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Showing posts from 2016

How to stand out in a phone interview

I can still remember my first phone interview for a job. I had no idea what to expect so really wasn't looking forward to it, but it can't have gone too badly because I got the job. Now that I've been lucky enough to progress in my career to positions where I'm conducting the other side of the phone interview I've been quite surprised how little it takes to stand out from the crowd:1. Be Prepared
When booking the interview, consider how much time you'll need to get to where you can comfortably take the call. When the interviewer phones you'll want to be nice and relaxed and able to take the call within a couple of rings. If you're struggling to find your phone, not drop any paper work or find a place out of the wind / pull over in your car you will already be putting yourself on the back foot.2. Smile when you speak
Don't sound like you've just been called at 6am on your day off! When you answer the call make sure you sound happy and show th…

Interviews: Sometime it just won't be your day!

Sometimes, no matter how much you prepare, you're just going to have a bad interview! I just wish someone had given me that nugget of advice when I was starting out.If you're into fitness, as you're probably painfully aware, some days you can be really looking forward to a run / swim / workout. But when you start you just can't get into it! In these situations people generally have no problem classing it as an off day and moving on. But almost everyone expects to always be on their 'A' game when going for an interview. Obviously comparing going to the gym to an interview, the external pressures are completely different: Maybe you really need the money,Interviews are thin on the groundor you just really want the job! However just like going for that run / swim / workout, no matter how much you want it - some days it's just not going to go your way! The best thing you can do is look to see what you can learn from the experience and move on. Just like keep f…

Is your company investing in you and your career?

In my previous articles I have written about are you investing in your own career and starting out in software development. But there is another important question, is your company investing in you and your career?In my current role, I am lucky to work for a great company that values it's teams / employees and have been able to implement / roll out the following for my development and test teams:For the development team, individual PluralSight subscriptions. The test team use Ministry of Testing amongst other channelsAn hour per week self study (watching Pluralsight videos, etc) to learn about any development / test subject that they are interested inAn hour per week for each team to get together and discuss improvements / changes they would like to make to their environments / processesA weekly 1-2-1 to discuss the previous week, what they have learnt and any progress against objectives. Annual reviews become a highlight / review of that year's 1-2-1 notes; allowing much m…

Starting out in software development

If you're trying to begin your career in software development it might feel like all the positions you see are asking for previous experience and there are few opportunities to gain that required experience. In my opinion, as a relatively new industry, it feels like we're currently going through some growing pains. Companies are struggling to find suitability qualified mid / senior developers but very few organisations have a plan in place to help train the juniors required to feed into the system to generate tomorrow's mid / senior level developers.I also feel that the current (UK) education system is letting down graduates by not preparing them with the programming skills needed by the industry. It seems like it is possible to graduate a computing degree with only a few months exposure to actual development. This practical experience is critical to understanding the theory and it's application. I'm sure I'm not alone in that feeling, with Scratch and the …

Are you investing in your own career?

As developers we are in an interesting, potentially unique, industry where the bar for entry is extremely low. A large proportion of the population have access to computers / internet and many of the popular languages / IDE's are free. In fact you can start your development career with just a browser and notepad/textedit, learning HTML/CSS and Javascript and extending to Node/Angular and many other JS frameworks.This low bar of entry continues throughout the technology range for all levels of developer. Microsoft have provided a totally free version of Visual Studio (and now Code) for .NET. For Java there is Eclipse and JetBrains now provide a community version of IntelliJ for free. With a Mac and iOS device or Mac/PC and an Android device it's possible to learn mobile development; with fantastic online documentation / example code and numerous blog articles all for free. It's even possible to subscribe to various online training providers (such as Pluralsight). The…