The tech industry compensates employees well, but some companies are widely known for extraordinary compensation and outstanding benefits. When you are looking for a job, it is tempting to set your eyes on one of these companies as a goal. You may have heard that the odds are slim, and feel that it is unrealistic, but these companies do a lot of hiring and have established practices in place. There are ways you can boost your chances of scoring a job with one of these elite companies.
Earn Your Degree
One benefit of working as a computer programmer is that your work can speak for itself. It is possible to get a job coding without a degree in computer science, but if you are aiming for one of the big companies, you really should earn your degree. There are a variety of reasons why this is so important. The first is that having that undergraduate degree allows you to get past filters that reduce the number of applicants interviewed for a position. By filtering out those without a degree, the pool automatically narrows. Once you score an interview, your strong coding skills will speak for themselves, but without a degree, you may never make it that far.
An undergraduate degree in computer science, math, statistics, or a related field will also provide many beneficial skills that will make your life easier both when applying for a job and when working in the field. Understanding how to code is different than knowing the nuances of writing clean code, running tests and bug reports, and defending your approach to coworkers. If you are concerned about paying for school, consider taking out private student loans to cover the cost. You can borrow money for both tuition and living expenses while you are attending school.
Practice Coding Under Pressure
Once you make it to the interview process, expect to show off your coding skills. While you will participate in a more traditional interview process, these large, competitive companies will have a hands-on coding scenario as part of the interview process. The idea of writing code with an audience is stressful, but everyone must do it. Your interviewers have seen plenty of others perform, and may provide encouragement or hints. It never hurts to explain your thinking process out loud as you code so they can get a better understanding of your approach. There are online sites you can use to practice coding on the fly. It is not exactly like the interview process, but it will help build your coding strength and confidence.
Make Your Move in a Few Years
If the idea of moving directly into one of these competitive jobs straight out of school seems overwhelming, consider waiting a few years. Working at another, more low-key tech company for a few years is a great way to solidify your skills. You may be surprised at the number of recruiters that reach out to you from more prestigious companies once you have some experience working in tech. It is important to keep your skills up during this time, practice coding challenges, and keep up to date on new tech, so you are ready when an opportunity arises.