How to land a job as a developer

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With the entry-level salary for a software developer as high as C$75,000, according to Randstad, you’ve got to wonder why more people aren’t showing up to companies en masse and demanding jobs. Well, it should go without saying that there’s a bit more to the development world than sitting at a computer punching in random numbers and symbols. 

It’s a field that requires professionals who are well versed in different coding languages, most of which can look like gibberish to outsiders. So, what does a person have to do to get noticed by employers? Easy: It involves the fairly straightforward task of learning new programming languages and implementing said languages in your daily work. Here’s how it’s done.   

If you’re just starting out  

First thing’s first: Not everyone is going to be able to master every language out there. You very well could be skilled at Python but a total novice with Ruby. However, there are some programming languages that are slightly easier than others. If you’re jumping into development early – perhaps right after college – there are some skills you can acquire that will impress a potential employer without taking a massive toll on your brain. 

Enter Python, JavaScript, and HTML: Three programming languages beginners can wrap their heads around and use to build a rewarding career. 

Most often used for general-purpose programming, Python’s emphasis relies on code readability on a large and small scale. Python is used by a number of large companies, making it a valuable asset for anyone hoping to eventually land a gig at multi-million dollar company. 

JavaScript, like Python, is in high demand, but is often used for website design and gaming. 

It’s one of the three core technologies of web content production and is considered an industry standard, making JavaScript extremely popular amongst beginners. Since it’s compatible with all browsers, the language is a good general-purpose code for web development and is very dynamic as it’s used in front and back-end applications.

For those looking to build their careers off website application design, HTML is a highly valuable markup language to learn. Considered a core “building block” language, nearly every webpage you look at online was made with some form of HTML code.    

Image: hitesh choudhary

When you’ve got the skills to pay the bills   

Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to move on to intermediate coding languages. These include C++, Java, and C#. 

When it comes to intermediate languages, C++ is a good place to start. It’s an object-oriented coding language derived from C, but with additional capabilities that make it more complex. C++ is known to work well for large projects since it can be broken up into different parts, allowing for a collaborative workflow amongst a group.

Resembling C++ in syntax and structure, Java is a general-purpose computer programming language that operates under the slogan “write once, run anywhere,” which is intended to highlight its cross-platform compatibility. 

Although it was originally made for interactive TV, it’s known for its cross-platform capabilities. This means it can be easily used on smartphone apps as well as desktop apps. 

C# (pronounced C sharp) is a multi-paradigm programming language from Microsoft based on C++ that contains features similar to Java and implements Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) for use by programmers. Being fluent in C# is a great way to get you noticed by employers.   

For the experts   

For developers who consider themselves experts, there are a handful of useful platforms and management tools that any employer would be impressed to see on your resume: .NET, Agile, SQL, and Linux

Developed by Microsoft, .NET is a software framework that’s free, cross-platform, and open source. Fluency in .NET means you know how to write apps using other programming language like C#, F#, or Visual Basic. 

Agile is a set of values and principles for software development that advocate planning, development, and the process of breaking down projects into smaller tasks (called sprints) that can be completed quickly. Though knowledge of Agile development is a great skill for leaders and developers alike, this skill is in particularly high demand for Project Managers.

Image: Markus Spiske

Back to languages — SQL (Structured Query Language) is a domain-specific language used to manage data in a relational database management system. Originally developed by IBM, SQL was initially used to manage IBM’s original quasi-relational database management system. If you love databases — and you should, if you’re a developer! — SQL is the language for you. Beaten only by JavaScript, SQL is actually the second-most common programming language and is used by 50 percent of developers. 

Finally, there’s Linux. Linux is the best-known open-source operating system out there and sits “underneath” all other software on computers. Found everywhere from servers to smartphones to desktop computers, Linux has been around for 25 years and requires some serious skill to understand and master. 

By going against the grain and breaking down the walls built by companies like Microsoft, Linux established itself as an operating system by developers for developers. 

Becoming an expert in Linux involves a bit more than simply taking a class or enrolling in a coding boot camp. To fully understand Linux, you need to install it on your computer and immerse yourself in it. Knowledge of Linux will set you apart from the pack and prove that you know and care about software development. That’s something employers will definitely notice. 

If you think your options are limited to these ten languages or tools, you can find solace in the fact that there are hundreds — literally hundreds — to master, each of which hold value for future employers. Whether you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate, or expert developer, it never hurts to keep expanding your stack.

Looking for your next opportunity in the dev world? Reach out to Randstad Canada at randstad.ca/dev to connect with a tech recruiter and explore your career options.

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