and he was really impressed by it. Later I was offered a role as an intern at Deta thanks to my work. My job at Deta involved creating such small projects, incorporating Deta's products in them and documenting my process in the form of tutorials and such in order to get more people into the Deta community.

Do meaningful work and showcase it. Don't feel shy to share your blog post to everyone in your contact list and asking them personally for their feedback. If you are someone with a large enough following in your social media profiles then leverage it. Share your works in LinkedIn. Tweet about what you do. Make YouTube videos if possible. You'll gain a lot of related skills in the process and also increase your chances of being found by a potential employee.

Tip #3
Create and update your resume

Keep your resume updated at all times with all the work that you do even if you are not actively searching for jobs. This helps in a few different ways. You will always have a resume ready if something comes up. Atleast you will have something to start with and will not need to go searching for resume templates to start fresh. Also it will help to keep yourself on track with everything that you do. You can also take a look at your resume from time to time to see how far you've come since you started.

While creating a resume you need not do anything particularly fancy. I myself have only used templates from Google Docs to create my resume with which I applied for jobs. Its best if you can keep everything in a single page. This is preferred because of multiple reasons. Imagine you are in a video call with a potential employer for an interview and are asked to share your resume. If its only a single page, you can share the entire resume and will not have to scroll back and forth for the employer to read everything. You can also change your resume here and there to match the job you are applying for. For ex: Highlighting only your React projects when applying for a React dev role, Describing in more detail about the backend of your project when applying for a backend role and so on.

Tip #4
Help others

You will realise that as you keep on working, your network naturally increases. You might even meet new people everyday. Build your network and maintain it. Help the fellow humans in your life whenever possible. This might be sharing a resource or an opportunity that you think someone might like or recommending them for a position or even just checking up on them from time to time. You never know the influence your words and well wishes can have on someone. At the very least, realise that everyone is going through their own shit and be kind.

You will understand that this is a big deal if you have already been working with software for some time. Learning software development (or anything for that matter) is not always a bed of roses. You will have days where your code doesn't work. You will spend days trying to study some concept and still find yourself unable to grasp it. You will feel stupid for not understanding something. You will feel even more stupid when you finally understand something you weren't able to. The secret is to keep at it and not be discouraged. Everyone who is good with computers would have gone through all this at some point. No one is born smart enough to get everything at their first try. Now imagine how you might feel refreshed to try again if someone checked up on you when you are stuck with something. Be kind.