How to Get a Programming Job in Six Steps
Are you looking for a programming job and need some tips on how to make it easier to get it? If that is correct, then this post will be valuable to you.
It shows various steps you can take to effectively prepare for the job and make your application irresistible for employers to reject.
6 Steps to Easily Get a Programming Job
Preparing for a programming job starts with developing the skills and qualities employers commonly require from programmers.
Knowing these qualities and developing them will certainly make your resume and application for the job more competitive.
Now, here are typical qualities employers look for in those seeking programming jobs:
- Education and Training: Many computer programmers earn a bachelor’s degree in information technology and computer science coursework, while some have associate’s degree in computer-related courses.
Also, a few individuals come into the programming career with high school diploma and considerable amount of programming work experience.
Programmers can also earn certifications from product vendors or software companies to show some competence in diverse computer languages or programming.
- Passion: Having passion for programming will help you stay longer in the job. Those who claim to be programmers but are actually there for the money and not for the work, will most likely give up easily when the going gets tough.
- Excellent Communication Skills: Communication is a way to express an idea precisely and efficiently. You are communicating when you make sounds, pictures, or demonstrate with the hand. Programmers who cannot easily understand what others are saying will always not be successful at the end of the day.
- Attention to detail: Programmers need to pay close attention to detail in order to be more productive. Every little thing has to be given great attention so that they can achieve more in their profession.
- Teamwork Skills: Programmers should develop the ability to work well with others while pursuing a common goal. They should be able to learn about teams and how to work successfully with teams in order to achieve a desirable aim. Learn to always remain a team player even when you have finally landed the job.
- Customer Service: Programmers need to know who their customers really are. Customer service skills help programmers to get familiar with the needs and expectations of their customers. The skills also support them to attain success to a greater height.
- Leadership Skills: Programmers need to have strong sense of self-confidence in pursuing the goals of the company they work for. When they motivate and inspire the junior staff, they are laying a solid foundation for teamwork.
- Flexibility: Programmers need the ability to react quickly to changes in the company where they work. Employers need those who can change gears and adapt to sudden change in situations.
- Problem-Solving Skills: Employers are looking for motivated and inspired individuals who can confront challenges with or without supervision. Such people will not see when something goes wrong and refuse to react.
- Loyalty: Companies are looking for employees they can trust to work professionally to meet their best interests. Employers don’t want to hire people who cannot be trusted enough to stand for the company in public places.
2. Find a Programmer Job
Programmers need to create a web-based portfolio of their programming projects for sharing with employers and networking companies. This will help them a lot in their job-finding adventure.
Places where you worked as an intern or even a service employee will also be another source for finding a programming job. Ask for introductions to popular computer professionals who can possibly offer you jobs.
Reach out to friends, family and Facebook contacts and ask for referrals to companies they know. Come close to these contacts to arrange meetings to get some response about your portfolio and advice about your job search.
Make use of specialized IT websites like Dice as well as online job sites to generate a list of job leads by using keywords like “programmers” or “computer programmer” and by your most loved computer languages to widen your list of job targets.
You can further find programming jobs by generating a list of your best IT employers and visiting their job websites. When you get to their sites you apply for jobs. You can generate ideas by reviewing lists like Forbes “Best Companies to Work For”.
For employment in your preferred locations, you can visit IT job fairs like UNCUBED that focuses on jobs at startups.
Check with your career office for job listings and recruiting opportunities if you are a college student or graduate.
3. Apply for the Job
Don’t depend wholly on one source when you are applying for programming jobs. Choose the top three websites for job searching and apply directly on the company’s website at the Careers/Hiring section.
The number one advantage of applying directly to companies is that you will receive an invitation to come to an interview faster, instead of applying through a job search platform.
You should make an impressive resume that projects your competence as a programmer. Write about what you are doing at FreeCodeCamp to give the employer some details.
Programming-related activity and online programming courses you have taken will catch the attention of the prospective employer.
“What do you do at Free Code Camp?” is one of the questions asked at almost every programming interview.
You should have at least 3 basic projects in your portfolio you can prove in an interview. Free Code Camp has basic front-end projects you can use as ideas for projects and code-pen for building them.
Need help in writing a resume? If yes, then check here: What makes a good resume.
4. Prepare for Pre-employment Assessment Tests
The recruitment process for the programming job may involve taking an assessment test so you need to prepare for it.
Administrators who give pre-employment test assume that you have no background information about it and that you will give the most sincere answers.
They want to use the tests to assess the skills of the candidates and specific personal and professional characteristics compulsory for the job role.
You need to practice with sample personality assessments before the real test to help you get a bit acquainted with the questions. You will witness the positive and solid effect this will have on your candidacy for the position.
The tests are broken into four segments, namely: Skills assessment tests, job knowledge tests, personality tests, and aptitude tests.
If you can possibly call the recruiter a few days before the interview date and enquire about the kind of pre-employment tests they will employ, this will help you to prepare for specific and related questions about the type of tests you will meet.
When you receive a call from the recruiter to appear for a test, try not to be anxious and worried because they want to determine whether you will fit for the job role you applied for.
Count the tests as part of several other things the recruiters will consider before offering you the position. They will decide on interviews, CV, references, and more.
If you really want to score well in the test, you need to practice regularly – whether it is mechanical or technical, or to assess your decision-making skills or presence of mind. Practice helps you to answer your test confidently and in the shortest possible time.
Pre-employment tests may be taken either online or on site. Therefore, you should keep track of time before the test starts to avoid rushing things. Don’t keep any important meetings prior to your test so that your mind stays free of other issues.
If you are to attend the test on site, ensure that you reach the test venue thirty minutes before time for you to have time to relax.
Make sure you read the instructions carefully to find out some hints about what approach to use to solve the questions given. You also need to dedicate certain amount of time to each question and divide your time to help cover all the questions offered in the test.
Don’t waste too much time on a specific question, but you should move on to the next one and return to it later when you must have been through with the harder ones.
It is not good to cheat during the test because this may disqualify you or leave a negative impression on the company.
Just be honest and try to be the best you can all through the test. And finally, cross check your answers once you are done with them by going back to previous questions before submitting your answer sheet.
This will help you recognize careless errors you have made during the test and offer you an opportunity to make corrections as quickly as possible.
Learn about pre-employment tests and how to prepare for it: job test
5. Prepare for Interviews – Major Important Programming Interview Questions and Answers
It is very important that you prepare ahead of your interviews by studying the questions you are likely to be asked.
You can look for someone who is close to you and ask for his/her help to throw possible interview questions on you so you can be in the position of answering as if you were in front of an interviewer.
You can also think of getting a camera and recording yourself doing an interview. After recording you play it back to watch to see what you look and sound like.
Programmer Interview Questions and Answers
Below are questions you will possibly meet at a programming job interview:
- Tell us about your current position: This question is demanding an answer around what you are currently doing. The employer is not interested in what you did years back because the world of software development moves rapidly that what you did years back has little effect on their current work. The employer is trying to relate what you currently do to the position they are offering you.
- What is your experience level with XYZ? Questions about your experience level with a technology should be answered by explaining what you have been doing with it and not how long you have been doing it. Highlight the types of challenges you overcame with those technologies and the unique aspects of the technologies you used to solve problems during challenges.
- What is your biggest strength? The best way to answer this question is to pick the most relevant strengths of your job with a specific example for each so that the interviewer can see exactly how your strength proves itself at the place of work.
- Do you have samples of your work? You may not be carrying your portfolio about but when asked this question, what to do is grab an open source project or work on an application at home that is sophisticated enough to let out your skills. With something you can show the interviewer, you will be able to demonstrate an ability to work on your own and manage your own time.
- What is your biggest weakness? In this case you have to select a weakness that is irrelevant to the job so that it will not look like an inability to perform effectively. Give a specific example to explain better so that the interviewer will not imagine how nasty the weakness might be.
- Why do you want this job? The employer wants to be really sure that you want to do the job. Make your answer genuine and interesting for why you want this job. Give them enough tangible reasons so they will be convinced you are really out for the job.
- Why did you quit your previous job? Trace your answer to why you left other jobs and made the career choices you made. The employer wants to know what lured you to your recent job and away from diverse opportunities. The question is straight so you need to give a straight answer too.
- What do you know about our company? If your interest for searching for a job is genuine you will know about the company that wants to hire you and its industry. Visit the company’s website to get information, and pick as many things that will help you convince the interviewer how much you know about their company as you can.
- What else are you looking for? You may have applied at many companies but keep this to yourself and make the interviewer to know that you have eyes only for any role they have for you that matches your qualifications and nothing else.
- What questions do you have for us? This kind of question paves a way to learn more about the company and the role. It is good to prepare reasonable questions in advance so that the interviewer will know you are interested and curious.
6. Follow up
It is important to follow up your job interviews by composing a thank-you email immediately after the interview. You will reemphasize vividly in the email your enthusiasm for the job and why you think it is a good fit. Declare your gratitude for the interview opportunity given you.
A lot of interviewees refrain from following up for fear of annoying the interviewer, but they don’t know that it is better to be irritating and persistent than to be forgotten.
Follow up with up to 10 emails before you can relent, if not, keep trying until you get what you want.
As soon as the interview is over, it is better to send a thank you email within 24 to 48 hours and follow up again in about one week.
Keep your email short so that the employer can easily skim it and understand your purpose. Briefly remind the employer why you are an excellent fit for the position. You can further share any new information like new achievement at work.
Make the email look professional and thoroughly edited, and read through the email before sending it. You might seek a third party to help you read it over.
If you are looking for a programming job, you will need to prepare adequately for it so that your application can stand out, and for you to be successful at the interview.
This post provides valuable information to help increase your chances of getting the programming job that you desire.
Did you find this article helpful in improving your chances of getting a job as a programmer? Please, leave your comment in the box below. Do also share how you got your current programming job if you work in that role.