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To many people, software development is a chance to pursue their interests, enter a dynamic industry and reignite excitement for your daily work. Though changing your job to a technical field like IT will probably require a lot of effort, it’s not impossible. Many software developers are proof of that. Read this article to learn what you need to do to switch your career to software development.

Reasons to change your career path to software development 

A career change can be a serious and difficult decision. It often means that you’ll have to find your footing on an unknown ground, rethink your future plans and, most importantly, dedicate significant time and effort to gain necessary skills. Before you make the jump, you might want to ask yourself: Why software development?

Companies are still investing in their IT efforts 

Despite news of layoffs in major tech companies in the recent months, many companies are still investing in their IT – whether that means recruiting experts in-house or outsourcing external teams. These companies recognize the importance and impact of digital transformations, especially in uncertain times. For many organizations, effective, skilled software development teams can be a source of much needed innovation that increases a company’s resilience and offers more business value.

There’s an increasing demand for software developers

The major role of software development in companies across various industries translates directly into a growing need for software engineers. At the same time, there are simply not enough engineers to fulfill this demand, and the situation won’t be resolved any time soon. In other words, companies are actively looking for software developers. Of course, many job openings are aimed at more experienced people, but there are also plenty of organizations that offer internship programs or look for motivated junior developers that they can further train.

Software development offers plenty of learning opportunities and challenges

In software development you never stop learning. To be able to keep up with markets, emerging technologies and excellent teams, you have to constantly expand your knowledge. The projects will also keep you on your toes and challenge you to think creatively, solve problems and take part in internal, knowledge-sharing initiatives such as Guilds. If you get to work in a company that values its engineering teams, you can be sure you’ll never be bored, and every day will present rewarding opportunities.
Of course, the list doesn’t have to end there for you. Depending on your priorities, you might also take into account the flexibility that many software development teams offer in the form of hybrid or remote work and flexible hours. There are also the interesting and – particularly in the case of software outsourcing companies – versatile projects you’ll get to work on that have a real impact on the world; just think of financial services, healthcare or ecommerce solutions. Figuring out why a career in software development appeals to you will help you make a concrete decision about a career change.

How can you switch your career to IT?

Entering a new industry usually doesn’t happen overnight. But it doesn’t mean software development is completely out of your reach if you have no IT background or prior experience. Many software engineers who are now in senior positions changed their careers which had been unrelated to software development. One of the Software Minders with a similar story is Adrian Zając, an Android developer who majored in Asian Studies, but who also found a passion for app development.

 

Here is some advice from Adrian on how you too can switch your career to software engineering.

Dedicate time to gain new knowledge and skills on your own

While it’s useful to have someone who can guide you in your quest to learn new skills, you can learn a lot on your own. There are courses, online video tutorials and written materials available for self-study. It’s also a good idea to test your knowledge by building an app, even if it’s just for practice.You shouldn’t focus solely on studying technical theory, but also explore work methodologies. It’ll pay off in the long term once you land your first job in software development. As Adrian explains, “I was positively surprised that my skills and the practices I applied were reflected in the real world. I read a lot of articles from practitioners on what they thought about certain solutions and what methods they recommended. It proved very valuable and, more importantly, useful in practice, and helped me navigate working on a project according to the most recent recommendations. I still read a lot about good practices and recommendations, though, now that I know more, I find it easier to choose reliable sources and articles. You can find a lot of information on Twitter, Reddit and blogs run by practitioners.”

“These days I look for specific information, because I know what interests me and what I want to find out exactly,” he adds. “In the past, I would just read everything I could find because, with little knowledge, it was difficult to focus on the specifics. Everything was new and interesting.”

Don’t forget about your soft skills

While technical knowledge is, of course, a must, the soft skills you already have will also come in handy in your new job in software development. What skills exactly? From Adrian’s experience, “creativity and widely understood problem-solving skills, a mindset where you’re ready to look for different solutions, including out-of-the-box answers. I also really like it when things are well-organized, which is useful in IT.”

Make a plan

“As with anything new you want to learn, it’s important to make a roadmap and plan it out by topic and within timeframes, so that you can pursue specific materials, rather than getting lost in the ocean of information out there. A lot of roadmaps are available through online courses, but I would recommend making a plan on your own,” Adrian advises.
He also points to the topics you can cover in your learning roadmap. “I’d recommend you don’t learn just one language, but instead focus on principles. Quite early, start reading up on software design, how to write good and clean code and how to create reusable components.”

Find your motivation

Gaining new skills on your own requires determination, self-discipline and effort. Once the initial excitement fades and you encounter first problems – e.g., your first attempt at writing an app fails – doubt and discouragement might creep in. To keep up momentum, it’s a good idea to identify what motivates you to learn software development in the first place.

For Adrian, it was the feeling that IT was the right path for him. “It interested me, and I wanted to learn more. Without this active interest, I wouldn’t be able to motivate myself. I’ve always been interested in computers, how you can connect and install things, and later I got more into programming.”

“If you’re predisposed, you believe this industry suits you and you’re aware that the entry threshold is high, it’s really worth trying. A lot of people get discouraged by the bulk of material you need to know to get accepted even for an internship – if you haven’t studied Computer Science before, it can be overwhelming. Attitude is key,” Adrian summarizes.

Ready to kickstart your career in software engineering?

Finally, for an optimal start in IT, it’s best to look for organizations that will support your further development and champion the best software engineering practices. Learning from a supportive team goes a long way to boosting your career in a new field.
Are you already looking for exciting positions in software development? Check out our job opportunities and apply to work on interesting projects and keep developing your skills.

 


Adrian Zając

 

With a love for solving problems and an innate need to build and create, Adrian is constantly looking for challenges where his outside-the-box thinking might be valuable. In his 4 years’ experience as an Android Developer, he has worked on a variety of projects and learned a lot of tricks of the trade. Aside from mobile development, he loves making music, creating games, ice skating, hiking and cooking.

Have you ever thought about going on a workation with your family? Our Work n’ enjoy program gives you the perfect opportunity to take in the beautiful, diverse Tenerife landscapes, work comfortably in a far-from-home office and spend quality time with your loved ones. There’s a ton of post-work activities to choose from, like climbing the Teide volcano, visiting the penguins of Loro Parque or catching some rays on a beach. Check out this interview with Senior Software Engineer Dariusz Cichoń to find out what he and his family enjoyed the most on their Work n’ enjoy trip.

 

Q: Hello, Darek. You’ve recently returned from Work n’ enjoy in Tenerife. Personally, when I think about Tenerife, I picture a sandy beach, calm waves and huge palm trees. Was this the view that greeted you upon arrival?

A: Basically yes. I was surprised by the diversity of nature. It’s not just the sea and palm trees. Even when we were passing by the Teide volcano, I imagined it completely differently. There are a lot of sandy beaches, but also rocky ones. I had never been to Tenerife before, so this was my first impression. Oh, there are a lot of banana trees there, which surprised me.

Q: You were traveling with your family. Who did you take on the trip?

A: I was with my wife and a year old son. I organized the trip there mainly for them.


Q: How did you spend your time in Tenerife? Which attractions did you visit?

A: We visited Loro Parque, mainly so our son would see something too. He was very interested in the penguins – it’s probably his favorite attraction. We also climbed the Teide volcano. We had the opportunity to check out two observation points on the volcano.

In addition, we visited a beautiful beach with sand brought from the Sahara. Probably the prettiest beach we’ve been to. We also saw the Masca Gorge. We couldn’t go there, but we went to Masca itself. It was a very interesting route – a rather narrow lane leads to this town. We mainly visited beaches to relax after work and catch some sun. And for the child to play, dig holes and “get dirty” in the sand. This was probably the greatest attraction for him.

Q: What’s the most memorable part of this trip?

A: Seeing the volcano, I think, because it’s probably the most picturesque place. In general, seeing all this nature. The view we enjoyed daily could be compared to Greece, where you also have palm trees, access to the sea and rocky beaches. It was different when you went a bit further into the island. Completely different nature – there are no palm trees, only individual trees growing between rocks. It’s a very lunar landscape. In general, it’s a sudden change – half an hour earlier you were driving by the beach, and now it’s all rocks and isolated trees.

Q: Two different worlds, not so far from each other.

A: Yes, exactly. That’s the phrase I was looking for: two worlds that are right next to each other, separated by completely different nature.

Q: Since Work n’ enjoy also involves work, how did you like working in a new environment? Do you think this trip has improved your well-being?

A: I think so. I certainly adjusted my working hours a bit, which I had discussed with the team, of course. I started work at 7 a.m. Polish time, and it didn’t significantly affect the cooperation with the team, because our meetings were arranged so that when I finished work at 2 p.m., it was 3 p.m. in Poland, and it didn’t put any strain on the whole team. Thanks to this, I had more time for myself and I could spend it how I wanted in Tenerife. I can even say that I didn’t mind getting up so early, because, for one, I knew that there were attractions waiting for me – be it the beach or a trip to a new, unknown place.

Q: What would you say to someone who’s never heard about Work n’ enjoy? Would you encourage them to go?

A: Definitely. Even more so if they’ve never been to the location before, because it is an opportunity to combine work with visiting new places. And, above all,because you can rest after work. I don’t know if it’s just me but when I’m in Poland and I work from home, the time outside of work seems to spill out a bit. In the past, when we were in the office, there was a moment when we would finish work and go into an “after work” mode. When we are at home, there is no clear cut-off point. But on the trip you simply wanted to step back; you finished work, and your thoughts were instantly somewhere else.

Q: Finish the sentence: For me, Work n’ enjoy is…

A: A lot of thoughts come to mind. For me, Work n’ enjoy is an opportunity to step back after work and completely relax. Not to mention that it offers a fantastic location. Just seeing a new place and the diverse nature is probably the greatest perk. And, of course, the warm, lovely weather.

With IT talent in short supply and the post-COVID landscape radically impacting ways of working, talent pools and job markets, talent acquisition teams and recruitment departments have their work cut out for them. How can software development companies stay ahead of the competition and recruit the skilled experts they need to ramp up delivery, increase scalability and deliver disruptive solutions? Read on to find out.

A shortage of IT talent is not new, and not going away 

The lack of IT talent is a problem that affects all sectors and markets. According to a study by Korn Ferry, a global consulting firm, there will be a global talent shortage of 85 million people by 2030, resulting in USD 8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues. In the IT sector, the talent shortage is not only impacting staffing issues, but broader industry development. Gartner reports that IT executives see the talent shortage as the most significant adoption barrier to 64% of emerging technologies. Not having enough talent is considered more of an obstacle than implementation cost (29%) and security risk (7%).

The COVID-19 pandemic has also influenced how people work and their expectations, especially as regards remote work. As a result of the pandemic and subsequent social distancing measures, travel restrictions and lockdowns, the world experienced a huge shift to remote working models, which, as time goes on, employees and employers are less and less likely to want to abandon. One survey of CFOs indicates that 74% intent to shift some employees to remote work permanently.

While working remotely all the time will obviously appeal to certain companies and employees, some combination of on-site and remote work, the ubiquitous ‘hybrid model’, will probably be the most popular working model going forward. Indeed, HR consulting firm Mercer reports that 70% of employers plan to adopt a hybrid work model. This means that IT talents are not bound by geographic limitations, so the question isn’t “Which is the best software house to apply to in my city?” but rather “Which is the best software house to apply to in the world?” Companies are now competing for talent on a global scale, since a top-notch programmer, developer or engineer can easily work across time zones and continents from the comfort of home. Given the success of remote work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘local talent pool’ or even ‘nearshore talent pools’ are terms that may be a bit outdated.

What were small, local pools with the occasional glimpse of big, global players has become one global pool with big and small companies competing against each other. The hard truth is, there is one talent pool that everyone is competing in, so talent acquisition teams need to distinguish themselves, and the company they represent, in a way that effectively communicates the opportunities on offer and leaves a positive impression on all recruits, whether they join the company or not. There are three keys to effectively meeting your staffing needs: having the right recruitment team in place, fully understanding your organization’s needs and honesty.
The feared shortage of talent is here, and the expected fierce competition is here – now it’s time to sink or swim.

 

Create a recruitment team that fits your culture and reflects your values 

As an external representation of your company’s values and culture, your recruitment team should be distinguishable to that of your competitors, just as the products or services you offer are. It is essential to build a team that fully understands what you do, where you come from, and more importantly, where your company is going. Establishing a company culture that resonates and educating your employees about your culture should be the top of every CEO’s to-do list. Recent research indicates that 77% of people in the US, UK, France and Germany consider a company’s culture before applying for a job.

This information is essential. In the IT world, and the software outsourcing industry in particular, recruiters are responsible for finding premium talent that suits a project or client’s needs and then persuading them about the advantages of joining their company over another. Of course, recruiters need to weed out unsuitable candidates but more importantly, they need to make a successful sales pitch to the ‘can’t miss’ talents.

Your talent acquisition team should be hungry for knowledge – about your company and what it offers, about your competition and the market you operate in. Having this curiosity for the world they are in will empower your recruiters to effectively understand their audience (highly sought-after IT talents) and communicate your organization’s unique benefits and opportunities. As in all areas of life, automation is making inroads in recruitment processes as well. This should be welcomed with equal parts enthusiasm and caution. To the first point, automation can speed up processes and make them smoother, especially in terms of making it easier for candidates to track their progress through the various stages of recruitment. If done well, automation can enhance the experience and make it more rewarding. However, direct contact with candidates is essential, and automation cannot replace this human contact. Technology should augment human capital, not replace it.

 

Eliminate organizational silos and align recruitment, business, sales and marketing

It is an indisputable fact that information silos can cripple organizations. That’s why it’s so vital to have a clear understanding between your talent acquisition team, external clients and internal stakeholders like project managers and hiring managers. Without everyone aligning on needs, requirements and goals, time, energy and resources will be wasted, and targets will not be achieved.
Central to ensuring a cohesive strategy across departments is communication, and specifically a feedback loop that delivers relevant information in a rapid manner to the right people. Are suitable candidates being selected for the right roles? If not, why? What are actionable items and how can the talent team modify its approach? Can the desired candidate’s profile be adjusted? Should a requirement be ignored, or criteria exchanged as a means of increasing the pool of applicants? Answering these questions requires the active participation of all parties.
Processes can always be improved, and recruitment is no exception. Engage in open discussions with the departments you’re trying to find people for and establish the strategies which are working well and those which could better. Analyize data, measure your effectiveness and verify that the tools you are using are the best. If not, don’t be afraid to try different ones.Honesty is the best policy, in recruitment as in life.

Employee working on computer in Software Mind office

The American comedian Groucho Marx once said “The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” Of course, the real measure of a company is not having to fake it. If your company has established a culture that emphasizes values that are authentic and support its mission and vision, then there will not be a need to be misleading.
Your company’s culture and the benefits you offer should speak for themselves. Don’t exaggerate and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Even if this deception works in the short-term (and you can hire a few candidates), the long-term reputational harm it can cause is not worth it. According to Glassdoor, 50% of candidates say they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation, even for a pay increase. As well, sugar-coated phrases might not stand up to scrutiny, and experienced candidates will call your bluff.

Beyond working on cutting-edge projects with interesting clients, developing news skills and receiving adequate financial; compensation, today’s IT talents want respect. The best way to demonstrate respect is by being authentic in how you represent the company and genuine in how you form relationships.

Without having these strong fundamentals, your talent acquisition team will not be able to compete in today’s hyper-competitive market. The importance of having the right people with the right skills to do the right job at the right time, combined with a lack of IT talent and cutthroat competition to secure these engineers, means more and more companies are turning to external software developers, like Software Mind, who can deliver dedicated development teams. Get in touch with our experts to find out how you can secure the talent you need to increase your scalability, ramp up your software delivery and get your solutions faster to market.

 

Maciej Matkowski - Head of Talent Acquisition at Software Mind
Author: Maciej Matkowski

 

 

Bio: As Head of Talent Acquisition at Software Mind, Maciej oversees the team in charge of recruiting talent for a rapidly expanding organization. A wide industry background and experience as a vendor, headhunter and account manager empower Maciej with a comprehensive understanding of all sides of the recruitment process. Passionate about helping IT experts find their dream job, Maciej believes in augmenting a human approach to recruitment with data-driven strategies that leverage cutting-edge innovations to enhance recruiters, not replace them.

Software Minders come from diverse backgrounds and can be found across the globe. We have common values, but different experiences and opinions. We’re proud of the amazing talents we have and want to shine the spotlight on our team, one Software Minder at a time. 

Q&A: Get to know a Software Minder!

Piotr getting ready to catch up with a client in California

1. Could you tell us about yourself and what you like most about what you do, in a few sentences? 
I’ve been interested in computer science since I saw a computer for the first time. In primary school I coded in Pascal, then switched to Delphi, finally to c#. Javascript is ok in my book (did some node.js and angular development). I switched my career to management because I noticed a big gap between the business perspective and IT crowd perspective. Thought I could help to close it a little bit. Still trying…

2. Why do you believe in Software Mind’s ability to engineer impactful software? 
I believe in Software Mind’s ability to create better developers.

3. What gets you most excited about starting your workday?
Having a problem to solve. Singular. Trying  to tackle too many problems at once will make you miserable, not motivated 😉

4. Why is it important to work for a company that provides purpose and encourages development? 
Why do things that do not have purpose (that you are aware of) and which do not help you learn from what you are doing (yes, you get paid but also you “lose” 1/3 of your life working)?

Piotr with Software Minders in California. L- R: Xavier, Wojciech and Grzegorz

 

5. What’s your favorite part about being on the Software Mind team? 
Being part of a team with great people.

6. What are the highlights of your job? 
Emails? Kidding. Meeting new people and solving problems (the later hasn’t changed since my early days as a developer)

7. If you could only listen to one song while you work, which one would you choose? 
Anything by Dead Can Dance (great “work music”. Seriously)

8. Best snack while working?
Wasabi peanuts (makes you as sharp as a razor)

 

 

Checking out San Francisco Bay with Software Mind CEO Grzegorz

9. Describe your job in 3 words.
Mistake, learn, repeat

10. What’s the worst thing you’ve spilled on your laptop? 
Ha, I’ve never spilled anyth… oh wait. Cuba libre.

11. Most used app on your phone? 
Facebook, GraphicAudio (SF audio books), inPost

12. Describe the rest of your career in 5 words.
We will do amazing things

13. Edison or Tesla? 
Graham Bell

14. Tabs or spaces? 
Spaces, take one step at a time instead of one big leap in an unknown direction

 

Taking a break with Xavier

15. Which animal would do your job the best? 
Eeee… a parrot?

16. Is the battery half full or half empty?

Half full, I charge it quite often 😉

17. Favorite show to binge watch?
Old anime TV series (90s and early 00s)

18. What words do you overuse? 
Sunshine, basically

19. Is it ok to put pineapple on pizza? 
Oh yes. I love Hawaiian-style pizza.

 

 

 

Interested in working with Piotr?
Check out our job offers: https://careers.softwaremind.com/

Working remotely from seaside locations surrounded by palm trees doesn’t surprise anyone anymore. Yet workation opportunities rarely feature among employee benefits offered by companies. When you work at Software Mind, you can take part in the Work n’ enjoy program and join your team calls from an apartment in Tenerife or Croatia!

What’s it like to work during such a two-week trip? How can you spend your free time there? What should you do before the trip? Our Software Engineer Mateusz Nowak, who had his first Work n’ enjoy workation in Tenerife earlier this year, shares his impressions and tips. Read the interview and see what your next trip could be like!

Q: You were recently in Tenerife and I’d like to ask you first – how did it happen that you landed there? Where did the idea for the trip come from?  

MN: The company information came by email; I had to fill in a form and choose a date that suited me. The idea was cool, so there was no doubt that I had to pack and go!

Q: What was your impression of Work n’ enjoy? Are you satisfied with this trip? 

MN: Yes, I am very pleased. I liked everything; the possibility of working from a different, fun and warm place is great. I liked it so much that my fiancée and I have already booked an apartment in Croatia for a private workation. 

Q: What other advantages do you see in this program? What did this trip give you? 

MN: The possibility to visit places where I probably wouldn’t go myself. I can work normally, I don’t have to take a vacation and I can visit some cool parts of the world. That was also great. The sun, weather, swimming in the ocean made this trip more attractive, because after work you could go to the beach, relax, eat good food and drink good wine. It was really fun, very positive. 

Q: How did you organize your work? Did you have any organizational problems or difficulties while working? 

MN: No, the only difficulty in the beginning was that the time zone is slightly shifted and you have to get used to it, but it wasn’t really a big problem, because it’s only an hour. Besides, there was a desk, an armchair and internet, you don’t need more. Everything was fine. 

Q: Many people wonder if in such very attractive circumstances it is possible to focus 100% on work. How was it in your case? 

MN: You know, the first day is a challenge, because there’sa new environment and you need to absorb everything, but after this one day, when we got used to this new reality, it was okay. There are duties and tasks that must be performed and you have to remember that this is not a vacation. I had no problem with that. Everyone who was traveling at the same time was also working, so it made things easier. 

 

Q: How did you spend your time after work? 

MN: In different ways, actually. After work, on a working day, we either just went to the beach or stayed in our apartment, we went swimming, I went jogging along the ocean, but we also had some smaller trips, kind of “everyday duties,” such as shopping. When it was after work, on a weekend or on the long weekend in May, as it happened, we were just visiting the island, going to various places – to the mountains, visiting cities, to the ocean… 

Q: So I understand correctly that you would like to go again if there was an option? 

MN: Yeah, it would be great! I would probably like to go somewhere else now, although I would also like to go back to Tenerife. 

Q: How attractive do you think it is for the IT industry? 

MN: I think it’s very attractive and that it could actually be permanent. I imagine it could be “another Multisport”! 

Q: And the last question, could you give some advice to people who are still considering signing up for Work n’ enjoy? 

MN: Just don’t think too much, just book an appointment and go because it’s great. It’s also good to prepare a list before the trip, what you would like to see in the area you are going to, check if a car will be needed, as in Tenerife, how much it costs. It’s just worth seeing in general what there is to see and preparing a little.