How to Get a Programming Job with a CS Degree

You have a computer science degree, now what? In today’s world, having a degree doesn’t mean everything. Unfortunately, even talented programmers aren’t getting any good jobs.

The situation is so bad that computer science graduates are getting jobs in non-computer fields. Also, many programming jobs are taken by people who don’t have a CS degree.

So, we have to admit the truth. Having a computer science degree isn’t everything, and it doesn’t matter whether you have a high GPA or not. Yes, some companies put a cutoff so that they can eliminate the crowd. But, other than that, a high GPA doesn’t have much impact in getting a software development job.

How to Get a Programming Job with a CS Degree

So, what should we do to get a programming job? In today’s world, the best way to get your dream programming job is to have a portfolio of projects and market yourself as a specialist in any particular field of software development.

Companies are looking for people with suitable skills, not the ones with a high GPA. If you have the right skills, it won’t be enough to get a job. You have to show those skills to the companies that are hiring. They will not know your skills from an interview of 10 minutes.

You may be a skilled programmer, but if you can’t prove that to others, then there is no point in having the skills. You can write your skills on your resume, but everybody does that. You need to go the extra mile.

The advantage that you have with a CS degree is that some software companies are particularly looking for graduates. You can apply for those jobs.

In my country, most of the top service-based companies annually conduct a recruitment drive for graduates. There might be similar cases in the rest of the world. These companies are great, but the problem with these companies is that you may get a job that doesn’t even use any computer science skills. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a software development job. There is no guarantee.

So, let’s see how to increase your chances of getting a software development job. Let’s look at some practical steps.

Choosing Your Niche

As John Sonmez says, you need to be the big fish in the small pond, not the small fish in the big pond. It means that you need to be a specialist in a particular field of programming. Why should you do that? Well, that’s the best way to get a job.

Let’s say you need to hire an attorney for a criminal case. Many attorneys in the city do appear for criminal cases, divorce cases, and all types of cases. There is another guy who only appears for criminal cases, and he has a 90% success rate. Whom do you call? Of course, the specialist, right?

That’s the same case with software development jobs. If you’re going to attend an interview for a Java Developer role, and you say that you know Java, Python, C, C++, Javascript, and a whole bunch of things. But there is another guy who specializes in Java, and he has done many projects in it. They’ll probably hire the one who is a specialist in Java.

So, you need to define your pond. You can be a specialist in any particular programming stack or framework. Niche down and pick your specialty. And, be the big fish in the small pond.

Portfolio of Projects

If you’ve chosen your specialty, then the next thing you need is to work on that specialty. One way to do this is to do projects. Create a bunch of software projects based on your niche.

If your niche is android development with Java, then create android apps and publish them on the app store. If your niche is web development with a particular stack, then create web applications with that stack and deploy your web apps online. Most people don’t do this, and that’s why they aren’t getting any software development jobs.

If you have a portfolio of all the projects that you’ve done, then you can show that in the interviews. The interviewer can look at your portfolio and know your skills. And, that’ll increase your chances of getting the job.

If you’re a programmer, one thing you can do is create a GitHub account and put all your code online. Learn how to use git and GitHub, and it will help a lot.

Nowadays, software companies will give you an extra edge if you have an active GitHub profile. They can go to your profile and see the code that you’ve written. That’ll make them feel that you know how to write code.

Marketing Yourself as a Software Developer

Marketing yourself is pretty important, especially in the software development field. Technical skills aren’t enough to grow your career in this world. You need to have some marketing skills as well.

To market yourself as a software developer, you need to have a strong online presence. By online presence, I mean that you need to produce content.

One of the best things you can do is to create a blog. If you have a blog that updates regularly, you’ll have a lot more chances of getting hired. I can tell you this from my experience.

When I went for my first job interview, I mentioned about my Python blog. Suddenly, the interviewer got interested in that topic and asked a lot of things about my blog. That helped me to answer those questions easily and avoided many other technical questions. So, my interview became a piece of cake.

Also, if you’ve hosted or deployed your project online, that will impress the interviewer a lot.

If you can’t do blogging, then you can start a YouTube channel. That’ll help a lot with your overall skills. So, creating content to give value to others is a great skill to have. You’ll get rewarded for that.

Also, make sure you have a LinkedIn profile, which is well maintained. The interviewer might not directly ask you about all these things. You should let them know these things indirectly.

For example, in my first interview, the interviewer asked me “how do you choose this company?”. Then, I replied: “I read an article on LinkedIn, that it is one of the best companies in the world when it comes to the working environment”.

He asked: “So, you’re active on LinkedIn?”. I said “yes”. Then he wrote something down on his notepad. I knew it was something positive.

So, you can tell these things indirectly in your job interview. If you have a blog or a YouTube channel about programming, you can say it directly as well. I’ve already mentioned about GitHub and Portfolio. All of these will help you to sell yourself to that job.

Conclusion

A CS degree is not enough to get you a software development job. You need to have the specific skills to get a job, and you need to prove that to your interviewer.

For that, you need to become a specialist in a particular field in software development. Also, you should market yourself to land that dream job.

If you can do all these, I hope you’ll get a software development job sooner. If you have any doubts, then ask them down in the comments section. I will be happy to help you.

I’ve written an in-depth article on 9 Helpful Tips to Become a Better Programmer. I hope you’ll check it out. It will help you to go a few steps ahead in your programming career.

If this article was helpful, do share it with your friends. I would appreciate it, and it will encourage me to create more useful articles like this.

Thanks for reading. Do not procrastinate. Take action!

Ashwin Joy

I'm the face behind Pythonista Planet. I learned my first programming language back in 2015. Ever since then, I've been learning programming and immersing myself in technology. On this site, I share everything that I've learned about computer programming.

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