Level 6, 11 – 31 York Street
Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
I once met up with an employer to discuss the possibilities of him hosting some of our IT interns for work integrated learning placements. Let’s call him ‘Robin’ for this article’s sake.
Robin recently moved offices, had a small team and run a successful business in providing data related and technology driven services to improve efficiencies and effectiveness to tenants and occupants. I was taken in by his warm friendly nature and his obvious passion for his field.
I took Robin’s placement specifications and attempted to match our students to this opportunity. Robin ended up interviewing three of our students, and his feedback really made me start to think about what it takes to get that graduate IT role, particularly in Web Development. So I thought I would share it with you.
In comparison to some of the other companies we work with, my first thoughts were that he was pretty strict with the standard of a student he would host, considering all our students are graduates with little or no experience. But after hearing his justifications and feedback I completely agreed.
Taking on his feedback, here are 5 top tips in becoming job ready.
1. Have a portfolio
Robin was shocked to see not one of the three students had a Github or Bitbucker! As an IT graduate who wants to pursue a career in web development, there should be no reason as to why you shouldn’t have set one of these up. Even uploading your university assignments onto Github is better than nothing.
This is your chance to show prospective companies that you are passionate for the industry and showcase your skills and projects that you have worked on. Ideally, you should have other projects that you have worked on outside of university. For example you can build a personal website; this makes you stand out and demonstrates what you can do.
2. Know your programming languages
Most employers will expect that a graduate will be skilled in at least one of the following: Java, HTML, CSS or C++. Try and stand out with your resume by learning something more like Python or keeping up to date with any new Java frameworks such as Ruby. Companies are going to want to see something more than the basics; you need to offer a little more than just the bare necessities.
3. Testing knowledge
Realistically if you are building a website you should be able to emphasise testing and test driven development. This may not be something you cover heavily or even at all in university but this is expected by companies. Do your own research and understand it.
4. Be confident and honest
Every month I meet students who are at various skill levels in regards to their programming languages. After studying at university and potentially having completed some of your own projects, it can be hard to feel confident in your own ability. Just remember, every Web Developer started out in the same position as you. You really need to practice, practice and practice until you can confidently say you know it.
Be honest when it comes to what you do know. Robin asked one of the students whether they knew any testing methodologies and they answered no. However, the student followed up by saying how interested and keen they were to learn about how they do things. This honesty was appreciated and he was actually selected for the internship placement.
5. Practice, practice and practice
I mentioned this earlier about making sure you can confidently say you know how to use certain programming languages. What other way can you do this but to practice?
I once attended an Australian Computer Society (ACS) networking event and learnt all about Hackathons, a Hackathon being an event where programmers come together to produce ideas and designs and build a platform (for example either an app or website) over an intense short period. A winning team is congratulated at the end of the session for their finished product. This is a great way to develop your skills, focus on your team work skills and get networking.
Robin’s feedback really made me realise that IT graduates can’t just graduate from university and expect to land their dream job. It can take some work on getting ‘job ready’ but, prove and show your passion and you are half way there. Get confident in your skills and good luck!
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