I recently had a check-in meeting with my career coach. I was shocked to hear that it had been 90 days since I declared my job search through my boot camp program. There are some things I have learned in that time frame that I think would be helpful for people to hear who are trying to get the first software engineering job, as the first one is the hardest. Not only have I heard that, but am living it.
Learning is something that needs to continue and should be done both constantly and consistently. One of the things I had a hard time with was trying to figure out what I wanted to learn. I ended up trying my hand at a little bit of everything I could get my hands on. Speaking with people in the field, I learned that it is best to understand a language and a framework or two very well. The deeper the knowledge, the better; this shows a potential employer that you are capable of deep learning and can translate to other languages and frameworks.
Networking is not as scary as it seems, and it is very helpful in getting your name out there. Looking back at my time in hospitality, before this pivot, I had a good-sized network within the company that I was able to land other roles with little experience in the systems. I had already proven that I was able to pick up new systems and understand the context of what we were trying to accomplish. I was also able to land a part-time contracting gig in Software Engineering based on networking through LinkedIn.
Try to find something you will enjoy. I've heard of a few stories where people have left jobs to work elsewhere based on not getting what they want out of their role. It almost seems more likely that people don't spend much time at their first job just because they realized that they wanted to do something entirely different. When you find someone who has been at the same company for years, it's usually because they are passionate about what they are doing and the company has made every effort to build a culture people love to be in.
These are a few of the things I have heard from other people who were in my shoes, who have established themselves in Software Engineering. I plan on continuing with this and keeping this formula. I had the networking portion down and found some very helpful people to speak with. I am now currently working on learning and few things to the point where I understand what is happening under the hood. I am also looking for something that I am going to be passionate about and know I am going to enjoy contributing and producing great work.