Interviews at IT companies: what a Junior has to know about

You’ve just completed a course, finished higher education, or you think about changing a job to start something completely new? There is no relevant experience as well as no portfolio, so how to pass an interview and get a long-awaited offer? Find out in the checklist from WEEM.

What IT specialists are most in demand?

In December 2021, there were 250,000 IT specialists in Ukraine, which is 50 K (24%) more than a year before.

According to HR portals, there is a lack of developers in all areas, as well as analysts, QA engineers, and HR managers.

What about beginners or Junior/Trainee specialists?

Newcomers experience problems with employment more often. Specialists of this level have very high competition in IT. Companies don’t hurry to invite yesterday’s students to their teams because there can be need in teaching or reskilling them on non-commercial projects.

How to start a career path?

Most commonly, the standard path begins during the senior years at university. While studying, a student understands the basics of programming and algorithms to form the basis for a further profession.

You have to choose a direction and a further development path on your own. However, you can ask the experts for help. For example, at SkillsUp you can sign up for a career consultation and build a complete career path.

Don’t miss the opportunity to communicate with the IT community at meetups, conferences, intensives. Or visit free webinars to find out what a particular profession is about and how it resonates with your interests.

What to write in a CV?

On average, an IT recruiter spends from 15 seconds to 2 minutes on a CV analysis. To make an impression during this time, describe your skills for the vacancy you apply for in a clear and structured way.

A detailed checklist on a CV, how to pass an interview and what to do if you don’t pass it.

How to develop further?

IT is a dynamic and fast-growing industry. Even after successful employment, it’s necessary to improve yourself, and upgrade soft and hard skills on a continuous basis.

You can attend conferences and webinars, communicate with the IT community and make presentations, share experience and expertise, as well as train newcomers. It’s also a good idea to try on different roles.

The main advice for a junior developer is not to stop at employment in an IT company, but to continue growing. A Junior due to little experience receives simple tasks. If a specialist doesn’t take care of self-development and upskilling, then there is a possibility of “getting stuck” with light routine work for a long time.

How to become a Middle quickly? There is an opinion that you need to gain about 5000 hours of experience on projects. In fact, try to solve as many diverse tasks as possible in order to increase your level of knowledge and skills.

Upgrade your knowledge and skills with 📶SkillsUp!

CV checklist for beginners

1. Indicate one position you want to apply for. One position = one application = one CV and one cover letter.

2. Describe the technology stack you can work with.

3. If you only want to develop in a specific role – for example, as a project manager or a business analyst – you should indicate this moment.

4. Attach your projects on GitHub, Behance to your CV, or describe what tasks were completed, what graduation projects or other examples of work for the chosen position you have.

For developers, there is an additional tip – pay attention to the code quality, its commentability and used patterns.

5. Provide information about your education – a university, a college, courses. For example, you completed training for a Project Manager position and developed an IT project from scratch. Tell about it, publish the completed project and attach a link to your CV.

6. To hit the top of the list, tell about all the technologies which are relevant for the chosen position that you know how to work with.

7. While trying to stand out, the main thing is not to overdo it. The CV should be, first of all, readable: with correct indents, structured blocks, with no more than two fonts. An interactive CV can have a WOW effect or to push away.

8. When adding a photo, select it carefully. A portrait photo is ideal, not a group one or with a pet.

9. Don’t neglect your cover letter. It helps to draw attention to your CV one more time. It should state why you want to get into a certain company and what position you are interested in.

The next step is about preparing for the interview.

Find out more about the job and the company. Believe it or not, a prepared answer to this question will show your interest and add a few bonus points for a recruiter. Take a look at a corporate website and learn more about the company, projects, products.

The theory is always important. For example, if you try to get a QA specialist position, then you must definitely understand what techniques and levels of testing exist. This is basic knowledge, its absence will show incompetence and unwillingness to learn the profession.

Be ready to practice. A developer may be asked to share a screen and solve a problem in some language, while a QA engineer may be asked to write an SQL query.

Self-presentation. Rehearse a story about yourself with someone close, a cat or a mirror. Confident self-presentation will show your soft skills: speaking and communication skills as well as the ability to emphasize and highlight the main things.

Prepare your workspace. If the interview is planned via Zoom, then check a sound, a camera, and that there are no unnecessary objects in the background in advance.

Interview stages at IT companies

There are usually three main stages, but it may differ depending on a company:

The Initial Interview with HR

HR discusses the main details of the vacancy with a candidate in advance and invites to chat either online or in the office. The objectives of the interview are to clarify the experience, a suitable format of work, salary expectations as well as to get to know each other better.

Typically, a manager, who recruits specialists for a team, makes up technical knowledge requirements (hard skills) and soft skills. If necessary, there can be a test task for the candidate.

The Test Task

The size and terms of implementation depend on the position and can take from one or two days up to a week. Some test tasks can be on a paid basis.

The Technical Interview

An interview with a technical expert and / or a head of the department shows how a specialist works while solving real tasks.

Evaluation Criteria

Each IT company has its own system for assessing the specialist’s skills. As a rule, the following key data are taken into account:

  • Experience consists of work on commercial projects and the complexity of solved tasks.
  • Hard skills. It’s about knowledge of the language, frameworks and skills related to a vacancy.
  • Soft skills and knowledge of non-core technologies. For example, a back-end developer is familiar with Go and Angular, knows how to make decisions, has presentation skills and is clearly focused on the result. This knowledge isn’t mandatory, but will be a big plus.

If you fail the interview, be sure to ask for extended feedback in order to understand what skills should be improved. To fill the gaps, it’s not necessary to take the course again, you can take an intensive or attend a workshop in the required sphere.

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