Often, software developers struggle standing out among other candidates and landing interviews. Even developers with bachelor's degrees can't seem to stand out against the rest of the crowd. This is because most developers make the same mistakes when it comes to organizing their portfolios and conducting their job search.
The first mistake is failing to choose a career path and sticking to it.
There aren’t many ways to go wrong when choosing to transition into a career as a software developer. There are dozens of subfields and niches that will be in-demand for decades and are deeply interesting. So, when it comes to choosing a path for your next career move it’s best to not overthink it. Spend some time exploring each of the fields, pick one and then get started.
However, it’s important to remember that once you’ve chosen a path that you must stick with it long enough to see results – no field is much better than the others. Once you’ve really got a handle on one you can choose to switch to another - but if you’re constantly switching between paths, you’ll never establish the experience you need to be successful in that role.
The second mistake developers make is attempting to cover too many bases, and learn everything under the sun in order to impress hiring managers.
However, this means most developers end up as a jack of all trades, and not particularly useful to employers. Most companies are looking for "T-Shaped" developers - developers with a shallow understanding of many related technologies but also having an expertise or specialization in a particular technology or field.
Find a technology or field to specialize in and build your resume and portfolio around that specialization. Then target companies who are desperate for that specialization. You will instantly stand out from the crowd.
How do you choose a specialization? If I listed a few here, everyone would grab them and the market for that niche would evaporate.
It's important for you to choose a specialization that's your own - that means looking at the companies that appeal to your unique senses and passions, understanding their business and their open job roles - then tailoring your resume and portfolio to obliterate the hiring manager's expectations. If they didn't hire you, it would be a huge mistake and they'd always remember you as their "white whale" - the one that got away.
With a clear vision of what kind of role you'd like to have, a portfolio that reflects expertise in an in-demand field, and a job search strategy that gets you in front of people desperate for your skill you will stand out against a sea of generic software developers.