Who Is This Book For?

The advice in this e-book is aimed at computer science and software engineering undergraduates looking to join the computing industry in the United Kingdom, either for an industrial placement year or after graduation.

You might also find this advice useful if you’re looking for your next move inside our industry.

Please remember that this book is exactly that: advice. You’re joining an industry where you’re expected to think for a living. That goes doubly so when you’re trying to land a job in the first place.

It’s A Challenging Time To Be Graduating

You are job-hunting during the worst economic downturn in living memory, and possibly the worst economic downturn for over 100 years. You probably know that already. You probably also know that here in the United Kingdom, the computing industry has no shortage of vacancies that it can’t fill. It feels like everyone is hiring right now, all across the country. Global tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon are turning to the UK to find more engineers, creating even more vacancies that you can apply for.

It should be easy to land a job after you graduate, right?

Look around at your fellow computing students. Less than half of them are going to find jobs in the computing industry within six months of graduating. More of them will be unemployed than the graduates from any of the other subjects taught on campus. This pattern will be repeated up and down the land.

According to the UK’s Higher Education Careers Service Unit (PDF), 8.6% of Summer 2011’s graduates were unemployed six months after graduating. Amongst computer science and IT graduates, that figure is 13.9%. Across all of the different groups of graduates, Computer Science and IT graduates are the most likely to be unemployed 6 months after graduation. Only 47.3% of those with jobs are working in the computing industry. The figures for Summer 2010’s graduates were little better.

There are lots of vacancies in the computing industry, and yet graduates in relevant fields aren’t filling them. Employers are becoming more and more discerning in who they hire, and knowing how to sell yourself to an employer is more important than ever if you want to get a job in computing today.

Many Candidates Don’t Do The Basics

You could be exactly what an employer is looking for, but if the employer can’t tell your application apart from all the other ones that he has received, then he’ll never know - and he’ll probably never hire you. You have to make an employer want to hire you.

Fortunately, it isn’t rocket science. There are many things that you can do to catch an employer’s eye. Some of them are simple, and they’re about making sure you get the basics right when you make your application. Some of them are more involved, and they’re about making sure you’ve got the basic skills that an employer is looking for.

The good news is that most of the other candidates that you’re competing against are currently not doing these things either. I’m not just talking about your fellow graduates; I see applications all the time from people with five years or more of experience who are also making these mistakes.

How This Book Can Help You

This e-book will hopefully show you how to put yourself across to a prospective employer in a way that makes it easy for them to spot what you have to offer them, to increases your chances of successfully finding a job in the United Kingdom’s computing industry.

Recruitment processes vary from employer to employer. I’ll take you through the most likely steps that you need to get through. I’ll explain the process from the employer’s perspective first, and then from your point of view as someone applying for a job. A better understanding of what the recruitment process is, and why, will help you avoid the common pitfalls along the way.

The second part of the book is more about you, about what you need to do to be prepared for when you join the industry, either during an industrial placement year or when you graduate and leave academia. Ours is a multi-disciplined industry where things change rapidly, so to help you prepare, I’ve finished off the book with some lists of the fundamental skills that industry expects you to have before you start your first job.

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