Saturday, November 05, 2011

Kickstart your software development career

Every day we get CVs from people looking for software development jobs but the majority are just not prepared and are wasting their time. If you want to be a software developer in 2011 you should know at least two programming languages and make sure one is widely used.  I don’t want to know about the semester you did c or C++ at Uni or some other course. This does not give you enough experience. I want to know about language you used to create a project that you wrote for yourself at home that took at least 30 hours to complete. I want to see your passion and I want you to be more than a copy and paste programmer. I need to know that I can give you a problem and you can come back with a simple solution to that problem.

Know current programming languages

If you want to become a professional programmer I recommend learning one or more of the following
  • C# (Either look at being the best you can at either Web Based or Windows. Don’t try and master both to start with. I personally believe web technologies are going to give you the best future.
  • Rails
  • Mobil languages like Java and Objective C – Android, Iphone and IPad development. Mobile is going to be hot for a long time.
  • HTML 5 / CSS 3 / Javascript

Have experience

Defined: Have created a project from scratch outside of an academic environment to solve an actual problem
  • Created a web service.
  • Creating a multi-threaded application
  • Connected to a SQL Server database with a development language.
  • Created and dropped tables in a database using SQL not tools. Selected data including joining multiple tables, filtering data and ordering data with SQL. Have written a SQL function or stored procedure and used it within an application. Too many people tell me they know SQL and all they know is how to select * from table. You ask them to join to tables and they have no idea. Even a junior programmer should be able to join two tables.
  • Know the basics of security. You should know how to stop SQL injection and cross site scripting attacks. A basic knowledge of hacking will help you create more security code.
  • You might not be a designer but should have studied UX (User experience) and UI (User Interface) concepts and know how to make a screen look good and be functional.

Show me what you can do.

This may be the first job you are applying and you cannot point to examples online but it is so easier to sell yourself by demonstrating what you have created at home. Doesn’t matter what it is. Be creative and show off your skill. It could be making an electronic CV for instance. Your goal is to get attention. Another way of doing this is to work on some open source projects.

Know what you want

If you like to do a lot of different jobs then a company like New Zealand Computing Solutions is perfect because you are doing a lot of work for clients. If you prefer to work on one product then a start company like EzPSA is probably more what you are after. On the other hand if you prefer not to have to make so many decisions then a large corporate company might be more to your liking.

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