Getting hired in the competitive technology industry can be extremely difficult for new engineering graduates. A recent report from the New York Times indicates that more than half of all students graduating with computer science degrees cannot find a job in their field.
However, while landing a position in Silicon Valley can be challenging, one form of employment is thriving: contract work.
Experts from San Francisco Bay University suggest that students consider this type of employment to make their way into the tech world.
Here are some tips for entering the field:
1. Build a Portfolio
While new graduates may not have their projects on their resumes, they can still build a portfolio of work. Start by working on open-source software and web development projects.
Working on these projects is free and gives job-seekers a chance to demonstrate that they can create things other than lines of code.
This type of effort can lead to freelance gigs, which will eventually translate into full-time employment.
Another option is to create your own startup company and continue building the product until it reaches a point where you have something tangible to present in an interview setting.
2. Be Flexible
When searching for work, new graduates should not limit their job search to one type of company.
Instead, it’s smarter for them to cast a wider net and be open to different types of opportunities. For instance, getting in with a small company might lead to the opportunity to take on bigger responsibilities than at a larger firm.
3. Work for Free (Temporarily)
While it might be a bitter pill to swallow, new graduates will need to consider working for free. In some cases, students may even have to make this sacrifice for several months before finding a job.
However, there are also opportunities to work for free in exchange for college credit. Plus, building experience is invaluable no matter how much or how little you are paid.
4. Take a Step Back to Move Forward
There may come a time when a technology student has all of the pieces in place for a career but cannot secure employment in their area of expertise. In these cases, it might be necessary to take a step back and try something less competitive.
However, this should only be viewed as temporary. If you are unable to move forward at one company, try contacting another for a position. On the other hand, if an opportunity does not present itself after several months of searching, it’s time to take another route entirely.
5. Be Patient and Keep Looking
As tempting as it may be, one should not limit their job search to a single position. It’s often necessary for students to remain patient and continue looking for viable employment options.
In some cases, a promising position becomes available just as a student decides that they have exhausted all of their resources. It can take months or even years, but finding work is worth the wait.