It’s more than just “can you code”, it’s “how do you get along with the people you’re gonna work with?”

Balraj has recently landed a new developer role, even during the lockdown! A big part of his success is thanks to what he learned here at Industry Connect, so we caught up with him to ask if he had any advice for software developers who were struggling to find a job.

First of all Balraj, congratulations on the new job. What would you suggest to people who want secure an IT job?

Starting with soft skills you definitely need to be able to communicate effectively, but not just that you need to have a confidence when you speak. You can’t come in with a monotone voice or act like you’re not interested. You kind of need to show them that you are here and you want this, so having a bit more flair to your voice is really important I find.

In terms of interview process, put a smile on your face! Yes, they are there to gauge your experience and what you know, but it’s also a conversation – where you can have a bit of fun then get to know each other and lighten the mood.

So I think with all those things, the soft skills part is one of the biggest parts, it may be even more so than the technical skills because in an interview they understand you don’t know everything, they know you’re not going to answer every question correctly.

You might have a rough idea, you might not, but they’re there to gauge how you answer and how confident you are on your answering in the way you think, because you might not know it, but you might say something that’s kind of like what they’re saying and it still shows some knowledge – maybe of something else – but it still shows that you know something, that you put some thought into it before you answered the question.

Yeah, technical skills are important depending on the interview. Some of them I’m going to give you tests and they’re going to ask you rough questions, and they’re really going to rough you up. At times it feels like they’re trying to destroy you because they’re just being rude but you know they just want someone good and they want to know how you are under pressure.

So, yeah, technical skills are important but it’s not the be-all, end-all, but you should do the best you can to get to a high enough level for the position you are applying for and just know that on the job you’re always going to be learning new things.

There are soft skills that you need to fit within a company. If you don’t fit with the team, they don’t want you there. You’ve got to gel with everybody, it’s more than just can you code, it’s like, how do you get along with the people you’re going to work with and how do you fit inside the company? There are just too many factors and you can’t tunnel vision on one.

What do you think of the value of commercial experience?

Looking at the codebase of Ami and looking at the code base of where I am now, it’s different, but it’s not like I’m clueless. I have a rough idea, not everything, but some of it, enough where when they explain to me I can kind of give my feedback. I can say “yeah I understand this, and I got this part, this is where I don’t understand,” you know you’re not left clueless because you have the experience now and you’ve worked on a commercial project structure and every company on their projects is different I found.

With with AMI and where I am now, the codebase is structured very differently, there are some weird names for some of their folders and whatnot. It’s pretty different but I understand because of the commercial experience with you guys.

If I had any advice for software developers, it’s that working in a team is absolutely key, because at the end of the day it’s experience, and you get better with experience.

Would you recommend Industry Connect to everyone?

Yeah I do. It’s given me the skills I need and they give you all the tools you need, but it’s still up to you as a person; how bad do you want it?

They give you the materials to create something, but if you don’t want to create it, you’re not going to get very far, so it’s very important that you as a person use everything that’s given to you to the fullest and really just put the effort because you’ll reap the rewards in the end.


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