The tech industry is known to pay well, but there is a pretty wide range in salary within the industry. Many people are happy to have a job they enjoy and work with people they like, while others would prefer to maximize their earning potential. If the latter sounds like you, you may be curious about how to land a job with a big-name tech company or well-funded start-up.
Earn Your Degree
Computer programming jobs do not always require a college degree. The emphasis on the ability to code, and the fact that this skill is tested during the interview process, means that a solid programmer without a degree can find employment. While this is true, if you are targeting a prestigious company, you need to do everything possible to stand out.
Many job applicants will have their degrees. With the stiff competition for these jobs, you want to do everything possible to put yourself on equal footing. Don’t let the cost of college hold you back. Private student loans allow you to borrow the money you need to pay for your degree. After graduation, you will be in a great position to land a high paying job.
Have a Project to Discuss
Developing a project, such as a simple web app, is a great way to make yourself stand out during the job interview. It gives you something to talk about with the interview team, and you can explain the thought process that went into your programming decisions. The project doesn’t have to be complicated, a simple app that you designed from end to end allows you to showcase your skill.
Strengthen Your Interview & Communication Skills
Interviewing is part of any job search process, and it can be nerve-wracking. Expect to go through several rounds of them before landing a job at one of these prestigious companies. During one of those interviews, you will probably be asked to do some coding. Coding on the fly, in front of others, is stressful.
No matter how comfortable and confident you are in your skill, you will probably find this challenging. The good news is, like with anything else, you will get better with practice. There are online coding challenges that allow you to practice solving problems quickly and effectively. These are beneficial and can give you confidence when you have to do something similar in an interview.
You need to be able to do more than write solid code to work at one of these companies. Many people that are drawn to programming do not have solid communication skills. One way you can stand out from the crowd is to work on your soft skills, such as communication.
When you are working on a project, you need to be comfortable talking about the goals, timelines, and expectations, as well as listening to questions and concerns. Strong programming skills will not make up for lackluster communication skills.
Plan on Rejections
Programmers with solid skills should have no trouble finding employment, but finding a job at one of the attractive tech companies that offer the highest levels of compensation and most attractive benefits takes a combination of talent and luck.
No matter how well prepared you are, you should not expect to land a job immediately. The key is to move on quickly from each rejection and keep applying for jobs. Don’t let imposter syndrome or frustration create roadblocks for you. Rejections are all a part of the process.
The good news is that interviewing skills can be learned and refined, so each rejection allows you to improve. After each unsuccessful try, take the time to consider what you can learn from the experience. Analyze what you did well and what you can improve on. Also, understand that you can do everything right on a particular day and the prospective employer may just choose to go in a different direction.
Consider an Alternative Strategy
Many people aim to get that first big job straight out of college. This is a plan that can work, although it’s not the only way. To boost your odds of success, aim to land an internship during college for one of these companies.
Getting a return offer after graduation is the quickest, and lowest stress, way to break in at a large tech company. Another option is to accept a job at a less prestigious company. Continue to develop your skills, and maybe work on a portfolio project in your spare time. After a year or two, start applying for jobs with larger tech companies.
These companies are typically flooded with new graduate applicants, and it is difficult to stand out. Making your move once you have some experience boosts your profile. A bonus is that you may find that, with a little on the job experience, recruiters reach out to you, rather than all the effort being on your end. A good recruiter can help guide you through the hiring process.