5 Tips to Get Your Dream Job as a Female Software Developer

May 16, 2022

4-6 minutes reading time

“I want my life to be peaceful and free (...), and so any job that would support me in that end, I’d be happy to give to” - Allison Gruber
Portrait of Ifeoma Idoko

Hi! My name is Ifeoma Idoko, a software developer at OneVest, mainly working on back-end development. I was a chartered investment manager, and enjoyed the career because it involved helping individuals build, manage and transfer wealth efficiently. Since I transitioned into software engineering - and luckily for me, into fintech - I aim to provide encouragement for others that are considering this career and in the process, have more women come into and stay long-term as software engineers.

Industry

The past couple of years have seen a work revolution being called “The Great Resignation”, which has shaped a narrative of people increasingly re-examining the role of work in our lives.

Basically, we are now seeking jobs that are fulfilling; "a job I love", is now of common recurrence. Statistically, chances are, this applies to you in some way. 

If so, here are 5 tips that helped me get a job that I love, and at a company with an environment I am happy in:

Tip #1: Find a job that aligns with your values

During my search for synchronous peace between work and personal life, I’ve found that one of the main reasons we become unhappy with our jobs is the realization over time that our work, career, or employer don’t align with our values. Of course, the concept of ‘meaningful’ work is different for everyone; however, I’d say that it can often be linked to individual personal values.

Think about your core, uncompromisable values. 

About one-third or 30 percent of the average human life is spent working, so what you do and where you do it should not clash with your core values. Pick your top two or three, and look up companies who share them with you. Often, on company websites, you can find their values in the careers section.

OneVest, in my humble opinion, has it beautifully displayed.

OneVest Values: Inclusivity, High Performance, Innovation

When job searching, examine the company’s website, LinkedIn profile, and the companies they work with to gauge their level of involvement with their values. Talk to peers and employees, or leverage the power of your voice at interviews by asking about the company's perspective on their values. All of this will help you see if the job aligns with your values.

Tip #2: Ensure that your job reflects your passions

When searching for a software development role, your technical experience tends to help you shine in an interview; but, what do you do when you do not have enough experience?

In my case, I had only worked on personal projects. I had zero professional experience as a developer, but with my new skills, I kept thinking of software solutions that could have helped me when I was managing wealth. 

Light bulb! A mind-meld of my old career and my new skills - my two passions. I altered my search to fintech companies, updated my LinkedIn profile to share my passions, and talked about my software solution ideas in every interview I went to. Keep these things in mind when reflecting on your passions:

  • What makes you excited about software engineering? 
  • Are you showcasing this on your LinkedIn, portfolio site, and overall personal brand? 
  • Is your GitHub implying that you are working on a side project you are excited about, learning new technologies or contributing to open source? 
  • Are you only applying for jobs only when you meet 100% of the criteria? 

I ask the last question because studies show  that we ladies tend to only apply for jobs that we fully meet the criteria for - if I start talking about this now, this article will not end. 

I highly recommend that you apply for any job you want regardless of the criteria. 

This will help you because if you get rejected in the process, not only have you gained valuable interviewing experience (articles and practice do not compare to the real experience), but you also got the opportunity to ask for specific feedback from your interviewer too. This level of proactivity is evidence of passion.  

Tip #3: Seek out the champions of diversity

The tech industry has lacked diversity from the start, but that is changing. Rebecca Krauthamer, the founder & CEO of Quantum Thought and a feature on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list states in this podcast that: “As professionals in engineering we have a responsibility to build tech that caters to all people, and to succeed at that, we need diverse teams who are building tech for all people”. 

While there is a leading increase in diversification in tech, there’s a worry that ‘large companies are just trying to buy their way out of their own diversity problems at the expense of smaller businesses’, says Ray Sharma, the founder of Extreme Venture Partners, a Toronto-based venture capital fund. Any company can pay to have social initiatives or rave on about how much they donated to charity, but those are line items that can be cut from the budget next year.

Look for companies that are deeply committed to diversity. 

Look into how diverse individual teams compare to the size of the company, and the growth journey of Black, Interracial, and People of Colour (BIPOC) employees within the company. The best companies celebrate the growth of all employees but, make a particular effort to raise those within this group up, as well.

Tip #4: Be firm with your needs and expectations  

What are your needs for a healthy work-life balance? These days, it’s become a combination of salary, benefits, and policies that makes work work for you.

A quick Google search will usually show you what compensation packages could be offered so that you can use that to gauge your expectations before diving into an interview.

Make sure that you’re clear on expectations around work hours and compensation by asking your interviewer questions. Hybrid and remote work systems are now becoming more common especially for software developers. Half days can be offered, if needed. Stock options mean you are working for yourself. And remember:

You know men in your skill level around the world are already making more than you are. 

So if you ever catch yourself afraid to voice your salary expectations, just stop and think: if I was a man, would this amount still be viewed as greedy? Don’t be afraid to keep in mind that what is important is the acknowledgment that you can come first and your job doesn’t.

Tip #5: Channel your inner strengths

As developers, we are constantly problem-solving. As women, we are constantly doing that too! Though, many women unfortunately fall victim to Imposter Syndrome, in doubting their own abilities. 

Identifying problems and improving upon them is also a confidence boost that helps combat Imposter Syndrome; so, remind yourself of solutions and ideas you have come up with in the past. 

You’ve done this before - you can do it again.

Oftentimes, a diverse background can help you approach and see things in a different way. This means that identifying what you do best can help align you with a job and company that you love.

Review your background when researching jobs and companies to find out how your strengths can be applied in the role and company you are applying to. This shows interviewers the value you provide and positions you well for taking on more leadership roles or technical responsibilities in the future. This clarity will also help you avoid companies where you cannot or are not allowed to apply your best self. 

What do you think?

Did you find these 5 tips helpful? Are there tips of your own that you will like to share? Find us on social media to share your thoughts - let’s have a conversation! I hope these insights help as you find your dream job in software development, and, to my fellow female software developers, I urge you to keep pushing the boundaries for your professional development. Technology needs you! 

If you’re ever interested in a career with OneVest, check out our open positions - and don’t be afraid to apply, even if you don’t meet all the criteria!