Before setting out to get a job in tech, it’s important to note the difference between having technical skills and actually being ready to contribute on a tech team. Knowing how to code means you know how to write a program; being a software engineer at a tech company, on the other hand, means that in addition to having your coding skills down, you know how to communicate, collaborate with others, effectively learn new skills, and become part of the technical community.
Especially as you start your career in tech, it’s those skills – more than your technical chops – that make you truly employable. Here at Flatiron School, we’ve seen students who exhibit a ton of passion, positivity, and a hunger to learn earn job offers over students who mastered the technical curriculum faster.
1. Learn to communicate across technical boundaries:
These skills are especially important when you’re working on a team of developers or need to present your work to non-technical people within your company. To build these skills, we require Flatiron students to maintain active technical blogs. Blogging is a way to show companies that you’re adept at teaching yourself, and that you can show your thought process and communicate technical ideas clearly. Presenting at meetups is another great way to improve your communication skills while contributing to the tech community.
2. Learn to work as part of a team:
Sure, programming involves some solitary time in front of the computer, but as a software engineer, you’ll spend plenty of time collaborating with other engineers. You can take immediate steps to get experience in this department: Go to meetups, find other aspiring developers, and start building things together.
3. Learn how to learn:
When students learn a programming language at Flatiron School, our aim isn’t just for them to learn that specific language – it’s to teach them how to think, how to break problems down and abstract ideas. These skills are assets as they continue to learn new languages and concepts on the job. So as you learn, be inquisitive. Ask questions and work on increasingly complex applications. Have the drive to go deeper into a concept before moving on, and don’t be afraid of concepts you don’t know. Use Google, lean on your peers, utilize resources you find online and people you meet at meetups to keep expanding your knowledge. Teach yourself how to do something you can’t currently do – there’s no better way to become a hirable software engineer.
These aren’t easy skills to learn, and we know how difficult it can be to stay positive and keep moving when you’re in the midst of a job-search. Exhibiting positivity and a passion for tech will not only help you stay motivated – it truly will help you present yourself you as the kind of candidate a company wants to work with.
This post is the first chapter in Flatiron School’s new eBook “How to Be a No-Brainer Tech Hire: Job Search Advice from the Experts at Flatiron School.” Download the full eBook below for more job search tactics straight from the career services team behind Flatiron’s 98.5% student employment rate and explore their student outcomes here.