Taking the Next Step - What 6 things do you need to consider as a Junior Software Engineer?

06 September 2018

If you are considering making your first job move, make sure you check out the 6 following considerations before you make that leap.

1. Specialising

Now that you have commercial experience, take a Full Stack Engineer for example, is it now time to specialise towards either the front or back end? The answer to this question is a tricky one. From the experience that you have gained so far, there is usually some natural preference towards one or the other, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it is time to specialise. As the job market changes, it is best not to pigeonhole yourself. Your future employer is looking for a junior engineer to be pragmatic, malleable and open minded. They will want to see evidence of you working end-to-end rather than being the go-to person for one very specific problem (that’s not overly helpful to them).

2. Technical Progression

When you begin researching new roles, ask yourself will this role push forward my technical development?  As a junior/mid-level engineer, there’s still a lot to learn and it is imperative to understand whether the new role is going to enable this development. My advice would be to seek an environment where you can be exposed to more experienced engineers and continue your learnings. As an ambitious engineer, you should aim to be the best engineer in the room, but that takes time. Don’t run before you can walk!

3. Brand name

There is an underlying urge for many engineers to go and work for a huge brand name in Tech, one that you can tell your non-tech friends about and they’ll know who they are. But is this really a good move? In the past, I have seen junior engineers become preoccupied with the well-known name of the company and lose sight of what they originally wanted - to learn and work on fulfilling career-enhancing projects and contribute to an interesting product.  My advice would be to remember the reasons why you were searching, to begin with and keep to them!

4. Salary

Salary is always part of the consideration and will be a big part of your decision making. So always weigh up the compensation package against the overall opportunity that is presented/available. How much would you prioritise that extra £5k, over the opportunity to work on an interesting cool new project with a talented engineering team, that could aid your technical development and career in the long-run? A good recruitment consultant can and should help you assess this!

5. Interviewing

We all know that interviewing can be a huge investment of time and avoiding your current boss is no fun. My advice would be to commit to change; get a feel of the market, apply to a handful of carefully selected options, reach out to recruitment consultants for their advice and insights (that is what we are here for!) and as a team, we can help build your confidence for the next interview! Interviewing is as important for you as it is for the employer, it’s a two-way conversation! So, remember to be prepared with questions you want to ask.  

6. Finding help and guidance

Find a consultant you trust. They should take the day to day stress out of your job search and should counsel you and support you from start to finish i.e. finding relevant roles, managing your diary for interviews, negotiating the best offer, giving insights on the market and direction on the interview process with each company.

Good Luck!

If you have any questions or are a software engineer looking for your next role, then please connect with me on Linkedin and/or get in touch - laura@campbell-north.com 

If you want to receive more news and insights from the CN team remember to follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter

View all blog posts