What to Know About Working in Today’s Software Engineering Job Market
Significant tech layoffs have made major headlines in 2023, leading emerging software developers to question the future of the industry. Are computer programming jobs vanishing? Is software engineering still a viable pathway for tech-savvy individuals?
Let’s take an honest look at the current state of the industry and explore how new coders can make a name for themselves in today’s market.
The True State of the Software Engineering Industry
You have to peer past the headlines to truly understand what’s happening in the software engineering industry.
The pandemic prompted a spate of speculative hiring, particularly among SaaS (software as a service) companies whose teams shifted almost entirely to remote work from home. Zoom, Google, Netflix, Facebook: large, established SaaS brands and small companies alike scrambled to manage the workforce under unprecedented circumstances.
The aggressive hiring of 2020 proved unsustainable as offices reopened and markets regained a semblance of normalcy. The latest job cuts are a natural correction to the pandemic years’ overhiring, leaving today’s technology market tighter and more competitive.
The latest job cuts are a natural correction to the pandemic years’ overhiring, leaving today’s technology market tighter and more competitive.
Still, businesses count a net increase in technology team members from 2020 to today, and software engineering opportunities remain abundant amidst bullish growth projections. In particular, midsize companies and scale-ups are still hungry for top developer talent!
The Key to Getting Your Ideal Software Engineering Job
More than ever, prospective employees must think like marketers. Much like a company markets its products and services, developers must market their skills and values, proving how they’ll contribute to the growth and strength of the business.
Don’t rely on a single differentiator to make your resume stand out among multiple applicants. For instance, while you may have attended a distinctive program, a bootcamp grad is a bootcamp grad to a hiring manager.
So what specifically sets you apart? What rare abilities do you bring to the table? What gifts have you cultivated? What recognition have you received?
With fewer software engineering opportunities available, you should approach every opportunity with purpose and intention so that you nail the screening and interview processes.
Target your dream job
The “apply everywhere and hope for the best” approach is a recipe for unemployment. Every resume and portfolio you submit should be tailored to the job requirements outlaid by that particular company.
The “apply everywhere and hope for the best” approach is a recipe for unemployment.
Take your time to fully comprehend each job’s requirements and each company’s product, then modify your application materials to demonstrate what makes you the right candidate. A few areas to lean heavily into include:
- Your proficiency in AI and machine learning
- The metacognitive skills you’ve mastered
- Abilities that fall outside the standard expectations
One of the best moves you can make is to deploy one of your recent software engineering projects on Amazon Web Services. This live demonstration of your DevOps capabilities will help you stand out for any role requiring that skill set.
Leverage the screening call
Prepare to discuss more than your skills during the screening process. Companies are also looking for team members who will enhance the company’s culture—its collective goals and values. Use the screening experience to learn about the screener, the company, your prospective team, and the role you’re seeking.
Use the screening experience to learn about the screener, the company, your prospective team, and the role you’re seeking.
The screener has the potential to be your number one advocate within the organization, and establishing rapport with them is your first step toward earning a full interview. If you’ve done your research, you’ll be equipped to ask relevant questions that will better prepare you for the interview.
Begin to mirror the screener’s vocabulary and align yourself with the company’s vibe. This approach will be especially helpful when it comes to your interview attire. If you’re hoping to join a team that works in shorts and sandals, you don’t need to show up in formal business attire for your in-person interview. If you’re unsure what to wear, don’t hesitate to ask about the company’s dress code.
It’s also smart to inquire about the interview process. Find out who you’ll meet, which roles they fill, and what you should prepare to share. When you know what the software engineering interview entails, you can study and prepare accordingly.
Own the interview
When you’re invited for an interview, implement everything you learned during the screening conversation. Make no mistake: during the interview phase, your portfolio is the critical differentiator.
Since some of your interviewers may work outside of IT, don’t rely solely on a GitHub portfolio. Your interviewers will want to see your UI (user interface) abilities in functional, deployable demos that showcase the broad spectrum of your talent.
Develop your portfolio for diverse interviewers with varied backgrounds. If you can prove your skill set to software engineering professionals and uninitiated outsiders, you’ll be several steps ahead of many of your fellow applicants!
If you can prove your skill set to software engineering professionals and uninitiated outsiders, you’ll be several steps ahead of many of your fellow applicants!
Ensure your portfolio is easily navigable with a brief guide to utilizing the software or a sample user account with a pre-filled email and password. Friction-reducing elements help draw attention to what you do best rather than highlighting areas that need improvement.
From Launch Academy to the Real World
Launch Academy graduates are impressively equipped to take on the real-world challenges of entry-level software developer jobs and, eventually, more advanced computer programming jobs. But to leverage the tools you’ve honed, you need to maximize every opportunity that comes your way.
Recognize that this first job is about getting your foot in the door and establishing yourself as a trustworthy, talented team player in the ever-evolving software engineering market. Once you’ve built a healthy network and solidified your reputation, you’ll find it much easier to secure your second role, then the third, and then a lifetime of exciting technology jobs.
Once you’ve built a healthy network and solidified your reputation, you’ll find it much easier to secure your second role, then the third, and then a lifetime of exciting technology jobs.
Every step of the way, Launch Academy’s Post-Grad Program will be here to help with fresh job opportunities, advancement advice, new employment support, and even communication strategies.
Launch Academy is here for all our graduates for as long as they need us.