How to Land a Job in Technology Sales

With its high rate of growth and reputation for innovation, the technology field has a lot to offer recent grads who are passionate about working with emerging technologies. One of these opportunities is technology sales, an area of the industry focused on connecting customers with great tech solutions. To learn more about technology sales and get some tips on how recent grads can get their foot in the door, we asked the team at Dell to tell us what they look for in an employee and what you can do to stand out from the crowd.

Here are the steps you need to take if you want to get a job in technology sales.

1. Learn as much as you can about the technology industry

The first step to landing a job in any industry is to be knowledgeable about that industry. If you want to work in the tech field, this means knowing what technologies are most relevant and what companies are key players in the space you want to work in. The best way to develop this knowledge is by reading as much as possible about the tech industry and getting a sense of current trends. Sites like TechCrunch and Forbes Tech offer a lot of great insights into all aspects of the field and can help you get informed about new and emerging technologies and market trends. Taking relevant classes during your time in college, particularly business and marketing classes, is another way to gain this knowledge since it will give you an understanding of how products are marketed and sold.

2. Develop your sales and communication skills

In addition to learning about the tech industry, another key step to getting hired is to develop your sales and communication skills. You can do this by becoming a campus rep or brand ambassador during your time in college. This will give you a chance to connect with other students on your campus, helping you grow your professional network, and it will also give you a sense of the best way to market products directly to consumers. An integral part of a technology sales job, these skills will come in handy as you’re establishing connections with new clients and helping them find the solutions that are right for them.

3. Intern with a technology company

Once you’ve learned all you can about the tech field and developed your core skills, it’s time to gain hands-on experience by interning with a tech company. Companies like Dell are a great place to work because they have a range of different internship and co-op opportunities that are designed to help you get on-the-job training while also preparing you for the next step in your career. The Dell University Relations program focuses on connecting undergrads with those opportunities and giving them the training they need to succeed. “There’s a big focus on development,” explains Marie Moynihan, Dell’s Vice President of Talent. “We place a lot of emphasis on feedback, coaching and individual development plans which create an environment of continuous learning.” With these initiatives in place, interns are able to make the most of the experience and often transition to full-time roles after graduation.

4. Know what recruiters look for

The final piece of the puzzle is knowing what recruiters look for. This is usually a mix of skills and industry knowledge along with a passion for the field. Being able to demonstrate that passion and being enthusiastic about the opportunity to learn more about the industry will go a long way toward impressing recruiters. Beyond that, it’s about demonstrating what you can bring to the table and how your unique skills and personality will make you an asset to the team.

By following these tips and developing your skills and experience, you’ll have no problem finding a technology sales opportunity that’s right for you.  

How to Land a Job in Tech

One of the most exciting industries around, the tech industry has built its reputation on growth and innovation. This is great news for recent grads who are passionate about technology and interested in contributing to its development.

Here are the steps you need to take if you want to land a job in tech.

1. Develop your knowledge of the tech industry

When it comes to starting your career, few things are as important as knowing the industry inside and out. Although this may sound a bit overwhelming at first, it’s actually good news because your knowledge doesn’t have to be academic. While computer science and business classes can be a good way to learn about the tech industry, there’s also a lot you can do to develop that knowledge on your own. Tech-focused websites like Forbes Tech offer a lot of insight into industry trends and emerging technologies. Beyond that, it’s about learning about specific companies and the kind of work they do.

2. Determine what aspects of tech you’re interested in

Once you have a strong grasp of what’s happening in the industry, it’s time to narrow your focus and pick a career path the matches your skills and interests. For example, if you’ve been coding since high school and want to take a hands-on approach to creating new technologies, you might want to focus your attention on engineering. On the other hand, if you’re more interested in sales or marketing, focusing on those aspects of the industry might make more sense for you.

3. Intern with a tech-focused company

With industry knowledge under your belt and a strong focus in mind, it’s time to get some hands-on experience by interning with a tech company. This is a great way to deepen your knowledge of the tech field while also figuring out what type of role is best for you. Depending on the type of company you work for (and the internship you choose) you may be involved in different aspects of a company’s operations from engineering to marketing or even human resources. While smaller companies can provide a more cross-functional internship experience, larger companies can give you a chance to truly specialize in your field and gain the kind of experience that might take you a year or two to develop at another company. This is an important thing to keep in mind as you apply for internships since you’ll want the internship you choose to reflect your career goals moving forward. If you’re a recent grad without a tech internship under your belt, don’t worry. You can still stand out from the crowd by developing your industry knowledge and studying the companies you want to work with.

4. Know what tech companies look for

While tech companies definitely have their share of differences, they also have a lot of similarities. One of these is the desire to hire bright, motivated people to join their teams and give them the chance to create solutions that are truly game changing. Since tech companies place so much emphasis on talent and passion, being able to demonstrate these qualities is extremely important to landing a job.

By following these tips and developing your skills and knowledge, you’ll have no problem finding a tech job that’s right for you.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as the Top 10 Skills Employers Want in an Intern and find answers to common interview questions such as Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

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?

Top 5 Software Developer Interview Questions

Being a software developer is an exciting opportunity to gain exposure to the tech industry and learn about innovative technologies first hand. If you’re considering a career as a developer, then you might be wondering what to expect from the interview and how you can set yourself up for success.

Here are some of the most common questions you’re likely to encounter during the interview process.

1. How do you interface with a team?

This question is considered a “fit” question and it’s designed to get a sense of the type of work environment you prefer to work in. Although culture fit questions are common in all types of interviews, the fit questions you’re likely to encounter during a tech interview are generally targeted towards getting a sense of how well you work with other team members and how comfortable you are working on software engineering processes on a team — including things like code review, version control and communication. To answer this question effectively, it’s important to talk about your prior experience of working with a team (either at a previous job or on a class project) and to explain how you approach working with others.

2. Tell me about a time that you had to build something and then support it.

Another common question you’re likely to encounter during a tech interview, this question is designed to test your understanding of the challenges engineers face when building technology for other people. The key to answering it well is demonstrating that you understand how to elicit feedback from end users and stakeholders, and that you know how to weave it into the product. From an engineering perspective, many employers want to see that you’re “thinking 100 steps ahead” but “building 10 steps ahead” — in other words, that you’re thinking ahead but not overengineering today.

3. Tell me about a project you worked on and explain how and why you chose to architect it the way you did.

This question is designed to test your critical thinking and problem-solving ability by asking you to describe the path you chose to take when architecting a specific project. When answering this question, it’s important to outline the steps you took in proceeding with the project and to explicitly state why you made certain decisions. For example, what tradeoffs did you consider when making those decisions? Mention this and be sure to justify why you chose the path you did. This will show the hiring manager that you’re thoughtful about your decisions, aware of possible drawbacks and that you take calculated risks when necessary.

4. What are some projects you’re working on in your spare time?

Being a great developer involves building your skill set by continuously learning new things. The best way to do that is by exploring projects on your own. When hiring managers ask this question, it’s because they want to know that you’re passionate about the work you do and that you’re learning about new technologies by working on one or more side-projects. A great way to answer this question is by referring to something you’re developing (or have developed) and highlighting the reason why the project is important to you. Are you trying to solve a specific problem or excited to try out a new programming language? Mention that and explain how it connects to the work you’ll be doing in the role you’re interviewing for.

Pro Tip: If you’re not currently working on any projects of your own but you’re collaborating on projects on an open source platform like Github, be sure to mention that. This is a great way to demonstrate that you’re involved in ongoing projects in the industry and eager to learn more.

5. Tell me about a project that completely failed.

Talking about your failures is never fun but being able to show that you’ve learned from them is extremely important, particularly when it comes to being an engineer. This is because failure is a crucial part of the programming process and being able to demonstrate that you’re resilient and able to iterate quickly will go a long way towards impressing the interviewer and showing them that you’re able to work well in an agile environment.

Interviewing for a job as a software developer 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 the hiring manager and get one step closer to landing the job.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Be Effective in a Remote or Virtual Job and find answers to common interview questions such as Tell Me About Yourself.

Do I Need Coding Bootcamp to Become a Software Developer?

In recent years, coding bootcamps have become increasingly popular in tech-centric cities like New York and San Francisco. This is largely because these bootcamps are designed around the idea that anyone can learn how to code, an idea that is very appealing to many recent grads who don’t have a traditional engineering background. If you’re interested in becoming a software developer, then you might be wondering whether you need a coding bootcamp to get started. Will a bootcamp help you develop your skills and get you job ready as quickly as possible? It depends.

Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to sign up for a coding bootcamp.

What are your current skills and professional goals?

One of the keys to understanding how close you are to landing the job you want is being able to assess your current skill set and your professional goals. For example, if you’re a computer science major with some coding experience and basic knowledge of programming languages like Python and Javascript, then you’re already well on your way to becoming a developer and would likely benefit more from an internship than a bootcamp. On the other hand, if you’re just becoming interested in programming and are eager to learn a lot very quickly, then a structured program like a bootcamp might be a good fit for you.

Pro Tip: Since most bootcamps offer intensive courses over a period of eight to 12 weeks, figuring out how much you want to learn (and how quickly) will likely play a big part in your decision. A key thing to note is that because of the intense nature of these programs, most bootcamp students aren’t able to complete them while also having a job, so if you decide to do a bootcamp, you’ll need to commit to it fully.

What can you learn on your own?

With so many options for self-study out there, including free online classes from Codecademy and Khan Academy, there’s a lot you can do to teach yourself about coding and to figure out where your programming interests lie. If you’re comfortable taking a less structured approach (or developing your own curriculum), then teaching yourself how to code can be something you do in your spare time, even while you’re still in school.

Added bonus: Since many coding bootcamps charge upwards of $10,000 for a full training course, being able to design your own program will allow you to potentially save quite a bit of money.

How can a coding bootcamp help to fill remaining gaps in your knowledge?

Once you’ve assessed your skills, goals and what you’re able to learn on your own, it’s important to figure out whether there are any knowledge gaps that a coding bootcamp can help to fill. For example, if you’re interested in learning how to program in Python in order to improve your job prospects, then a coding bootcamp could potentially be a good way to supplement your existing knowledge.

Deciding whether to sign up for a bootcamp involves assessing a lot of factors such as your financial circumstances, professional goals and time commitments. In order to make an informed decision, it’s important to figure out what your needs are and to determine whether a bootcamp is the best way to meet them. And if you want more hands-on experience without going the bootcamp route, an internship could be a great option for you.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Become a Software Developer and find answers to common interview questions such as What Are Your Strengths?

What is Technology Sales?

If you’re interested in the innovation going on in the tech world — like big data and the Internet of Things — you may wondering what career opportunities are available in the industry and whether they might be a good fit for you. One of the rapidly growing areas of technology is sales and it’s a great chance for recent grads to get their foot in the door while learning all about the industry. To find out more about it, we asked the team at Dell to tell us what you can expect from working as part of a technology sales team.

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the field.

What is technology sales?

Focused on connecting consumers with innovative tech products, technology sales is all about identifying the customers who can benefit from a particular solution and showing them how that solution can meet their needs. Encompassing hardware (computers, servers, networking devices), software (operating systems) and services (applications, big data and cloud computing) technology sales can vary greatly depending on the particular company you work for and the type of sales you do. At a company like Dell, which offers solutions across all three of these areas, there is also a lot of potential to learn about different types of technology sales and broaden your understanding of the field as a whole.

What do technology salespeople do?

From learning the ins and outs of the particular technology they work with to researching potential clients and putting together packages to meet their needs, technology salespeople have two main goals: 1) Promoting the products of the company they work for and 2) Making sure that their customers are getting as much value as possible from the technology solution they are buying. And while you might think that you need to major in a technology-focused subject to work in tech sales, that’s not always the case. At Dell, many employees in tech sales started with a strong interest in tech and learned the rest on the job.

What are the challenges of working in technology sales?

A fast-paced field, technology sales does have a few challenges. These include staying on top of ongoing product updates, sourcing and connecting with potential customers, ensuring that customers are satisfied with their purchases and problem-solving the issue when they’re not. Although these challenges are part of the day-to-day life of almost everyone working in technology sales, they’re also fairly straightforward to overcome, particularly when you work for a company that offers great customer support and a whole range of resources for their sales team. At Dell, this means being part of a team that sees problem-solving as one of the key components of their work and aims to provide the best experience for both their customers and their employees.

What are the benefits of working in technology sales?

While there are certainly a few challenges to overcome in technology sales, there are even more benefits. These include working with cutting edge technology, meeting talented and innovative people across a broad range of industries and having the opportunity to learn and grow with others on your team. In fact, working in sales is a wonderful way to expand your professional network both within the industry and beyond, which can help you grow your sales business or move into other sectors of the tech world.

What is a typical salary for a technology salesperson?

Another benefit of working in tech-focused sales is the high earning potential. With a base salary between $40,000 and $92,000, and bonuses and commissions that can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, technology salespeople are often high earners, with many earning upwards of $100,000 per year.

An exciting field with uncapped potential, technology sales has a lot to offer recent grads. By knowing what to expect and what skills you need to succeed, you’ll be able to decide if this career is right for you.

What is a Network Development Engineer?

A rapidly growing and incredibly innovative field, the technology industry has a lot of exciting opportunities for recent grads who are passionate about working with cutting-edge technology. One of these opportunities is network development, an area of engineering that focuses on automating and scaling networks in order to allow companies to process data more efficiently. To learn more about network development, we sat down with the team at Dell to find out what you can expect from this career path.

Here’s what you need to know about being a network development engineer.

What is a network development engineer?

The short answer is that a network development engineer is a person responsible for building and scaling data networks. The slightly longer answer is that a network development engineer is responsible for creating, deploying and automating networks that will enable data to move swiftly between different data centers.

What does a network development engineer do?

Depending on the type of company they work for, network development engineers can be responsible for a variety of things. This can include meeting with clients to understand their networking needs, designing solutions to meet those needs and then testing the solutions to ensure that they’re able to scale as the company grows. Network development engineers are problem solvers and project managers who are able to see the big picture and address challenges related to how data is transmitted. At a large company like Dell, this means leveraging the organization’s resources and technologies to create solutions that will not only scale, but that can also be automated and updated as needed.

What training do you need to become a network development engineer?

Training to become a network development engineer starts with taking relevant classes during college. These include technical computer classes that will give you the coding skills you need to do the job and also more theoretical classes that will teach you about the theoretical side of programming. After completing your undergraduate education (or even while you’re still in college) you can look for opportunities to get hands-on training. Dell’s University Relations Program offers a lot of these opportunities and gives students and recent grads a chance to learn about what it means to work in network development.

What are the benefits of being a network development engineer?

One of the main benefits of working in network development is being able to solve problems creatively and coming up with unique processes that help companies scale their business. In addition to the creative challenges of the role, network development also provides great insights into other areas of the tech industry and gives you a wonderful overview of exciting things that are happening across different fields. Working at a company like Dell also comes with additional benefits including access to cutting-edge solutions and employee-focused initiatives designed to help employees grow both personally and professionally.

What is a typical network development engineer salary?

Although network development engineer salaries vary slightly depending on location, they typically start at around $60,000 for an entry-level position and go up from there with experienced network development engineers earning upwards of $110,000 per year.

An exciting part of the technology industry, network development is a great opportunity to develop your technical skills while helping companies establish processes that will allow them to handle and process data.

Entry-Level Software Engineer Job Guide

“Entry-Level Software Engineer” is a broad term. It’s often one used by larger employers to recruit computer science majors and other student seeking software development positions. During the interview process many of these employers will ask candidates to think about what specialization they’d like to focus on (e.g. front-end, back-end, etc.). These engineers spend most of their day writing code to make products and services function. The vast majority of employed entry-level software engineers work for large technology companies or startups.

Entry-Level Software Engineer Job Guide

Specialization under the software engineering is particularly common in an entry-level role. Most teams are composed of several specializations of engineers. Here are the most common types of software engineering roles:

  1. Back-end engineers spend much of their time writing services, algorithms, and architecting the core bits and pieces of a system and the way it works.
  2. Front-end engineers make the services that the back-end engineers are writing accessible to the end user through a UI. It’s not uncommon for front-end engineers to have some experience with UI design or partner often with a designer at the company.
  3. Operations engineers are responsible for ensuring the infrastructure that supports a product or service is reliable and stays up and running. Another primary responsibility is ensuring a system’s scalability.
  4. QA or test engineers are responsible for building systems that test the code that the other engineers are writing to ensure it’s stable and reliable.
  5. Full-stack engineers do everything (back-end, front-end, operations, testing). These are less common as entry-level roles unless they work at a small startup.

Common Responsibilities of Entry-Level software engineers

The tasks that software engineers perform vary greatly depending on their specialization. Here are a few examples of what they do:

  1. Building an RESTFUL API for consumption by another team at the company or a 3rd party. (Back-end)
  2. Constructing an interface in HTML, CSS, and Javascript that accesses the API and allows users to perform tasks. (Front-end)
  3. Spinning up infrastructure to support a new mobile app that the company is building, paying careful attention to how it might scale if the app takes off ala Pokemon Go.
  4. Writing tests that automatically ensure that the new app remains reliable and can handle a large load of traffic.

Types of Entry-Level software engineer Jobs

As you know by now, specialization is important. However, when searching for entry-level jobs, it’s even more important to become familiar with all of the different verbiage that an employer might use to describe their position. If you know what terms to search by, you’ll be far more likely to be able to find all of the available positions and narrow them down to the ones you’re most interested in.

Another great search strategy is to use software languages as keywords. Employers are often working on a Java or C stack and need engineers that can work in those languages.

Here are a few search terms you could use to search for entry-level software engineering postions:

Salary Expectations

The median salary for entry-level software engineers is $75,275.

The range is $54,084 – $110,908.

The higher end of this range is quite high and is often skewed significantly by the larger tech companies (Google, Facebook, etc.) and the competitiveness for their entry-level positions. They’ve been known to give $500,000 signing bonuses to the best recent grads. Crazy!

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 software engineer jobs to grow by 17% over the next 10 years. That’s incredible growth. It’s no secret that software development is one of the most promising career choices.

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:

  • While many students are willing to look at jobs unrelated to their major, computer science majors are not. 72% of them only want to consider software development jobs.
  • San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle are the most popular destination for computer science grads.
  • Surprisingly enough, 75% of graduating computer science majors have worked a paid side job. Employers see this as a major benefit, as one of their primary concerns with engineers is how they will fair in a post-college work environment.
  • Only 28% of graduating seniors majoring in software engineer have no internship experience.
  • Most computer science students will not have any student debt when they graduate.
  • Almost 56% of seniors majoring in computer science have taken an online course related to their major.

Related Entry-Level Fields

Despite it being somewhat rare that software engineer majors seek jobs outside of their immediate major, it does happen. When they do go outside, here are the areas they’re most likely to look at:

  1. Electrical Engineering
  2. UX Design
  3. Product Management
  4. UI Design
  5. Analyst

Additional Resources

  1. It never hurts to brush up on a few software engineer 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 Software 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.