Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Advice for aspiring software engineers

I went for my Master's Degree after living in Austin for several years and working at a low level programming job at a large company. I felt really stuck. The nature of my work hadn't changed significantly in many years, and my team wasn't even trying to keep up with new technology. I was bored and didn't see things changing.

When I completed my degree in 2008, I was now overqualified for my job, but I also lacked the experience to get the kinds of jobs I was aiming for. The economy was also a disaster. I bounced around a number of contract jobs for several years, not managing to get a reliable permanent job until 2011. Three years later, I got a call from a recruiter at Blizzard Entertainment, a company I've been a big fan of since I played Warcraft II in college. I went through two lengthy interviews and joined the web development team. I'm pretty happy with the track my career has taken.

Last December, my cousin David wrote to me on behalf of a friend in college who wanted to know how he should proceed in order to make himself attractive to employers and land a decent job. I sent him the advice below. Due to the nature of my online media activities, a lot of young people write to me with similar questions, so I thought I'd recreate the advice for everyone to read.