Preparing for Software Engineer Career during College

You are currently a College student, hopefully attending at one of the best software engineering schools, pursuing a sw engineer degree or considering a sw engineer career path.  Everyone knows how important it is to maintain a high GPA as a College student.  This is because college recruiters use GPA as one of primary discriminators in selecting the best sw engineers.  However, having a high GPA doesn’t necessarily equates to a great sw engineer career.  Sometimes students with lower GPA ends up experiencing a better sw engineer career.  A higher GPA definitely will provide better opportunities for quicker and stabler full time sw engineering jobs.   For all students, it might help with studies by treating GPA like a salary you would get from a full time sw engineering position.  Higher GPA means higher annual salary.  By thinking this way, it could provide the motivation you need to do well in school.

But what else should you be doing besides striving for a high GPA from college courses?  I recommend start looking for an internship or a part time sw engineering job that you can leverage in building your work experience as a software engineer.  Getting an internship as a software engineer can be a daunting task especially if you do not have any prior related work experience in software engineering.  It will require much patience and preparation in the beginning.

Patience is important because you will not find an immediate opportunity add there will be a steep competition just from your college institution.  Even though it takes longer time than your expectation, you must not give up.  Preparation is also important because you need to research which companies to apply to and need to perfect your resume.  Start this process in your Freshman year and don’t procrastinate until later years.  Sooner you start building your resume and applying to multiple software engineering companies, the more you will be ahead compared to other software engineers.  It is highly recommended everyone must put extra effort in making resumes as attractive as it can be, free from grammar and spelling mistakes.  Proof reading resumes is also an important step in the process.  Click on the post on resume for more detailed guidelines on creating a stellar resume to kickoff for your software engineer career.

Building Resume Content

If you find that you are in a situation where you are having difficulty in building content for the resume there are three options to help resolve this situation.  First option is to consider building or implementing an application as a personal project that specifically solves a real world problem.  Check out Java Programming Challenge for more information on what actions to take next.

Another option is to build a website and display your creativity and design.  Check out the resource page for additional info on how to building a website.

Final option is to learn and implement a smartphone app.  It does not have to be a complex app.  The goal here is to show interviewers that you spent the time to create a smartphone app available to anyone.  Obviously, if you can show some metrics associated with your app, then that will be a bonus!

As a hiring manager, I rarely run into software engineering candidates with artifacts from their personal project accomplishments.  I have, however, seen resumes containing new app development and deployed to Apple and Android app stores.  Once you have accomplished your personal built application or a website, you can certainly use your experience and skills on your resume.  As a preparation for the interviews, figure out a way to exhibit your project accomplishment or artifacts to the interviewers.

Providing Coaching and Mentoring Sessions to start SW Engineer careers