Career Advice for Software Engineers: Evolve
The job market for software engineers is typically strong, even when the rest of the market is down. Competition is intense for the best positions. As a recruiter placing software engineers, I find that the difference between the people making large advancements in their career and everyone else is their ability to evolve with the market.
Software engineers and other technologists need to move with the market as it moves. For example, consider the plight of C++ Windows developers. These were good positions, and there were lots of them, not so long ago. Now? Gone. Consider these three steps to help you evolve with the market.
1. Identify a piece of technology that really excites you. Passion for your work is vital. It will keep you motivated and help you shine in interviews. People can tell right away when you lack passion for your work.
2. Find a way to stay connected to the cutting edge. Software engineers know what’s hot and what’s not. Perhaps your job provides great compensation and a short commute but doesn’t put you on the cutting edge. The key is to recognize this and seek ways to develop new skills in emerging markets and technology. For example, find a research or side project that keep you plugged in.
3. Develop an online public software portfolio. Employers want to see your work! Build this resource now and keep it up to date. Otherwise, it won’t be there for you when you need it during a job search.
The demand for software engineers is constant, but the skill sets needed by the market are evolving. Assess your skills and job situation to make sure that your work and interests intersect with technology that is complex, marketable, exciting, and popular.