How to Get Started as a Software Engineer

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If you’re just starting out as a software engineer, the job search process can seem daunting. But by finding the right information, you can streamline the process and land your first job. We’ll break down the basics of where to look for software engineer jobs, the best job sites for software engineers, and overall, how to get started as a software engineer.

Why Work in Software Engineering?

Software engineers have continued to grow in demand, and it makes a great career choice for those just starting out as well as those looking to make a change. It’s an industry that offers a lot of options. 

High salaries are another reason many choose to become software engineers. Even those who are just entering the field receive substantial compensation.

For many, though, career satisfaction is a major reason they choose to work in software engineering. Building software and web applications that people use every day, encountering new tasks and challenges, and solving problems, all feel productive and worthwhile for many people.

Software engineering also offers substantial job growth, and there are many positions available across industries. You can always find somewhere to improve your skills and explore new professional pathways.

Where Are the Jobs for Software Engineers?

Jobs for software engineers are available across many different sectors and industries. For most businesses, having at least one person on staff who understands the ins and outs of coding and software engineering is vital. This makes software engineering a great option for those who value job security.

How can you figure out where to look for software engineer jobs? When you’re trying to figure out where to apply for software engineer jobs, keep in mind that there are many businesses outside the tech industry that employ software engineers.

Businesses in healthcare, retail, transportation, banking, finance, and the government all seek out bright individuals to work in software or program development.

Healthcare

Healthcare organizations rely on systems that facilitate patient care and keep track of important records and information. These institutions often employ software engineers to design, build, and maintain core applications.

This might be a rewarding career path for anyone who feels dedicated to making sure hospitals and other healthcare institutions provide the best care possible to their patients. Those who apply for software engineer jobs in healthcare need to be adept at data management and providing support for electronic records systems.

Retail

From digital storefronts to payment software, retail organizations rely heavily on software engineering for the success of a variety of services. Having a customer-oriented mindset when it comes to software engineering may be an asset to engineers working in this industry as they set out to build compelling and functional software.

Transportation

Improvements in data management, logistics, and communications have all served to radically transform the transportation industry. Mobility sending, radars, and other performance management technologies are working together with software and AI to create the next generation of transportation infrastructure.

Software engineers can take advantage of these advancements by slipping in and working on systems related to traffic monitoring, planning, and network flows.

Banking and Finance

For financial institutions, the ability to automate common tasks and reinforce management practices is essential for both saving money and protecting assets. As such, software engineering is becoming a vital field for drafting solutions to common problems in the financial industry.

Creating online banking systems that are both secure and fully functional can be a complicated task, but creative software engineers are problem solvers, and so there’s a place for them here at this intersection of finance and coding.

Defense

The government invests heavily in defense, making it a reliable field for up-and-coming software engineers who might be interested in the industry. Defense contractors must be able to work on teams, iterate their ideas quickly, and create detailed documentation related to ongoing projects.

Defense jobs often include basic benefits and education coverage for maintaining necessary certifications. In some cases, they may have more specific or industry-related requirements.

Private vs. Government Software Engineering Jobs

Individuals working government jobs for software engineers may be employed at the local, state, or federal level to perform important tasks or functions. It may include anything from upkeep and network maintenance to developing new software or programs.

Government jobs for software engineers may require specialized training and certification to ensure vulnerable information is kept safe. Most government agencies require contractors to have a higher education or skill set, so this is not often a budding software engineer’s first job. It’s certainly, however, something you could work toward. 

Best Job Sites for Software Engineers

Finding a job as a software engineer can be a time-consuming process, but you can help it along by knowing the best places to look. Some job sites and job boards are better than others for certain types of work, so if you’re looking for a software engineering job, it’s a good idea to curate a list of the best job sites for software engineers.

Some out there are even specifically dedicated to jobs in a certain industry or in a certain sector. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them. 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the most popular job boards for both companies scouting for new talent as well as those looking for open positions. It can be a great option for prospective software engineers, but it’s crucial to make sure your profile is complete before applying to jobs.

App Academy’s career coaches provide students with training on how to build a compelling online presence to help increase their visibility with employers.

Otta

Otta is a job-matching site that matches employees with the latest positions in software engineering and tech. It takes a granular approach to filtering, allowing its users to get matched with the best companies.

Otta partners with the highest rated companies and industry-leading businesses, making finding a job easier and faster, and also giving you a foundation for the research you might do about any prospective employer.

Google Jobs

Google Jobs makes it easy for candidates to match their resumes with open positions while offering location-based services for finding opportunities in your area, or wherever you’d like to work.

Google Jobs also allows its users to search by various criteria, including titles, locations, dates posted, and position requirements. This makes finding a job that’s right for you much simpler than a typical web search.

Direct Messaging

While job boards and company career pages are a great way for candidates to find new positions, don’t forget about the possibility of messaging recruiters directly. This is an approach that can really help a new software engineer get their foot in the door.

Direct messaging helps you establish a rapport with a recruiter, and even if a certain position isn’t right for you, they might think of you when something else opens up. It can help personalize the application process and build better connections with employers.

Software Engineering Job Application Tips

Once you’ve found some jobs that match your interests and criteria, and you’re getting ready to apply, you want to make sure you put together a stellar application, giving prospective employers an idea of who you are and what you’re capable of.

Have Clear Goals

When applying for a software engineering job, understand that employers are often looking for candidates with a clear path in mind. They might have an idea of the type of person they want to fill the position and what that person should accomplish, but they want to hear that you’ve been thinking about those things, too.

Be able to articulate your motivation for becoming a software engineer and applying to this specific job position at this specific company. Explain your goals and how you hope to accomplish them in this role.

Use All Available Channels

Take advantage of all the different places you might find an exciting opportunity. Scroll through job boards, browse social media, and reach out to recruiters. Also consider posting in related forums if you have questions about a specific position or company, since you might end up with some insider information.

Prepare for Assessments

When it comes to the software engineering interview process, you’ll want to be prepared for a number of rounds and some technical assessments. Employers want to make sure you have the skills that will be necessary for what they need from the position. They’ll include technical assessments in the interview process to test your comprehension and skill execution. Be aware and prepared, and view them as an opportunity to learn and continue to grow. 

Understand Key Topics

A good way to make sure you’re prepared for assessments is to check your understanding of key concepts within the field of software engineering. You should know basic scripting and programming languages, demonstrate understanding of data management and source control, and be able to use various industry conventions.

Send a Follow-Up

Interviewers and employers will appreciate timely follow-ups after an interview to demonstrate your interest in the position and your willingness to communicate. Let them know that you appreciate the time they took to speak with you and anything else you gained from the experience.

Kickstart Your Career with App Academy

App Academy teaches you everything you need to know to have a successful career in software engineering. From the start of the admissions process to the job search after graduation, we work with you to make sure you’ve mastered these new skills and know how to demonstrate them to prospective employers.

Learn more about our programs and career services to get started today.

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Written by Dev App Academy

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