What Companies Look for in Software Developers?
How could I become the best choice in an interview?
Much debated. Often invites atypical answers, none of which are truly useful for a to-be developer. The idea also stems from the mystery around what recruiter actually wants. A quick peek at glassdoor or geeksforgeeks might get you a few answers - all of which are derivative and individual specific.
To truly get a handle on what software companies want - you need to go meta and find what attributes you can have that will make you an asset for their development teams.
So, without further ado, here are a few things that you, as a developer must focus on to get ahead of the competition when it comes to getting your dream coding gig.
Logical and Structured Thinking
Can you separate optimism with practicality? Can you create a structure around your approach to solve a problem? The first buck in the interview and often the most critical. For development, the first thing the recruiter will focus on is your approach to a problem set (you know, after the intro and the questions about linked lists and git). Meddling with code and software requires a structured thought process. It can also require patience and thinking outside the box - both of which you have to take into account the delivery time.
For this point, you need to focus on creating a well-formed structure to your approach as well as establish a logical point of view to assess a problem and come up with a solution. Also, sometimes the syntax and the result can often take a backseat in an interview if your approach is correct.
Attention to Detail
Have good syntax? Great. Now learn how to structure your code to make it more manageable. It is cool when your git repo has a ton of mismanaged, unattributed code which doesn’t have comments. Not only is it okay, but it is condoned. However, when you are in an organization which has a native code of a million lines plus a dozen APIs and libraries, all with their own descriptions and utilities, your work needs to be labelled, quick and balanced.
Wouldn’t want to break the prod first day at the job, right?
Paying attention to detail will help you with your coding as well serve you well in your interview. Of course, you don’t have to focus much on the beautification in the interview, where you’ll probably be asked to write a pseudo-code.
Ability to learn on their own
Can you get by without being spoon-fed? This is often the decider element for a recruiter to consider you for the development job. Most tech companies are driven, focussed, and exist in a highly competitive sector of the industry. In that field, for a senior coder to spare time to teach you the basics would be outright improbable.
And let’s face it, post your CS course, you will find several such concepts and problem sets where you get stuck. For this particular predicament, your mindset and your problem-solving skills need to be up-to-the-mark. The senior developers and the recruiters would need to know whether you can teach yourself to get out of sticky situations and solve the problem.
Plus, if you do figure out solutions early in your career, you are bound to score some generous brownie points in your organization.
You absolutely need to be brilliant in the basics. At least for the biggest tech companies. Focus on data structures, algorithms and other computer science essentials. At the end of the day, none of the fancy webkits or frameworks will do the work for you.
Go back to the basics and hash out any learning inadequacies to strengthen your computer science basics.
In essence, know that companies are looking for smart coders, who can learn on their own and learn well, communicate well, simplify stuff and get a grip on what the business actually is all about. Once you figure all these simple things out, the company you want will make sure you learn more at their orientations.
Here some addendums you can put your mind to, once you’re done with the above -
- Strong full-stack knowledge
- Familiarity with different tech stacks
- Open-source contribution
- Coding projects
- Practical experience - internship or otherwise
At the end of the day, just remember, that if you’re coding for the sake of getting a job or finding a stable career, then the rigour and the work would probably coax to give up on your development pursuit.
However, with a sense of direction, an eagerness to learn and a mindset to enable the learning, you can fall in love with syntax, data and errors (okay, errors, maybe not so much). Also, if you’re just starting out, it will be much easier for you to incorporate some coding essentials into your learning trajectory - making better time on feasible results.
At SOAL, we do not just focus on teaching you the syntax. Our pedagogy is more holistic and comprehensive. In our Product Engineering Program, we not only redesign the student learning experience, but also encourage open-ended exploration, providing a more conducive environment for putting to use a learner’s technical as well as core skills in an authentic, real-life context.