4 Signs That Show An Employer Is Serious About Its Company Culture

“Company culture” can seem like a pretty intangible thing, especially when you’re thinking about your first job. You might not have the experience to know what actually makes it more than just an HR slogan.

Company culture is made up of the tangible experiences you have working there—and it couldn’t be more important.

Using Dell—an industry leader in company culture—as an example, here are four signs that show a company is serious about its culture.

#1: A Meaningful Work/Life Balance

Maintaining the balance between your work and your personal life is extremely important for your health, job performance, and overall satisfaction. Plenty of companies understand that happy employees are good employees, and few things make people happier than being able to have a rich life in and outside of the office.

But it has to be more than just expressing a commitment.

At Dell, if you work at any of the tech giant’s offices around the world, there are a ton of options with regards to scheduling your work. Some employees work from home for all or part of the week to cut down on commuting and inefficiency. Other employees work the same amount of hours in four days each week (instead of five).

Dell aims to have 50 percent of their workforce on flexible schedules by 2020. That’s the kind of proof you should be looking for when it comes to understanding work/life balance at a company.

#2: Genuine Commitment To Diversity

A company or team without diversity not only deprives you of the personal growth that comes from understanding people unlike yourself, but also makes concretely worse decisions. Companies AND people succeed when there’s diversity—so, yes, it should be an important factor.

It can be hard to tell whether a company employs a diverse group of people, particularly because diversity can mean a lot more than what is visibly apparent. Beyond that, corporate websites and verbal commitments can often oversell certain aspects of the company culture. One way to cut through the noise is by looking at what objective third parties and former employees have said. Check out the company’s diversity and inclusion ratings and see how credible organizations have rated them.

Dell was placed on DiversityInc’s Top 50 and was recognized by The Economist for their excellence in diversity and inclusion. Dell also does more than just hire people—they support them. Whether that means advocacy groups, accommodations for holidays and disabilities, or flexible work hours to fit people’s myriad obligations, the company is constantly thinking about its employees’ happiness.

#3: Openness To Innovation

Most companies rely on innovation to drive their business forward. But some companies truly expect it from every corner of their team. How do you figure out which is which? Here are a couple ways you can find out more about what exactly innovation means at a certain company.

For starters, ask about “intrepreneurship.” How has a select group of major tech players managed to stay at the top of an industry that revolves around advances? Simple: They’ve encouraged all of their employees to use the company as a venue for innovation. (Dell has an annual “Game Changers” competition where employees from around the globe pitch to executives who can opt to fund their ideas.)

If an employer can’t provide you with specifics about new products or businesses started by employees, then that may be a sign that the “culture of innovation” is just a phrase.

#4: Ethics And Impact

It’s important to know what kind of company you work for. Do they take responsibility for their actions? Do they contribute to the communities they’re a part of? Essentially, you need to know whether a prospective company makes the world a better or worse place.

This is where hard facts matter the most. Awards and accolades given from third parties are usually for a reason. So, when Dell has taken home trophies for their efforts to cut down on their carbon footprint or for being the largest global recycler of electronics, you know that it’s because they did and they are.

There are things like community engagement, manufacturing practices, and much, much more that you should look out for. There are many ways to make an impact—positive or negative. Companies who take ethics seriously usually have employees who do, too, and it can be great to be around people who care.

And Beyond…

Little things like dress code, snacks, and social events can make a huge difference in helping you adjust to a new city or new stage of life. So, don’t forget about these aspects of company culture, either.

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Being An ‘Intrapreneur’

When we hear “innovation,” it’s hard not to think about the classic success stories and the images of people tinkering with old-timey motherboards in the pursuit of scientific progress. That’s where so many key tech companies like Dell started, after all. But it’s important to remember that it’s not the only way it happens.

There’s a reason major players in tech can manage to stay in the game for so long: Creative and technical geniuses innovate within the structure of their large corporations. The business world has taken to calling this practice “intrapreneurship,” and it could be the way that you manage to thrive as an innovator.

What is intrapreneurship?

Intrapreneurship—in contrast with entrepreneurship—is the practice of creating, pitching, and getting funding for your own business idea or product while working as an employee within a larger corporate structure.

“It’s a new kind of product or a new kind of business,” says veteran intrapreneur and Dell Product Manager Juan Vega. “It’s about identifying new opportunities and leading from the front.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT DELL AND APPLY FOR OPEN JOBS HERE

In the same way that you would start your business on the outside, you have to build a team, invest your own time, and aggressively seek sponsorship from execs in the right department. “You can’t lead from behind,” Juan stresses. “You have to take a risk and say, ‘I really think it’s worth doing something.’ And then you have to go and create the story and the arguments and the support and everything else you need, just as if you were out solo in the business world.”

How Juan tapped into a multi-billion-dollar business.

Juan knows a thing or two about intrapreneurship. Having spent more than 20 years at Dell, Juan has worked on (and started!) countless new businesses and products for the company.

For example, in 2008 he was running the successful Optiplex team, but he wasn’t feeling inspired by his role. “They figured out the formula and it was on track. It was doing great and winning everything. It wasn’t taking a lot to improve it; it just needed someone to keep it going,” he says.

As an innovator, Juan was ready for his next challenge. “I was bored, basically. I ended up looking at the market and thinking, ‘Where are we underserved?’ I started looking for that opportunity,” he says.

He settled on the small business market. The business packages and hardware were just too expensive at that scale. However, it didn’t have to be this way, and Juan knew that. “We had a ton of pricing conflicts. We had a cost problem that wasn’t being resolved in that space,” he says. “So, I found a backfill and got out of the job I was in, once I had sponsorship to drive this new business space.”

The result? “We built a new desktop and notebook business that was specifically focused on driving down costs and meeting the needs of the small business owner. And that’s a billion-something dollar business today.”

How can you do it? It’s all about the company culture.

An intrapreneurial culture is not the only thing that makes a company successful—there are plenty of established businesses that got to where they are by moving methodically and sticking to their guns. There are also flagging industries in which companies will be much more risk-averse because they just aren’t thriving. And it’s those types of companies—whether they’re cautious or just plain old conservative—that you have to avoid if you’re trying to find a place that will let you innovate.

If you’re someone who likes the idea of contributing to a larger team, having steady pay and benefits, and getting exposure to the workings of a major corporation, but you still want to make something new, then you have to make sure you find a company with a culture of intrapreneurship.

LEARN MORE ABOUT DELL AND APPLY FOR OPEN JOBS HERE

“It’s never about asking permission,” Juan explains. “You get permission along the way. You get investment dollars. You get head count. You get project teams. [At Dell], you get whatever it is you need to create that new business.”

How does this happen at Dell? According to Juan, it’s the people. “It’s because of the kind of people who are happy at Dell. We’re a pretty type A company. It all started with Michael in his dorm room. It’s people who are in a lot of ways self-motivated—entrepreneurial-type people— who just happen to be working in a giant corporation,” he says.

“And when you mix the two together, what you get is people who tend to ask a little more forgiveness than permission, and tend to bring opportunities to light as a part of their normal roles and responsibilities.”

What Is Supply Chain Management?

If you’ve ever heard of supply chain management, you might be wondering exactly what it is and how it fits into other areas of business. To find out the answer, we recently sat down with Dr. Cynthia Kalina-Kaminsky. She’s the president of Process & Strategy Solutions, and she gave us some great insights into supply chains and how they impact the economy.

Here’s what she had to say about working in supply chain management.

What exactly is supply chain management?

Supply chain management is not a new concept. But it’s definitely a concept that has changed in recent years. At its core, it boils down to satisfying customer demands and finding the most efficient ways to get a product from the manufacturer to the consumer. For example, when you buy a phone, a supply chain is responsible for manufacturing that phone and for all of the steps involved in getting it delivered to you.

In recent years, supply chains have become more complex, and this has led to new challenges. “Companies used to think they had basically one supply chain,” Dr. Kalina-Kaminsky explains. “Now, because there is such an abundance of supply, we create supply chains to satisfy what customers value.”

What this means is that companies require more processes in order to serve their customers better. The good news? With increased demands come increased opportunities for employment and career development.

What types of jobs are involved in supply chain management?

Supply chain management includes everything from data analysis to transportation management. The key to finding a role that’s a good fit is knowing where your interests lie. You then have to develop skill sets to match them.

Dr. Kalina-Kaminsky recommends doing this by identifying what you’re passionate about. “What do you find yourself coming back to?” she asks. Whether that’s working with data, developing processes, or working closely with other people, supply chain management involves all sorts of career options that could work for you.

Is supply chain management a cross-functional industry?

Because a supply chain has so many moving pieces, working in supply chain management absolutely involves some degree of cross-functionality. Although there is some variation depending on the role you pick — for example, a data analyst will likely have a less cross-functional position than a transportation manager — most roles in the industry do rely on team-oriented processes to deliver results.

Is supply chain management a good field for recent grads?

“Globalization has opened up more competition, leading to increased supply chain requirements,” Dr. Kalina-Kaminsky explains. As a result, there are now increased demands that can’t be met by the existing older workforce. “Baby boomers are leaving the workforce and few are being trained to take their places. On top of that, many were or are in legacy jobs that need to be updated for today’s realities,” she emphasizes. Because of these gaps, there is an immediate need for fresh talent to enter the field, not only to fill existing positions but also to help create new ones.

Working in supply chain management is an exciting chance to learn about the processes that power a consumer-driven economy. It’s also a great opportunity to participate in a field that is rapidly changing and evolving to serve a new generation of consumers. If turning that opportunity into action sounds like an exciting prospect, then supply chain management might just be for you.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Top 10 Things You Should Look for In a Company and find answers to common interview questions such as Are You Willing to Travel?

3 Things You Didn’t Know About the Aerospace and Defense Industry

The aerospace and defense industry is full of incredible achievements, and a career in this area will put you at the forefront of future advances in engineering and technology for aircraft, spacecraft, watercraft and more. If you’re considering working in aerospace and defense, below are three things you might not have known about industry leader Lockheed Martin and the industry as a whole. These facts might prove helpful when you’re interviewing for a job in this field and want to prove you’ve done your research.

1. Lockheed Martin’s U-2 Dragon Lady aircraft can ascend to 70,000 feet.

This aircraft nearly doubles a commercial airplane’s cruising altitude, and it reaches most of that height in roughly the same amount of time it takes a passenger plane to get to 35,000 feet. The U-2 Dragon Lady is a spy plane that took its first flight all the way back in 1955, and has an average mission success rate of 97 percent. When it’s not completing spy missions and flying beyond the reach of radar, it’s used to help with disaster relief efforts during and after earthquakes, floods or forest fires. At its highest altitude, it connects to satellites, making worldwide communication possible. And Lockheed Martin had the first U-2 up in the air just nine months after they started the program to build it.

2. Landing on Mars might not be so far away.

Lockheed Martin is the contractor behind the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, a NASA spacecraft engineered to bring humans into deep space for long-term missions. Currently, Lockheed Martin is studying what it will take for humans to travel farther into space than ever before, and be able to return home safely. Their goal is to bring humans to Mars by the year 2028. It’s all part of a NASA initiative called “Journey to Mars”.

3. The space industry has been using solar power since the 1950s.

The popularity of solar power may seem relatively new to most of us, but for the aerospace industry, it’s been used for over six decades to keep the power running on spacecraft. A satellite called Vanguard 1 was launched in 1958, with power from solar cells keeping it in orbit. It claims the title of “oldest man-made satellite in orbit”.

Working in the space and defense industry means you’ll be contributing to a legacy of record-breaking achievements and impressive feats of science, math and technology. Want to learn how to get a job in space and defense? Check out our guide to the industry.

What Does an Intelligence Analyst’s Job Look Like?

Being an intelligence analyst is an exciting career path that requires critical thinking and an analytical mindset. You’ll play a key role in decreasing both physical and digital threats at home and abroad. If you’re thinking of becoming an intelligence analyst, you might be wondering what a day on the job looks like. Depending on your specific role and the company where you work, a day on the job might include one or more of these assignments.

Gathering Critical Information

Intelligence analysts are some of the most thorough researchers out there. In this role, you will be tasked with finding out as much as possible about the subject assigned to you. Collecting this information can take many forms: fieldwork and interviewing, location searches and computer research to compliment your work in the field. Once you have completed your research you will then compile it into a report to share with your company so they can take the necessary next steps.

Data Analysis and Threat Assessment

An intelligence analyst’s job relies heavily on data collection and analysis to pinpoint potential threats in their home country and in countries across the world. You’ll be looking at details related to geography, historical events and statistics, and putting all the puzzle pieces together. With this information, you’ll build a more complete understanding of risks to determine what details are beneficial, and what information is misleading or not considered a threat. Your data analysis and threat assessment work could be used to improve intelligence, reconnaissance or surveillance efforts, monitor for foreign computer network operations or deploy technologies for countering cyber attacks.

Crisis Management

When it comes to intelligence analysis, ensuring everyone at your company knows how to respond properly to threats is a critical part of the job. In this function of your role, you might build, maintain and update crisis management plans and protocol. You might also organize exercises to train others at your organization on the importance of crisis management to make sure the threats you can’t anticipate are handled before they get out of control. You will also gather data about the state of your company’s crisis management solutions and present your findings to your team.

Being an intelligence analyst comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility, but it is also an incredibly rewarding career path with the potential to make a positive impact not just on your own country but around the world. By having a clear idea of what to expect from the role, you’ll be able to set yourself up for success and land the job you want.

Top Interview Questions in the Aerospace and Defense Industry

A career in the aerospace and defense industry is an exciting opportunity for your work to have a lasting impact—not just on your company but on the lives of the people your work will protect. If you’re considering a job in this area, you might be wondering what to expect from the interview and how to set yourself up for success. There are a range of aerospace and defense career paths you can take, from working in engineering to quality assurance to maintaining and repairing aircraft electrical systems, and each of these will come with its own unique set of interview questions. That said, the following questions will likely come up in some form during your interview.

Why do you want to work at this company?

Whether you’re interviewing for a job in quality assurance, mechanical engineering, or any other job within the aerospace and defense industry, your interviewer will want to know that you’re serious about the position and passionate about contributing to the next generation of air and space innovation. To prepare for this question, make sure to research the company, including its past achievements. Highlighting specific details about the company’s work and tying that work into your own interests and experience is a great way to demonstrate that you will thrive in the role.

Tell me about a time you were in a stressful work situation. How did you handle it?

This question is designed to test your problem-solving skills under pressure. Any job within the aerospace and defense industry requires a lot of responsibility, and your interviewer will want to make sure you’re up for the challenge and can keep cool even when the stakes are high. When answering this question, it’s important to be as specific as possible. Describe the stressful situation and talk through the steps you took to get your work done quickly and effectively. How did you decide what to do? What was the outcome of the project?

Tell me about a project that didn’t work out. What did you learn?

In the aerospace and defense industry, you’ll likely encounter your fair share of challenges as you and your team test out new tools, technologies and processes. Your interviewer won’t just want to hear about your past successes—they will also want to know how you respond to failure. No one likes talking about this, but being able to show your interviewer what you’ve learned from a project that didn’t go according to plan is extremely important. In a fast-paced, ever-changing field like this, you’ll need to be adaptable. Often, you’ll be working on brand-new projects, which means there will be a lot of testing and learning along the way. When answering this question, focus on a project that didn’t go smoothly but still had a big impact on your work.

Tell me about a time you challenged popular opinion.

The most important advances in any field often happen when someone doesn’t accept that “we’ve always done it that way”. This question is used to understand how you react when the opinion of your peers conflicts with how you think things should be done. It isn’t easy to stand up and state your opposing opinion—especially when you’re the only one in the room that has it. However, your interviewer is likely looking for someone who is confident enough in their research and understanding of technical topics to speak up in these situations. To answer this question, clearly explain why you challenged popular opinion, how you communicated your perspective, and how you were ultimately able to show others the benefits of your suggestions.

What are your biggest career goals?

Lockheed Martin believes that even entry-level employees are an essential part of building game-changing aerospace and defense technologies. This question is designed to test how motivated you are to pursue a long-lasting career in this field versus working in this industry for a short time. This is important, since jobs in the aerospace and defense industry often come with high stakes and a lot of pressure. Those who are most successful have a clear sense of where they want to take their career.

Interviewing for a job in the aerospace and defense industry might seem a bit intimidating at first, but by knowing what to expect and how to prepare your answers, you’ll be sure to impress whomever you speak with and get one step closer to landing the job.

Types of Jobs in the Aerospace and Defense Industry

There are a range of job opportunities within the aerospace and defense industry, many of them targeted toward those with a strong aptitude in science and math. If you have a passion for aerospace and defense, odds are there’s a way to channel it into an exciting, fulfilling career. The challenge is deciding what path is right for you. To test out different careers within this industry, consider taking a paid or unpaid internship during college to get first-hand experience, build up your skillset and get you closer to figuring out the best aerospace and defense entry-level jobs to apply for.

Here are some of the most common jobs within the aerospace and defense industry.

Aerospace engineer

In this role, you’ll be working on military-grade vehicles and systems that can hold up during battle on land, at sea and in the air. Aerospace engineers typically have a background in areas like mechanical and systems engineering, design, structural analysis, and propulsion. Within the field of aerospace engineering, you could specialize in assignments like flight tests, mission systems or airframe structural analysis and design.

Systems engineer 

As a systems engineer, you’ll be responsible for building technology with a wide range of uses, from collecting threat information to protecting infrastructure to monitoring the climate. Data will be at the center of your job, and you’ll often work with software development teams to build software that helps improve aircraft function. You’ll also find ways to better analyze and interpret recorded data.

Electrical engineer

As an electrical engineer, your team will be be responsible for designing and building electronics for spacecraft, aircraft or helicopters. In this role, you could work on improving systems for airspace management, surveillance, satellite communication and navigation. You might also focus on the use of alternative energy sources within the aerospace and defense industry.

Flight inspector

In this role, you’ll be responsible for keeping your company’s essential aerospace and defense systems running smoothly. Your job will be part maintenance and part anticipating and solving potential risks before they become problems. In short, your work will provide critical support for all of the game-changing technologies being built at your company.

Mechanical engineer
As a mechanical engineer your work will improve a range of technologies, including robots, engines, heat transfer systems and controls for aircraft and spacecraft. You’ll research, plan, design, develop and test new systems that span a wide range of aerospace and defense applications. At Lockheed Martin, mechanical engineers have been behind both the Hubble Telescope and the Phoenix Mars Lander. That means, your work will have far-reaching applications and contribute directly to the future of the aerospace and defense industry.

Quality assurance engineer
In this role, you’ll be responsible for ensuring every piece of technology and every process created by your company is as best as it can possibly be. You’ll work to meet and exceed quality requirements and come up with even better ways to improve the performance of everything your company builds and does. Your focus might be on software, systems, service, manufacturing, hardware or program management quality.

If you’re interested in working in the aerospace and defense industry, you have a wide range of career paths to choose from. To ensure that you pick a position that’s right for you, it’s important to figure out where your interests lie and to pursue a role that you’re passionate about. Whether that ends up being a flight inspector or a mechanical engineer, the skills you’ve developed in school and during any internships will definitely help you shine.

What is the Aerospace and Defense Industry?

Professionals in the aerospace and defense industry might build aircraft, watercraft, spacecraft or weapons, or focus specifically on manufacturing the parts needed for each. They might also build information systems for processing and interpreting complex data. Typically, companies in this field manufacture their products for military, federal government or space programs. If you’re interested in pursuing a career path in the aerospace and defense industry, here’s what you need to know.

What roles exist within the aerospace and defense industry?

There are a range of positions within the aerospace and defense industry, many of them highly technical. If you’re interested in working in this field, you can look into positions including:

  • engineer
    • aerospace, electrical, mechanical, systems, quality assurance
  • flight inspector
  • aircraft electrician
  • … and more

What does someone in the aerospace and defense industry do?

Aerospace and defense industry professionals are responsible for a wide range of jobs, and your work will be critical, both for your own company and for the protection and defense of the people who use the vehicles and technology you help to build and maintain. For example, an electrical engineer might be responsible for designing and building electronics equipment for spacecraft, aircraft or helicopters. Meanwhile, aerospace engineers might work on military-grade vehicles and systems that can hold up during battle, whether by land, air or sea.

What is a typical salary for someone in the aerospace and defense industry?

Salaries in the aerospace and defense industry vary significantly, depending on your specific career path. Aerospace engineers and flight inspectors earn an average of $82,000, while quality assurance engineers and electrical engineers earn an average of $72,200 and $72,600 respectively. Meanwhile, aircraft electricians earn an average of $61,100, while physicists earn an average of $105,000.

Entry-Level Mechanical Engineering Job Guide

Many full-time mechanical engineers that are recent graduates are expert problem solvers. They enjoy creating physical devices or products that enable people to do the things that they want to do.

What is an Entry-Level Mechanical Engineer?

At larger companies, entry-level mechanical engineers are often specialized and working on a single critical component of a far larger machine. For example, an engineer at Ford might work solely on the crash beam for a car to ensure it holds up appropriately in a collision and meets the needs of the industrial designers. At a smaller company, a medical device startup for example, an entry-level engineer might be simultaneously working with everyone on the team to refine an entirely new device.

Common Responsibilities of Entry-Level Mechanical Engineers

Some primary tasks include things like:

  1. Researching problems to solve.
  2. Sketching out possible solutions to the problem.
  3. Using Solidworks and similar modeling software to flesh out possible solutions.
  4. Constructing physical prototypes of devices or mechanisms.
  5. Testing the quality and success of the prototyped contraptions.
  6. Presenting or sharing test results and ideas with other engineers, industrial designers, product, and business team members.
  7. Overseeing the actual construction of the products they’ve designed.
  8. Seeking out feedback and iteratively improving their solutions.

Types of Entry-Level Mechanical Engineering Jobs

As you can see, there are quite a few different tasks that beginning engineers can be asked to do. When you consider that larger companies will often require specialization into a single task, it’s obvious that there are quite a few different types of entry-level roles for mechanical engineers.

Salary Expectations

The median salary for entry-level mechanical engineers is $63,792.

The range is $49,430 – $81,029.

Location is one the largest factors in calculating salary, so it’s particularly helpful to consider the entire salary range.

The Bureau of Labor expects the number of mechanical engineering jobs to grow by 5% (about average) over the next 10 years.

Who Typically Gets These Jobs

Every year, we survey over 20,000 students and recent grads in an effort to understand the internship and entry-level job market. Based on the results of our State of Hiring report, the students or recent graduates that apply to these entry-level jobs have several things in common:

  • They are pursuing or have gotten at least a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering or Product Design. Occasionally, Electrical Engineering majors will pursue and get hired into Mechanical Engineering jobs.
  • Most applicants to mechanical engineering positions are looking to work at mid-size companies.
  • San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and San Diego are the most popular destination for engineering grads.
  • They tend to be very career oriented. Not many mechanical engineering majors are looking for jobs other than those found under the Mechanical Engineering umbrella.
  • 25% of graduating seniors majoring in engineering have no internship experience.
  • Over 45% of seniors majoring in engineering have taken an online course related to their major.

Related Entry-Level Fields

Even though it’s unlikely that Mechanical Engineering majors seek jobs outside of their major, it does happen. When they do go outside, here are the areas they’re most likely to look at:

  1. Electrical Engineering
  2. Computer Science
  3. General Engineering

Additional Resources

  1. It never hurts to brush up on a few mechanical engineering topics. You can take a few online courses to get back in the swing of things.
  2. For more salary information, head over to Payscale.
  3. For more advice on starting your entry-level job search, check out our guide!
  4. And finally, to prepare for an entry-level job interview, prepare for the top 20 entry-level job interview questions.

Search for Entry-Level Mechanical Engineering Jobs Now

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Entry-Level Job? and find answers to common interview questions such as Tell me about yourself.

How to Become a Software Developer

If you’re considering a career as a software developer, then you might be wondering about the best way to get started. What are some things you can do to set yourself up for success and land the job of your dreams? Should you take attend networking events or build a portfolio of your work?

Here are the relevant steps to take if you’re thinking of becoming a software developer.

1. Figure out what types of projects you want to work on

One of the key parts of becoming a software developer is deciding what kinds of projects you want to work on. Are you interested in solving complex technical challenges or building products that will be used by a lot of people? This is the time to assess that. Once you have an idea of your interests, take some time to research relevant companies in order to determine the type of role that best fits your skills and interests. For example, if you’re interested in getting hands-on experience with a broad range of applications, then you might want to consider working for a small company that will give you maximum exposure to those technologies. On the other hand, if you’re interested in doing a deep dive into a specific type of project, then working for a larger company that will let you specialize in one area might be the right option for you.

Pro Tip: Knowing what type of brand you want to work for is just as important as knowing what kinds of projects you want to work on. This is because being passionate about your work extends beyond the technology itself. By finding a brand that aligns with your broader interests and goals, you’ll be more likely to understand the problems the company is trying to solve and to enjoy coming up with the solutions.

2. Develop your skill set by taking relevant classes

Becoming a software developer requires having an understanding of certain front-end and back-end technologies and knowing programming languages such as Java, C++ and Python. In order to develop your skill set, it’s important to take relevant computer science classes in college and to use the skills you learn to develop projects of your own. This will show potential employers that you’re proactive about building your skill set and that you’re able to use those skills to build features.

Pro Tip: If you’re not a computer science major, that’s okay too. You can still develop your skills by taking a few computer science classes as electives or by teaching yourself to code through online programs like those developed by Khan Academy or CodeCademy. Since more and more developers are self-taught these days, not having a formal education won’t count against you as long as you can demonstrate your ability to build products.

3. Take on an internship

One of the best ways to develop your skills and figure out what types of projects you want to work on is by taking on an internship. This will give you a chance to get hands-on experience in a tech role while also helping you to identify your personal work style and determine the type of work environment that best fits that style.

Added bonus: Since software developers are in high demand at the moment, you’ll not only gain valuable experience during your internship but you’re likely to be well compensated too.

4. Build your portfolio and professional network

In addition to developing your skill set and taking on an internship, one of the other key steps to becoming a software developer is to build your portfolio and professional network. The best way to achieve both of these things is by creating a profile on a platform like GitHub or Stack Overflow where you can showcase projects you’ve developed and contribute to open source projects that other developers are working on. This is a great way to establish your personal brand and to connect with other developers.

Becoming a software developer is an exciting and challenging career path that will give you the opportunity to work on interesting projects and come up with innovative technological solutions. The best way to find out if being a software developer is right for you is by interning at a tech company and getting a feel for what the industry is all about.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Top 10 Things You Should Look For in a Company and find answers to common interview questions such as Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?