What are the top pieces of career advice for future software engineers?
Some of our favorite answers are below.
Gayle Laakmann McDowell is the founder/CEO of CareerCup and the author of Cracking the *interview books (Cracking the Coding Interview, Cracking the PM Interview, and Cracking the Tech Career). Read the full Mashable article here.
Code. A lot. Schools are great at theory, but not so much at practical stuff. The best way to be a great coder is to just practice — a lot. It doesn’t matter so much what you code (open source, iPhone apps, etc.) as long as you’re coding and pushing yourself.
Be language agnostic. Language is just a tool. It’s valuable to know a language deeply, but it’s also valuable to be learning new things. The best developers tend not to identify as a ____ developer.
Prestige helps. Having a strong name on your resume helps open doors and show competence. If you can get a name like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Dropbox, etc., do it. (But don’t stay long. See the next tip.)
Leave the big companies quickly. If you want to build your career at a big company, then by all means, stay and build your career there. But if that’s not what you want, leave quickly. One or two years post-college at a company like Google is great. 10 years? Not so much. You will continue to learn, but there are diminishing returns of sticking around. (Unless you want to be a big company person.)
If you don’t want to be a developer forever, then move on quickly. There is a lot of value in getting really deep technical expertise. But it doesn’t matter that much whether you spent two years as a developer or seven years. Within a few years of college graduation, make a choice. Do you want to be an engineer for the next 10, 20, 30 years — or not? If you don’t, start trying to move on now. More time as an engineer won’t help you that much.
Dealing with others
Integrity matters. If you try to cheat and cut corners, it’ll haunt you. Do the right thing in life. It’s not only the good thing to do, but it’s also the smart thing to do. People will trust and like you more. More doors will open — and those doors might just be the breakthrough moments in your career.
Be helpful. When possible, help people who ask for help. The people who ask you for help right now will be much more likely to help you in the future. That “help” might be introducing you to their friends who can help you more directly. So even if you don’t see how that person will be helpful, you don’t know who their buddies are or will be.
Make friends. You actually can’t really be successful by yourself. If you’re an entrepreneur, you need employees and business connections. If you’re an employee, you need a job. Either way, it’s friends who will be key to opening up these opportunities. It’s friends, distant and close ones, who form the important part of your network, not that one person you met at a meetup and never talked to again.
Realize — no, internalize — that we’ve all got impostor syndrome. Even the most successful entrepreneurs and engineers (with very few exceptions) feel like they just “got lucky” and aren’t nearly as good as people think, and that one day soon they’re going to get “caught.” Truly internalizing just how widespread impostor syndrome is can help you realize that feeling like you’re a fraud doesn’t mean that you are.
Start stuff. Show initiative. Good things come to those who don’t wait. Seek out new opportunities. Start stuff — a hackathon, a club, a project, a company, a new running group, whatever. You will learn so much from doing this and it will open doors.
Take risks. Seize opportunities. When you notice that little flicker of opportunity, seize it. Run with it. See where it goes. Don’t walk away just because you don’t know exactly where it’s going to go.
Bias toward “yes.” A great career hinges on the “breakthrough” moments. The problem is that you often can’t identify those in advance. You don’t know where that coffee meeting that you don’t see the point of is going to lead. You won’t know that, two months down the line, that person will end up introducing you to a guy who needs some advice and winds up as your business partner. Maintain a strong bias towards saying yes.
Join EOP’s STEM Diversity Career Expo that brings industry and government together with members of minority groups, women and people with disabilities in the SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, and MATHEMATICS (STEM) career disciplines.
Friday, September 15, 2017 10:00 am-3:00 pm at New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania
In addition to being a truly inspiring and innovative field, STEM careers offer many benefits: financial, intellectual, and philanthropic. According to the 2017 update by the US Department of Commerce, employment in STEM occupations grew by more than 24% in comparison to non-STEM occupations, which grew only by 4.0%. Further, STEM occupations are projected to grow by around 9% percent by 2024. On average, STEM workers earned 29% more than their non-STEM colleagues in 2015. This premium has increased from 2010 by 3% and will continue to do so with the digitalization of our society.Research done by the Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce predicts that there will be 9 million STEM jobs by 2018.
This Forbes article by Anna Powers contains a list of coolest occupations in STEM right now across three promising industries, offering incredible prospects for growth, impact and compensation.
A virtual panel, designed and moderated by an intern for other interns, will discuss making the move from tech internships to full-time careers.
Thursday, August 10, at 7 PM EDT. If you missed it, don’t despair! They recorded it for you!
Meet the panelists:
Sumbul Alvi is a Software Engineer at Snapchat, Inc. She received a Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto in 2014. Previously, she worked with Tumblr, IBM, Pivotal Labs, and Xtreme Labs.
Jasmine Greenaway is a Cloud Developer Advocate at Microsoft. She received a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering in 2001, and a Master’s Degree from University of West Florida in 2016. Previously, she worked at GitHub, Rockstar Games, and Sears.
Reah Miyara is a Product Manager at IBM. He received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley in 2014. Previously, he interned with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Intuit.
“For five days with PLEN, I got to really experience and learn what life and careers in Washington, D.C. are at their best and at their worst. Each panel I attended was interesting, eye opening, and life changing.” -Sivan Nizan, PLEN Alumna
For almost 40 years, the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) has brought thousands of women from across the country to Washington, D.C. to explore careers in policy and connect with women leaders. PLEN seminars enhance class work and curriculum by giving students valuable access to women leaders in Washington, D.C. from the legislative, executive, and judicial branches; agencies; nonprofit organizations; and the private sector. Our programs give students the chance to discuss current policy issues in law, business, nonprofits, STEM, Congress, and the international field; visit institutions and organizations in D.C.; and launch their careers through intimate coaching sessions on networking, resume writing, and salary negotiation. During all seminars, students network with distinguished women at the top of their fields while building connections with their peers from across the country.
Join PLEN in Washington D.C. for our six annual seminars:
Women, Law and Legal Advocacy, October 19-21, 2017
Women in Corporate and Nonprofit Leadership, November 2-4, 2017
The Office of Science / US Department of Energy is pleased to announce paid research internship opportunities for undergraduate students majoring in areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The application system for the Term Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) program is currently open, with all applications due by 05:00 PM Eastern Time on October 02, 2017.
The Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) program places students from 2 and 4 year undergraduate institutions as paid interns in science and engineering research activities at DOE national laboratories and facilities, working with laboratory staff scientists and engineers on projects related to ongoing research programs. Appointments are for 16 weeks during the Spring term, are open to US Citizens and US Lawful Permanent Residents, include a weekly stipend, reimbursement for one round trip domestic travel to the participant’s host DOE laboratory, and possibilities for a housing allowance. More than 850 internships are sponsored annually.
Application is made online. Full program information and descriptions, including links to the online application system, are available on their website.