Students: do you want a job as a software engineer?

Getting a job. It can’t be that difficult can it?

Finding a suitable graduate to join our software team. We’re told how students struggle to find work, so it should be easy, right?

Wrong.  Last year we were looking for 4 graduates on our software team – 2 in Edinburgh and 2 in Newbury. I spent a large part of last year reviewing CVs and interviewing, and by September (when I gave up) we had only managed to fill 3 of the positions.

I have been astounded by the poor quality of the CVs (I’ve blogged about this before), and the unsuitability of the students who attend the interviews. What we’re looking for is pretty basic: we want

  • someone who can think
  • someone who can code
  • Someone who delivers
  • Someone who can communicate and work as part of a team

Pretty simple. So why is it so hard to find? Why do we get applicants who struggle to write a for loop on the whiteboard? Maybe students just don’t know what is important – we get graduates talking as if they’re going to be coming straight in as managers, for goodness sake!

So to give them a chance, I’ve started going in to our local universities – the University of Edinburgh and Heriot Watt – giving talks about the things that matter.

Here’s the presentation I’ve been giving on getting hired as a software engineer in a high-tech company, based on my experience over nearly 20 years, reviewing thousands of CVs, interviewing hundreds of candidates and hiring tens of engineers.

It covers:

  • what the job is like
  • what we look for
  • how to structure your CV to entice us
  • what to expect in interview, and how to impress us there
  • things you can do now to increase your chances of getting a job with us

If you’re looking for a job, read it now, digest it, and update your CV. Oh yes, and once you’re done, send your CV to – we’re looking for graduates again this year. It’s an exciting, challenging job working on audio products which go into the market leaders in mobile technology, and we have a range of software jobs from DSP firmware, through drivers and operating systems to customer tools. See the presentation for more details.

This entry was posted in Interviewing, Jobs, Students and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Students: do you want a job as a software engineer?

  1. mkaufman811 says:

    Brilliant! I wish someone would’ve come to my school when I was in University and told us what the market was looking for. Gives me an idea to do the same for local universities here …

  2. Hi – this is a great post (although I know I am coming to it late now!). Can I reblog it at

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