Software Development
May 25, 2022

Building Your Career as a Software Engineer

Building Your Career as a Software Engineer

Building Your Career as a Software Engineer

Credit: Freepik

Are you interested in being a software engineer but do not know where to start? Or are you currently just beginning your career as a software engineer and need some advice on how to build your career as a software engineer

In this blog, our mentor- John Apostol, an Engineering Manager at Handshake experiences and career advice to help you in your career as a software engineer.

A Career as a Software Engineer: John’s Career Path

  • Did casual programming as a teen
  • Involved in advertising track in college
  • Built a videogame reporting website
  • Involved in college career fairs
  • Build a few local businesses websites
  • Landed two local internships
  • Converted internship into hourly roles
  • Get paid to build business software for clients

John enjoys his career as it provides the opportunity to work in a remote-friendly environment. As a hiring manager, he had reviewed about 300 resumes and interviewed at least 100 people in the past year from various working backgrounds such as law, barista, and education.

A career in software engineering: Tips for landing a career as a software engineer

  • It is important to prove to the hiring manager that you have experience in the software engineering field and you are able to deliver 
  • Reflect on your thinking process through your portfolio on how to solve a problem in a quick manner
  • Show a personal connection to the project: how you connect with data, add the problem data
  • Show you care and spend time on your project
  • Demonstrate through a project how your code can solve a problem
  • Use signals from interview questions to know what the hiring manager wants to know
  • Take every interview opportunity as practice for the next 

A career in software engineering: Hiring from Manager’s perspective

  • Hiring timing:
  1. In search of specific skills
  2. Achieving better balance between team members (juniors & seniors)
  3. To backfilling an engineer who had left the company
  4. The company needs more bandwidth to succeed
  • Hiring criteria: 
  1. Proven learners
  2. Responsible people
  3. Conscientious: reviewing own code, proactively helping team members

A Career in software engineering: Strategies to get hired

Credit: Storyset
  • Apply to a company you know personally
    For example, Instagram. There is a lot of competition, but the advantage is you could talk about the product from the user’s perspective.
  • Apply actively to unpopular companies
    For example, the oil and gas industry,and the healthcare industry. You are more likely to get into the resume phase due to the lesser number of people applying to these industries.
  • Apply to hidden gems 
    Hidden gem companies usually have no marketing budget. It could be your local or regional company that has products and software. They need a software engineer to maintain their products.
  • Keep learning and practicing
    Learn something you are not familiar with, something that interests you.

Read the 11 Software Engineering Tools to Know as a Programmer.

  • Increase the breadth of your career journey
    You do not have to specialize in the early stages of your career.

A Career in software engineering: Deciding A Specialization

  • Improve general thinking & problem-solving skills
  • Give yourself some time to find something that interests you (2 to 3 years)
  • Make sure your manager knows what you want to learn 
“Work with other engineers to learn faster. This accelerates the learning process.”- John.

Read the Top 8 Skills Every Front-end Developer Must Have and What Are The Best Online Coding Courses For Beginners?.

Need support in your software development career? Book a 1:1 mentoring session with John or other global mentors! They will be happy to help you. 

John Apostol (ADPList Mentor) 
Engineering Manager at Handshake
ADPList account:
LinkedIn account:

Editor and Writer:
Farah Radzi
Content Marketer and Writer at ADPList
LinkedIn account: