Software development is one of the most exciting careers. Software developers have the opportunity to create cool tech that can change the way people live. The computer technology world is growing fast and knowing how to code offers them the chance to get their dream job.
However, before landing their dream position they need to get their first job, and as a student it may prove difficult. The job-hunting process is one of the most stressful things they’ll ever do and they’ll wish to have researched more to find out how to secure their first job.
They may think that applying online is the best way to get their dream job. Sometimes it’s an effective strategy, but as a student, they should also check the other options. Here is a guide for educational organisations on how to help students get their first software development job.
Teach them to make portfolios for their projects
They should create portfolios that show employers their progress as a software engineer. This means that they should make portfolios for their most-successful projects. If they want to apply for a job that requires React, they should have in their portfolio a React app. You’re a school manager, so you have plenty of experience guiding students to make portfolios. You should help them identify the projects that can prove to possible employers that they master some skills. When they describe the project to interviewers they should show them how passionate they are about the project, to convince them they are the right candidate for the job.
Teach them to describe the project, to share both its strengths and weaknesses, because employers are aware that they’re not an expert and their project isn’t perfect. Some of the interviewers will probably ask them to walk through the code with them and you should prepare them for this, to convince their possible employers they are the creators of the project.
Recommend them to create their own website and apps
Learning software basics don’t get them a job; they need to prove to prospective employers that they are the perfect candidate. Through a website or programs, they can show their skills and aptitudes. And it’s great to exercise their skills before getting a real job because it will help them identify their strengths and weaknesses.
Websites and apps are a way to generate revenue as long as they are well-designed and they deliver a solution to users’ problems. More and more software development students create websites and apps to practise their skills. If they manage to create a product the public is interested in and they have entrepreneurial skills, they don’t even need a job during their college years because the income they get from monetising their programs is enough to cover their expenses.
Running their website or creating their app can be their first job if they convince people to buy from them. Apps are great at search nowadays, and by delivering something people need, students earn money from selling the app itself or some of its features. In addition, they show employers they are an essential addition to their team because they have both engineering and managerial skills.
Find them open-source projects they can contribute to
All companies are looking for people who have experience in the industry and, during their college years, a great way to get it is to take part in volunteering projects. Another idea is to contribute to open source software code. It’s simple to find your students an open source project because you can find them online. Teach them to check online what other programmers have done, and then to modify or contribute to certain parts of the code they think they can improve.
This activity allows students to improve their skills and to add something interesting to their portfolio. And it also offers them the possibility to create a network which can later help them land their dream job. You know people passionate about software engineering and it’ll definitely prove beneficial for their career to put them in touch with people you know.
Help them take part in a hackathon
It may sound strange and illegal but it isn’t especially during the college years. Hackathons are popular events among software development students because they allow them to show off their skills by taking part in coding competitions. Companies looking to hire keep an eye on these events to identify talented students, and often they offer internship and even jobs to the most remarkable attendants.
These events not only that offer students the possibility to show their skills but also allow them to create a network and to connect with people who share the same interests. If you want to help them land their first job at a top software development company these events can help them connect with recruiters because many of them sponsor or even host these competitions.
Explore together other ways of getting a job
The best strategy to get a job in the software engineering industry highly depends on the size of the company students want to work for. If they want to start with a small company, then you should focus on LinkedIn and try in-person networking because as the school manager you definitely have more connections in this domain than your students do. But if they want to land a job in a well-known company, then you should attend career fairs, use referrals and search for open positions on Facebook and Google.
For example, if you choose LinkedIn you have to look for job openings in the location where your students want to work. It’s simple – you only need to write down the name of the profession “software developer”, and then choose the location. You can sort the results according to their relevance. Considering that companies use LinkedIn to create a brand image, you can use the platform to find more about the company that lists the job before recommending your pupils to apply for it.
LinkedIn also offers students the opportunity to connect with recruiters. You should search for recruiters in the software engineering industry and recommend to your students to add them to their network. Once you find two or three recruiters from the company they want to work, you can write some messages and send them, to tell them why your students are a good fit for the company they hire.
These are only some ways to help your students land their first job – use your imagination to guide their steps.