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How to Become a Better Developer and Shine in Your Early Career

By October 23, 2023November 7th, 2023Computer Software Development

There’s no doubt that software development is a competitive yet rewarding career. Rising above the crowd and making a mark in the industry early on is one of the first hurdles to clear, especially for college students near graduation. It’s not just about mastering coding language and understanding algorithms; it’s about honing a comprehensive skill set that proves that you can solve some pretty complex problems. Having actionable insights and guidance can help you flourish in those early stages of your career journey and prime you for success right from the start.

Have Strong Fundamentals

While you’re in college, focus on core courses. Experimenting with application development using varied computing languages cements algorithmic thinking, a skill critical in increasing AI environments. Applied skills in databases and knowledge of operating systems contribute to skill roundness. Foundational concepts from these classes are essential in beginning your career path. Consider looking for continuing education opportunities so you stay updated on advancements in these areas.

Be Confident in Your Soft Skills

Of course, you can probably bet that most other job candidates have similar technical abilities as you. Soft skills can be a differentiator. As a software engineer, soft skills like problem-solving, communication, networking, and collaboration are essential. It also helps to have a lot of patience, open-mindedness, and time management skills in your soft skills tool kit.

Get Involved In College

One of the best ways you can stand out from other job candidates and build your resume is to take advantage of your college years. Become involved in extracurricular events. Join clubs, meet up with other students in and outside of your program, and attend tech-focused events and workshops. Meeting others interested in the technology world assists in understanding where you can best situate your goals in tech.

“Immerse yourself into everything while you can. Really get yourself out there, take on challenges, and be seen being involved in different projects. Being involved in clubs or out-of-classroom projects helps you meet other people, share ideas, and build experiences. That’s all super important and something students don’t always understand the importance of,” said Dr. Angela Ramnarine-Rieks. Dr. Ramnarine-Rieks is a visiting professor in the Computer Software Development program at Villa Maria College and is currently working on launching a computer science club on campus as a way to help give her students more opportunities for continuing education.

Showcase Personal Projects

As mentioned, hands-on experience is vital to landing a career in software development. While you’re in college, begin compiling projects you worked on and received positive feedback. Repositories, like Github, are a good tool to share your work. You should also try to tackle personal projects outside of the classroom. Consider working with students outside of your major and seeing how your technical skills can be of use to them. Creating databases or applications that help them solve problems can be a great boost for your portfolio.

Earn Certifications

Another way to validate your skills is by attempting certification programs. Villa offers several tech-focused certificate programs to its students and all of Western New York. Best of all, students who participate in the programs can be reimbursed, regardless of their success in these certifications.

“Attempting certification programs and extending yourself into doing them is a significant advantage. It demonstrates your commitment as a self starter, and shows that you can perform whatever skills you’ve learned. The fact that you did study for it really counts for something and that’s our philosophy at Villa,” said Dr. Ramnarine-Rieks.

Take Advantage of Internships

Internships offer a realistic glimpse into the real job world. If you can nab a software development internship, be sure to take it seriously. These opportunities are another validator for your skills, boost your portfolio, expand your network, and increase your confidence. According to Dr. Ramnarine-Rieks, some of her Villa computer software development students have even earned job offers locally from their internships.

“It’s exciting to see our students get these job opportunities right in Buffalo, right as they are ready to graduate,” she said.

Gain the Software Development Skills to Succeed at Villa

Passionate about computer science and programming? You belong in Villa’s Computer Software Development degree program. Our software development students have gone on to exciting opportunities locally in Buffalo’s growing tech scene. Reach out today to learn more about our four-year degree program as well as certification courses in IT support, UX design, and IT automation.