I’m finishing university, scared about future career prospects

06 April 2024

Hey, my name's Kalesh, I'm 22 and about to finish my bachelor's in August. Planning to be a software engineer. But, I keep hearing the job market's tough. Been reading online that lots of devs are struggling to find steady gigs. Is your company looking for any devs? What's your take on this?

All my buddies are in the same boat, fighting to land jobs but everywhere demands at least 1-2 years of experience. And then there are those who brag about making six figures, saying anyone can do it. So who to believe? Can anyone really make it, or is the industry just too saturated with newcomers?

I'm freaking out a bit because I really need to start making good money. I want to move out and get away from my family. I don't want to sound like I'm not open to other types of work, but I've tried the whole tech customer support gig, and it was a disaster. I need something more engaging, something that challenges me and makes use of what I've spent the last few years learning. No patience for that support stuff.

Got any advice?


Dear Kalesh,

First off, let me congratulate you on nearing the completion of your bachelor’s degree in computer science. This sets a solid foundation for your journey ahead in the tech world. I understand the concerns and uncertainties you’re facing โ€” breaking into the tech industry can indeed seem daunting, especially when you’re bombarded with mixed signals about job prospects and success stories. Let’s unpack some of that.

The tech job market is indeed competitive, and at times, it may seem like it’s oversaturated with talent, especially at the entry-level. This perception is compounded by the high number of graduates entering the job market each year and the specific, often experienced-based, requirements companies list in their job postings. However, this doesn’t mean that opportunities for new grads don’t exist, they’re just scarcer.

Many companies, including mine, do look for fresh graduates. We’ve hired a few junior developers last year. While we do value experience, we also invest in individuals who show promise, eagerness to learn, and the ability to adapt. We’ve established connections to universities who send us potential good fits and we in turn hire them if they’re good. We also do events with the universities to find potential candidates.

Though I must say, most of the “good” students usually have at least some portfolio by the time they graduate or some internship under their belt. Having no experience at the end of your studies is a yellow flag that the person was not really focused on building their career. Having experience definitely gives you bonus points when we take a look at your CV.

Regarding the disparity between those struggling to find jobs and the stories of six-figure salaries straight out of college, it’s essential to understand that these are two extremes. The truth for most lies somewhere in between. Yes, some manage to land high-paying jobs due to a mix of skill, timing, and sheer luck. However, for many, the journey involves starting at more modest positions and working their way up as they gain experience and prove their value.

The key is to remain flexible and open to different pathways that might lead you to your ultimate goal. This might include internships, contract work, or positions in smaller companies or startups, where you can gain a broad range of experience and have a more significant impact early on. A lot of startups are looking for eager juniors who have the energy to work weekends. Though I don’t support such engagement, this will definitely give you enough experience to land a decent position after it.

My advice is to leverage every resource to gain experience at your disposal. This includes your university’s career services, alumni network, tech meetups, and online communities. Additionally, consider working on personal projects or contributing to open-source projects. A filled out GitHub can significantly enhance your portfolio and demonstrate your practical skills and passion for software development. They can be a huge differentiator in a resume. Find like minded people, build stuff together, get your hands dirty, encounter as many bugs as you can.

Remember that your career is a marathon, not a sprint. The tech industry is vast and ever-changing โ€” keep pushing forward, stay curious, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help and mentorship along the way.

Warm regards,

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