10 Tips to Land Your Dream Software Engineer Job

Our talent acquisition team has previously hired for software engineers across the spectrum, from startups to Apple. Here are our top ten tips for getting your dream job.

No matter your level of experience, finessing your profile to move into new roles in tech can be challenging. Having hired software engineers for the likes of Apple, we thought we’d share our top tips for landing your dream software job.

1. Proactively reach out to companies

Offer your skills to companies even if they haven’t published a role. You never know when they might be considering a profile similar to yours in the future and often find it helpful to have people in the back of their minds. Reaching out demonstrates your proactiveness and likely understanding/interest in what that company does.

2. Build a network of developers

There are a myriad of communities for developers out there on Polywork, LinkedIn, Showcase, Twitter, Discord. Being involved allows you to build relationships, learn from others, and build a reputation for what you’re good at. Plus, personal endorsements can go a long way to help when applying.

3. Build a strong portfolio

Building a strong portfolio of software development projects can be key to getting hired. These software development projects will show employers how you work and apply the skills they need in their software developers. It’s also important to keep track of what software you’ve used for specific projects, so employers know what programming languages and tools you’re skilled at. Think about building up your GitHub profile.

4. Work on solo and open-source projects

Doing development work in your own time shows that you have a genuine interest in the role you are applying for. Being able to talk about these projects in interviews is invaluable, and shows you can put your money where your mouth is. It’s one thing to say you know something well, another if you show how.

5. Post about your solutions online.

This might be a YouTube video, a post on StackOverflow or Showwcase.

6. Know what you’re looking for

Part of this will result from appreciating what your own strengths are: you might be stronger in front-end languages, or prefer to build in the back-end, and like the challenge of needing to quickly adapt. Part of this will result from your preferences: some roles focus on solving pure tech charges with little interaction with other teams, other roles (such as at Vauban) require regular interaction with the product team. Lastly, what are your needs: in-person, remote, or mixed? 

7. Find a mentor

It’s not easy starting out. Finding someone who has trodden the path you hope to take allows you to gain from their learnings and get gentle advice on how to best navigate it. Sometimes you can reach out directly on LinkedIn and see if they’re open to it. Remember to be respectful of people’s time and see if you can offer something in return. Sometimes it’s by passing the favour forward, sometimes it might be financial. 

8. Work on your soft skills

In tech, communication is key to getting problems solved quickly and efficiently. If you can find ways of developing and strengthening those skills, you’ll have a killer profile. Not only this, but tech is rarely a stand-alone team. You have to know how to interact with other teams within the business, communicate what you’re working on to people with non-technical backgrounds in a way that’s understandable to them. Honing skills like critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration will make all the difference when joining a high functioning team. Try breaking down what you’re working on to family members, friends, and family that have no experience in tech and see if you can simply explain what you’re up to. 

9. Understand the bigger picture

While you might know that company X is working on a specific product, step back and think why. In an interview this will truly help. Knowing what macro factors are driving the company to build that product will be the guiding star. Going into an interview being able to mirror back their hopes and desires will be like music to their ears, especially if the interview round is with the wider non-tech team members. 

10. Get to know the company’s competitors and their products

It’s one thing to know the company, it’s a whole other level if you understand their competitors’ products too. While difficult, (and may be impossible if the product of the business you’re applying to has proprietary aspects you don’t know about), it’d be a huge bonus if you can know competitors’ products and bring some ideas. The best way to figure this out is to look at available sales materials. 

What to Expect

Here are some thoughts of our own software engineers to describe what it's like on the inside:

Alex Corsham
University of Cambridge
Years of experience: 2
Coding languages:
JavaScript, Typescript

Profile photo of Alex Corsham

Vauban is a highly collaborative, rapidly evolving, environment to work in. As a member of the tech team here, you will be given real responsibility from day one, with influence over the look and feel of features going into production. Everyone is seen as an equal, and you often find yourself chipping in with helping others in the team overcome issues or testing the features they have produced. Despite only having been here half a year, I have been given ownership over large areas of the codebase, and it is very rewarding to be able to dictate how these areas evolve over time.

No day as a Software Engineer at Vauban is the same. One day might be spent speccing out a new project with members of the Product team, pulling information from the production database for the Marketing team, or just spent, headphones on, coding. You don’t know what your day may look like when you walk through the door, and that’s what makes it so exciting.

Anissa Lamhaouar
University of Montpellier
Years of experience:
Coding languages:
JavaScript, Typescript, VueJs and NestJs framework

Profile photo of Anissa Lamhaouar

I never appreciated before entering the Software Engineer world how important the people working with you would be. Teamwork is everything. Not only to be able to be effective, but to be able to put your hand up when you need some help and make you feel better when things get overwhelming. Sounds cheesy (which is fine, I’m French), but my teammates are so positive and funny. Before graduating I read so many intimidating stories about what to brace myself for being a woman in tech, how it’d hold me back. I’d love for other young women to know that that hasn’t been my experience at all -the opposite, in fact. Responsibility is granted quickly and meritocratically, and I’ve been running my own squad. 

Jeremie Dumont
University of Montpellier
Years of experience:
Coding languages:
JavaScript, TypeScript

Profile photo of Jeremie Dumont

I arrived at Vauban for a six-month internship a year and a half ago. At the time there were only 15 of us in a small office. Now we’ve tripled that number, both in terms of software engineers and the company as a whole. In my experience, joining a growing startup opens up great opportunities as a software engineer. New roles, new teams, etc. On a personal level, it has allowed me to go from being an intern to managing a team, which is not something I would have expected for several years. Fast-growing startups are also great in terms of projects. The company's goals are changing so fast that new ideas are coming up all the time, which keeps us, as software engineers, working on interesting and impactful projects.

Roles currently open: 

Vauban is currently growing our tech team and looking to hire software engineers. If you think you’ve got (or know someone who has) what it takes to succeed at Vauban, please don’t hesitate to reach out and apply. 
Roles currently open: 

We are seeking Fullstack Engineers to join our growing Engineering Team. Together you will:

  • Be involved in the design and build of new product features.
  • Contribute to a highly secure infrastructure and scalable architecture.
  • Work on our proprietary design system!

Examples of projects that you will get to work on include: improving system performance and reliability, monitoring and supporting the application, and being a core player in the team!

Take a look at our tech stack below and reach out to find out more:

  • Vue.js 2
  • Typescript
  • Node.js
  • Typescript (NestJS)
  • SQL (PostgreSQL) 
  • Git

Kyna Harmon

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