The Software Engineering role isn’t going anywhere. Since 2001 the software engineering role has grown rapidly in demand. And in 2015, became a job function that many could receive an education on relatively easily and start earning $80,000 per year at a minimum.
Thanks to places like Khan Academy and now online programs offered by universities, you don’t need a 4-year bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in order to land a Software Engineering role. But with that accessibility to higher wages and plenty of market demand for the job, comes saturation. And with saturation means competition.
We’re going to cover some of the best qualities you can show in your Software Engineering interviews to stand out as the top 5% of candidates, impress your interviewer and get hired.
Is Software Engineering Really in High Demand Still?
The first thing to cover is the question, is Software Engineering still in high demand? The answer is, yes. Software Engineering is still a very high demand position. And it’s accessible to many of those who want to be remote workers as well. More businesses are continuing to find ways to introduce technology into their workforces in order to reduce labor costs or advance revenues. This is a wonderful time to be a Software Engineer, even with the increase of candidate competition.
Is The “Software Engineer” Role Is Great For Entry-Level Professionals?
Yes. It’s true. You can be an entry-level applicant and still get $80,000 per year at a minimum. This is because the market is still showing signs of higher demand than supply of workers. Meaning, compensation for the position is still steep for the business.
If you are a recent graduate or even someone who decided a 4-year university wasn’t for you, Software Engineering could still be a feasible career path for you.
The 3 Best Qualities That Will Get You Hired As A Software Engineer
Software Engineers often present similar concerns to the employer when interviewing. They lack certain skills that employers value. And when the candidate shows signs of these common characteristics, it can often mean lower salary expectations for the employee or more junior positions that the employer finds them suitable for.
We’re going to cover the three best qualities (and why they’re the best qualities) to show to your potential employer in order to stand out as one of the highest quality Software Engineer candidates.
1. Communication Skills
Most Software Engineers lack communication skills. Or people skills in general. This is because a majority of their talents lay in the ability to write great computer code. Employers will consider you a top percentile candidate when you can show them that you can communicate effectively and clearly to non-engineering employees. This is a tremendous value to the employer because you are able to more easily bridge communication gaps between Software Engineering and other departments.
2. Business Experience
Having any type of business experience is a great skill to highlight as a Software Engineer. It may seem inapplicable since you are wanting to showcase your coding abilities. But when you can communicate to the employer that you understand their business and how it works, you will stand out. Employers want to know that Software Engineers have a deep understanding of their business so that when developing code it more directly aligns to what the business is going to value from. This is a skill that many Software Engineers either lack or choose now to show, but should.
3. Management Experience
Management experience is another key skill set. Software Engineers are notorious for being difficult to collaborate with. Both within the Software Engineering group and outside of it. This is because Software Engineers feel as though other departments of business “don’t understand the code”. Having management experience means you could better direct the engineers that you are working alongside and help them to see the value in working with other departments. Sharing any type of management experience and positioning it to the employer as you being able to be a “change agent” within the engineering group is a great value.
These Skills Really Make Me a Top Candidate?
While all three of these skills don’t seemingly align with Software Engineering, they are the keys to you being the most valuable Software Engineer to the business. It’s because you can act as a translator to the rest of your team, ensuring that work that’s being produced is correct and also delivered efficiently.
Many businesses suffer from having waited weeks or months for Software Engineers to deliver work, only to find out that it doesn’t meet the business requirements. This causes the business to hemorrhage resources. If they see these 3 qualities in you, they can feel assured that you might not be an engineer that goes that direction, ultimately making you a top percentile candidate.
Be sure that you position these qualities or prior experiences as those that will help you do a better job in Software Engineering. For example, “understanding the business” is key to producing great features for the Users. All you have to do is state that. That’s the way to align the positioning between these qualities and your abilities as a Software Engineer.
Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. He writes more articles like this one over at Algrim.co.