The IT industry is on the rise and provides more jobs than ever before. The salaries are higher than average, the working conditions in large offices are excellent. Many places offer remote work for introverted developers, especially after the COVID-19. These upsides come at the price of high competition and demanding job conditions.
Under such circumstances, it is crucial to start getting work experience early on. If you have not yet graduated from college, look for a part-time job or a paid internship. These usually make it easier to land an actual job and look good on the resume.
If you have time during holidays – take on some open-source projects or try to build something on your own. A good GitHub profile makes your CV look compelling, especially if there are repeating commits to one project over a long time. Take a summer to work on a project that uses a modern framework that is widespread in the industry. It may not be the one your employer needs, but it proves you can learn and know the basics.
There are many fields within the IT sector. The back-end and front-end development, AI, hardware drivers, to name a few. To secure a job, you first need to limit the options. We recommend choosing no more than two to three fields and corresponding positions. A candidate needs to be skilled in their field and know the fundamentals. For example, developers have to know POST/GET queries. They also need to understand the differences between them. A C++ developer must understand what heap and stack memory are.
While writing A CV, make sure to go through textbooks and manuals to remember the necessary material. Nowadays, HR people rarely conduct formal interviews on their own. You will talk to another programmer, and they will ask about the underlying principles.
Make sure to add a good photo. If you have some money to spare, have it done by a professional photographer and keep the files for later use. The first impression is important, and you don’t get to make it by showing up at the interview. The first impression in the 21st century is made by the photo on your resume and profile picture on social media. Make sure to google your name and scroll through accounts from the incognito window. An employer usually does it before inviting a candidate. Check for potential compromising material, like old tweets and edgy posts from teenage years. Sometimes this can be a difference between getting a call and being ignored.
After you sum up the information, it is time to format your CV. There are many guides online on this matter, and we leave the reader to do their research. The only advice we would give: do not rely heavily on templates! An experienced HR will recognize one, and the document will look like lazy work in their eyes. If possible, try typesetting the document, especially if TeX is mentioned in the “skills” section.
Now post your CV on the hiring platform. We recommend using just one, as most employers post their applications on multiple platforms anyway. And tracking applications in one place is far easier for you. Now start sending applications to employers whose offers you consider compelling. Meanwhile, start preparing for future interviews.
To prepare for interviews, outline and rehearse answers to the most typical questions. Tell us about yourself, your strengths, work experience, hobbies, education. Coming up with concise answers is difficult under the pressure of an interview, so make sure there is a plan.
Currently, the interviews tend to take multiple stages. The larger the company, the more levels a candidate goes through. The first one is usually a phone interview, where you’ll be asked some fundamental questions. Questions about your work experience and expectations are also typical. It is crucial to take some notes during this stage: if the employer invites you to the next stage, they will come in handy. Set aside a few hours after the call and do the homework, i.e. read up on all the questions you failed to answer. Employers expect you to do that, and candidates unable to answer the same questions twice in a row rarely make it.
The next stages usually follow the same algorithm. Remember that it is important to learn the things you don’t know. Even if this employer rejects you, the next one is likely to ask the same questions.
The IT sector is highly competitive, and it is often difficult to get a job quickly. Keep in mind that every stage is a funnel with a 1:10 ratio, and it may take up to 50 applications to get hired. Make a spreadsheet to track the applications and offers, and bear with rejections and employers that ignore you. Remember, you only need one application to be successful.