Peter Mekhaeil

How I landed my first job as a software engineer

I was once an entry level developer with no experience, looking for my first door into an engineering career. I finished my studies back in 2009 and for almost a year I could not find a job. It almost felt like a blind journey from one interview to another, that all ended up in rejection because of lack of experience and knowledge. Without knowing where to look or without knowing what to research, I was mostly answering interview questions with answers that I thought was right, based on my limited knowledge in web development (my computer science studies did not include web dev subjects).

It was until my approach changed during an interview at what soon to become the first company that accepted me.

At the very start of the interview, without any thought behind it - I told the engineering manager something I’ve never said during my previous interviews: I said something along the lines of “Before we continue, I want to tell you - I do not know anything. But I want to learn”.

Everything changed from that moment. The manager continued the interview by listing their tech stack and asked if any of it sounds familiar, and my answer was no to all of them. Nevertheless, he did not mind because I showed my eagerness to learn. The interview turned into a crash course introduction to the technologies and soon after, I was accepted for the job.

Call out your area of focus so others are aware that you are know. Shawn calls this the Power of Lampshading.

For entry level developers looking to land their first job as a software engineer, it is totally okay to call out your area of focus. Let the interviewers know that you do not know the answers and you are willing to learn. This is powerful in itself and calling out your focus areas will have an impact throughout your career.