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FeaturePeek CEO Eric Silverman on Beginning your career in Software Engineering (video)

December 14, 2020  ·  5 minute read

FeaturePeek CEO Eric Silverman talks about his start in software development, overcoming impostor syndrome, and strategies for job hunting.

Written by Brad Johnson
Head of Marketing

FeaturePeek’s Eric Silverman recently joined Mintbean to share advice with new bootcamp graduates looking for their first job in software engineering. Eric discussed his path through build engineering at Apple, managing startup teams, and even his current stack at FeaturePeek. Whether you’re a new developer struggling with impostor syndrome, unsure of what job search terms will uncover that magical opportunity, or just curious to hear words of wisdom from a developer who has been through it, Eric’s presentation provides a load of insights to help equip those newly entering the professional world.

If you like this content, make sure to check out our friends at Mintbean. They’re a growing community of dev bootcamp graduates, self-learners, and other beginning developers that participate in weekly hackathons together. They offer free workshops that feature speakers from relevant startups and leading technology companies. Mintbean hackathons and workshops are intended to help new developers build their portfolios and ultimately find their first jobs in software development.

Below are some of the highlights of Eric’s workshop. If you’d like to view the whole 40-minute presentation, you can find it at the bottom of the page.

How did you get started in software engineering?

Decoding industry-specific job titles can be a barrier for new developers. “I had no idea what a build engineer was,” Eric explains, “I didn’t know what the field of build engineering was. I knew a little bit about compilers. And I knew a little bit about building software. But I didn’t know anything about the field I would spend the bulk of my career in.” That’s why Eric recommends new developers keep an open mind when searching for new jobs.

Whether you’re looking to touch all the parts of a stack at a startup, or want to build up expertise in a particular field at a large company, you can learn from Eric’s developer journey and the insights he’s gained along the way. In this video, Eric discusses how he got started in software engineering and answers questions about his first role as a software developer, what he learned while working at his first startup, and the benefits of working at a startup if you’re a new developer.

Why learn software fundamentals?

Even in a world where every question is a Google Search away, Eric suggests that it’s still important for new software developers to learn their fundamentals. “Tools change over the years; new methodologies, new platforms, new languages come up. But at the end of the day, a lot of the core fundamentals of software engineering are fundamentals for a reason and they’re applicable no matter where you are in your journey and in your career in software engineering.”

In order to better prepare for the professional world, Eric suggests new developers take their personal projects to the next level. Watch the video about to learn what Eric wishes he knew when he got started as a new software developer and some of his strategies for overcoming impostor syndrome.

What jobs should new developers apply for?

One of the best bits of advice Eric has for job-hunting software developers is that “the role you are probably perfect for might not be obvious for you.” That’s why it’s important not to take the easy way out when looking for job openings. Eric warns “it’s very easy to go to LinkedIn and type in software engineer. There’s so much you could be missing, especially roles that are really perfect for new engineers.” Look instead for positions like technical writer, sales engineer, QA engineer, DevOps engineer, and other more-specific roles to find more promising opportunities.

This video explains why many new developers aren’t aware of job roles that would be a great fit for them, things developers should know when starting their first software engineering job, and lesser-known roles that new developers should consider to improve prospects on the job hunt.

Why are interpersonal skills so important on software development teams?

“A lot of the times, especially with software engineering, it’s very easy to fall back on the fact that it’s logical. Your code compiles; it works or it doesn’t. It meets the spec, or you got all your bugs done, or you fixed this issue,” says Eric Silverman. “But so much of what you’ll find when you’re working on a team is interpersonal.” It’s important to bring your most positive self to build relationships with others on your team and create a reputation as a developer that others want to work with.

Find out how having a Growth Mindset can help transform your outlook as a new software developer and set you up for success on your new team.

How can new developers gain experience?

Personal projects are a great way to build out your developer portfolio and showcase your skills for potential employers. “Any time you’re really on your own figuring out something; that’s what real life is. That’s what developing software in a company is,” according to Eric Silverman. “So the more you can simulate that with a personal project, the better. You’ll get more reps. So much of software engineering is just doing it over and over, making mistakes, learning from those mistakes, making new mistakes, and then learning from those.”

In this highlight, Eric lists some of the best ways that new developers can gain experience while looking for a job, why it’s important to read other people’s code, and how contributing to open source projects can help you learn and look attractive to potential employers on your job hunt.

Beginning your career in Software Engineering (full video)

If you like these highlights and want to watch Eric Silverman’s full presentation on “Beginning your career in software engineering,” you can find the full video here:

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