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How to ace your next software development interview

Whether it’s python or SQL, software developers continue to be in high demand across the industry for permanent, contractor and freelancer positions. In Sydney, the average tenure of a developer is between 12 to 18 months. Does this mean you will be looking at your next move soon?

 

After speaking with the many software developers we have successfully helped find new roles, I have compiled the top nine insights to help you ace the interview to get you the job you want.

 

1) Be up to date – What was the last technology, language, framework or certification you added into your knowledge arsenal? For contract or freelance, quite often you are hired for an existing skill set, but what if this becomes obsolete?

 

The diagram below shows families of languages and frameworks that are tested with each other. It may be a good idea to become familiar with these clusters and hone in on your skills in a specific area.

 

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Image courteous of Dev Skiller

 

2) Be visible - Think Github, StackOverflow, Reddit, Twitter and even Discord. Each of these platforms have their own unique advantage and they are often a great place to hang out, learn some new skills and interact with other developers. 

 

Any medium you can use to follow leaders in tech and keep up to date with new frameworks, latest release versions and trends may help you demonstrate how current your knowledge is when interviewing. If you are visible and active on any of these platforms and can showcase your knowledge, this may work in your favour, as hiring managers may research you before the interview.

 

3) Be prepared to put in the hours - It is a much-debated topic, but coding tests are here to stay. A technical test can be your ticket to landing your next big break, so don’t cut corners or risk the quality of the code or the work. When tackling a tech test, be mindful that it is not necessarily the outcomes being tested, but rather your mind-set and the process of your work.

 

4) Be confident – When interviewing, think achievements, not just responsibilities. What are your greatest accomplishments? How can you relate them to this role and its requirements? Be ready to outline your skills and experience, and deliver positive examples of results you have achieved. Speak openly about them.

 

5) Be human – Show your personality. Companies don’t just care about code, they will also consider if you would be a great addition to their culture. Of the hundreds of candidates I have interviewed over the past few years, most want to work for a company that has a great team environment and a collaborative, fun atmosphere. If this is also the case with you talk about it in your interview, tell them what your ideal working environment is so you can both assess if you will be a good fit.

 

Share what you like to do when you’re not cutting code, maybe you’re a dog lover or an avid gamer. If you can connect with potential new employers on a personal level, it could leave you in good stead.

 

6) Be honest – Quite often job descriptions are a cocktail of words that have been mixed together by several different people. Find out what’s important to the role and then go from there. If you haven't got exactly what they require, don’t be afraid to be honest about it, but make sure to emphasise your adaptability and transferrable skills.

 

7) Be prepared - Have your checklist ready. Research the company, the people you are meeting with and treat your job description as a cheat sheet. If they ask you about a technology you are not across, give an example of when you last had to learn a similar technology, the challenges you faced and how you overcome them.

 

8) Be open – If you are beginning your career it is perfectly ok to sample your university projects, but be sure to articulate what your input was. If you are looking for a career change, make sure to showcase the work you have taken on most recently. Employers often like candidates who put in extra time outside of work on different personal projects.

 

9)   Be a lifelong learner - Consistent learning and development is key to staying in the game. An interviewer is going to want to know what you are doing to develop your knowledge and keep up to date in this fast paced and evolving area.

 

Competitive Programming – Look into this, it can keep you sharp and many of the top software companies sponsor or keep their eyes on these, so you could be spotted or approached by them.

 

Follow trends – One of my favourite things about technology is the fast passed movement and changing trends and patterns. Following trends will keep you in the know with what's hot and what's not and should give you some direction as to where you should invest your time and learning.

 

Podcasts – this is subjective based on your interests and what you enjoy learning about, but there is something out there for every interest and it’s a great learning medium.

 

Blogs – can provide you with inspiration. They are a great way to pick up new ideas and they may push you to explore areas you haven’t previously thought about. I enjoy Medium as a platform as it’s open source and varied with the content that is delivered.

 

Treat every interview like it’s your dream job and it will find you sooner rather than later.

 

Are you looking for a new role or to change or advance your career in software development? Contact me at callum.grieve@talentinternational.com

 

Do you want to test your development skills and see if you come out on top in NSW? We have created a developer competition, with a $1000 going to the winner.

 

Simply enter a few quick details using this link and the test will be sent to your email account:

 

https://cameronmoffatt.typeform.com/to/O5hoU3