Erik Andersen is a Senior Software Engineer and Developer Advocate at YUM Brands, the World’s Largest Restaurant Company. He is also a co-organizer of the largest developer meetup in the DFW Metroplex, and host of the Junior Jobs Podcast, where he volunteers his time to help new software engineers find their first job in tech. He lives with his wife and 2 kids in Dallas, TX.
Connect with Erik to learn more.
Listen to the Podcast Here, or Find it Wherever You Get Your Podcasts:<
Here are Five Things We Cover:
- Empathy and differentiation are key: Erik emphasizes the need for software developers to empathize with employers and differentiate themselves to stand out in the job market. This can be achieved by gaining relevant work experience, showcasing problem-solving abilities, and demonstrating passion for software development.
- Gain leverage and market value before negotiation: When it comes to negotiating job offers, Erik advises software developers to first gain leverage and market value. Prove your worth and deliver exceptional work before renegotiating for better terms.
- Soft skills matter: In addition to technical skills, employers value interpersonal skills and thought processes. Being a good team player and having strong soft skills can significantly impact the hiring process.
- Utilize LinkedIn effectively: Erik provides insights on optimizing a LinkedIn profile by incorporating relevant keywords related to your tech stack. He suggests using creator mode, registering as a “knowledge expert” in specific hashtags, and highlighting unpaid or volunteer work to differentiate yourself.
- Stand out and gain experience: Erik and Ryan offer strategies for standing out in a competitive job market. This includes reaching out directly to recruiters, applying to roles on company websites, taking on unpaid or volunteer work, and even creating openings that don’t currently exist. Being open to relocation, accepting lower pay, or working off-hours can also help gain valuable experience.
Here are Three Actionable Takeaways From This Episode
- Differentiate Yourself and Gain Relevant Experience: To stand out in a competitive job market, Erik emphasizes the importance of gaining relevant work experience. He suggests taking on volunteer work, freelance or contract projects, or even starting your own LLC. By showcasing evidence of your passion and experience in software development, you can differentiate yourself from other candidates. Additionally, Erik encourages job seekers to empathize with employers and find ways to differentiate that are meaningful to them, such as reaching out directly or applying to roles on company websites instead of relying solely on job boards.
- Leverage LinkedIn Effectively: LinkedIn is a powerful platform for job seekers. Erik offers some tips to optimize your LinkedIn profile. Start by strategically incorporating relevant keywords related to your tech stack. Utilize creator mode and register as a “knowledge expert” in specific hashtags to highlight your skills and gain endorsements. Don’t downplay your aspirations in the professional summary and include all relevant work experience, even if it was unpaid or volunteer-based. Erik shares his own experience of leveraging unpaid internship work as a stepping stone to secure a formal software engineering role. Showcasing volunteer or unpaid work on LinkedIn can help differentiate you from other candidates and demonstrate your dedication.
- Demonstrate Problem-Solving Abilities in Interviews: Technical interviews can be nerve-wracking, but Erik offers insights on how to prepare effectively. Instead of focusing solely on providing correct answers, emphasize your problem-solving abilities and thorough thinking. Employers value interpersonal skills and thought processes during the interview process. Erik also highlights the importance of showing quality-driven development by asking questions, writing unit tests, and commenting through the problem-solving process. Make sure to showcase evidence of your passion and experience in software development to leave a lasting impression on interviewers.