There’s no doubt that the Irish tech scene is thriving and Dublin, in particular, offers a seemingly endless list of opportunities for a software engineer. But when it comes to those opportunities, it should come as no surprise that some are more lucrative than others. And yes, you guessed it, the competition for those roles is often quite fierce.
With Ireland in the midst of its worst talent shortage in almost two decades and 81% of employers struggling to fill roles, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it's a candidate’s job market. While this may be true to a certain extent for junior roles, it’s certainly not the case for senior software engineer jobs. To land those roles, you’re going to need a mixture of skills, experience, and a little luck.
Below we’ve compiled some of our best tips and strategies to help you in this regard. While these tips may not land you the role, they’ll certainly help you to make the most of your opportunity to impress.
Build a Competitive Edge
Standing out from the crowd is key to landing any role and while your personality and attitude will certainly play a role here, there are other ways that you can gain an advantage over the competition.
Software engineering covers so much that to say it’s vast would be a huge understatement. This is why specialising in specific niches or aspects of software engineering can help you in the hunt for that senior role. For example, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cybersecurity are niches that have an increasingly high number of opportunities at senior level. Recruiters and hiring managers in these fields will certainly see specialisation in these areas as a differentiator.
The tech field evolves at such a rapid pace that to pause even for a moment is to be left behind. Regardless of how long you have been in the industry or how extensive your experience is, there’s always room for growth. Showing that you are actively engaged in improving your skills and staying on top of trends in your field will display the kind of attitude that companies are always on the lookout for especially when it comes to senior roles.
At Software Placements we have found that some candidates will play down their achievements and experience rather than showcasing them. In some cases, they may not even realise how to go about showcasing their relevant experience. This is why it’s essential that you include every skill attained throughout your career alongside all those achievements no matter how minor you may feel that they are.
Most importantly though is the ability to show a track record of verifiable results that highlight those skills and achievements.
Your Network is Everything
We’re not going to say that it’s all about who you know, because the Irish tech industry really isn’t like that at all. But knowing people, even through online platforms such as LinkedIn, can certainly be an advantage. It may not land you an interview, but being connected with people in the Irish industry means that you may be lucky enough to hear of opportunities before they are placed on jobs boards.
And if you know enough people, the chances are that a hiring manager may just know one of your previous employers or colleagues.
Preparing for the Job Hunt
Assuming that you have already built that competitive edge, now it’s time to get prepped for the job hunt.
Create an Impeccable CV
Your CV is a digital (or paper!) representation of your working self. So needless to say, it has to impress in all the right ways. But most importantly, it has to be tailored to your current career objective. While it’s all well and good keeping your CV updated as you progress through your career, there’s a little more to it than simply adding your latest experience. A CV objective and summary that was first written when you entered the job market as a green junior engineer won’t cut it for a senior role.
We always recommend that you rewrite your CV each time you consider changing roles. This allows you to make it more relevant to the type of roles you are currently applying for and more impactful to the hiring managers that are reading it.
Mastering the Interview
When it comes to an interview in any industry, the most important thing you can do is to be well prepared. Try to get an understanding of the types of interview questions that you might face and have a rough idea of how you would answer. These could include anything from behavioural questions to determine your suitability to the team’s dynamic or technical queries designed to test your skills.
On that note, make sure that you are prepared for the technical aspect of the interview. What we mean by that is the actual skills tests that you may need to undertake. It might be a good idea to search out some skills tests online to ensure that you are up to speed.
Talk to Recruitment Agencies
Okay, so it goes without saying that we highly recommend that you talk to a recruitment agency about finding the right role that suits your talents and experience. A solid recruitment agency such as Software Placements will make sure that you only apply for roles that you have a good chance of securing. This saves both you and the employer time and means that you are fully focused and prepared for a select number of interviews. This is much better than the scattergun approach we’re sure you’ll agree.
Remember Your Online Presence
You have two main platforms that are ideal for software engineers looking to take on a new role; LinkedIn and GitHub.
LinkedIn is ideal for networking and staying connected with the movers and shakers in the industry. It’s also a great spot for seeking out opportunities and connecting with hiring managers and recruiters. You can even set up your profile so that only recruiters can see that you are open to new opportunities.
GitHub is where you display all of your work. This is your online portfolio and a place where recruiters and hiring managers can take a look at your skills and accomplishments. So yes, it’s absolutely essential that you have an up-to-date GitHub account showcasing your work.
The Money Talk
There’s a lot of misunderstanding associated with the topic of salaries within the interview. Some people feel that it’s an unwritten rule that candidates don’t broach the subject at all in case they seem motivated only by money. But let’s be honest, everyone knows that making a good living is the primary motivation for most people when they seek out a new role. Sure, there are other factors that enter the equation, but the simple fact is that we all work for money.
With this in mind, talking about salaries should be part and parcel of the interview process. Of course, it may not be the first thing you discuss, but you should never fear talking about salary expectations and the package on offer.
Once you are in the negotiation phase, you’ll need to be able to articulate why you have arrived at the figure that is your desired salary. To do this, you’ll need to do some research and understand the average salary for a senior software engineer. You will also need to have a good idea of your own value with regards to experience and your skills and how this aligns with your expectations.
Above all else, you’ll need to be confident in yourself but still open to some compromise. After all, a long-term career path with the company could lead to much greater benefits than an extra €5k in your starting salary.
Remember that securing a senior software engineer role is no mean feat and making it to the interview stage can, in itself, be challenging. But once you stay proactive in your learning and strategic in your job hunt, you can give yourself the best possible chance of landing that lucrative role.
Better yet, let a professional recruitment agency with years of experience guide you along the way and make sure that you only apply for roles that are ideally suited for your skills. Get in touch with Software Placements today and let’s see what we can do to help you take the next step in your career path.