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What does an employer look for in a Software Developer?

18th June 2015

There is a huge demand for software developers in Ireland at the moment. As more startups seem to pop up every day and larger organisations push for greater technology – the developer has never been a more attractive hire.

From multinationals to the latest online fad startup - employers want to hire developers who can create clean, effective and robust code that is easy to test and hard to break. But that should describe every developer, what factors do they look for in the people they actually hire?

Passion

Building software isn’t a casual pursuit or a job you do just to pay the bills – in the eyes of employers being a developer should be all-consuming. They want to hire developers who really believe in and care about what they’re doing and can back up that passion with personal projects. Your GitHub account will be key to this, just as you would with your social media presence, make sure it puts your best foot forward.

Future proofing

Employers are looking for people who aren’t just good with the languages and technologies of the day, they want adaptive and innovative coders who can stay up to date on the latest trends and are excited by learning new skills. Remember that different languages can solve the same problem in different ways. By learning multiple approaches, you broaden your outlook and thought process and, most importantly, make yourself more employable.

Analytical thinking

Hiring managers want to gauge your ability to solve problems and understand your thought process. This is usually done by asking the developer to solve a problem on a white board and explain their reasoning behind each step. There is typically no right or wrong answer here - they are looking for someone who can clearly articulate their thought process in a structured and coherent manor. It’s worth practicing this before an interview – set yourself a challenge and walk through each step in detail. The more you practice talking through the process the better you’ll deliver it at interviews.

Team players

The right skills are critical but the team dynamic is also vital to productivity. It’s important that every hire can fit effortlessly into the team and add value. Strong examples of how you previously worked well in a team are important here - so make sure you have some prepared. They will also suggest changes to your code (completed for above); this gives the candidate the opportunity to show their willingness to take on others opinions and new approaches. Be prepared to deal with feedback – employers know there can be many ways to solve a problem and they expect you to understand if your idea isn’t the ‘right’ one.

The right fit

Every company has their own unique culture and values. Usually these are highlighted on their website and throughout their office. These values are the foundation of who they are and provide a geode for hiring decisions. More than that, individual hiring managers know their teams and their businesses inside-out. They only want to hire people who fit with their values and their way of working. Before going into the interview, you should know the values and ethos of the company and be able to explain why you represent them.
 
As a developer, you will be judged first and foremost on your code. If you write good code you will be in demand – however, to stand out you need to be both a good developer and a valuable hire. That’s where your passion, analytical thinking and communication skills can make all the difference.
 
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About the Author

Emma O'Mahony

Recruitment Consultant

Cpl ICT

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