Software Developer Recruitment Tips from Michael Diver

What was your background? Were you a coder or developer yourself?

No. I had no background in IT before I worked for Software Placements. I worked for a multinational recruitment firm, recruiting in several sectors before deciding to move home to Donegal. The opportunity came up to work for Software Placements with the option of working and recruit remotely.

What makes a good candidate?

I look at what’s on their CV. Many IT recruits may not have a formal background in computer science, but it is quickly clear if they have experience in the relevant technologies and languages. It is important that they have the right languages, and experience with relevant operating systems.

You will only really know how good they are when you begin speaking to them. The people who are the most relaxed and clear about the topic when they are talking about it, are the ones that will be the best candidates. It is quickly clear whether they understand it deeply or not. With these people it just feels like a relaxed conversation, they understand what the technology does, and what it is they have been working on.

What tips would you give to people looking to get started in coding?

Know what you want to do. Master the language you want to do, and become an expert in that one. The best coder in the world might not get a job with a company if they don’t have a structure for developing code, and an understanding of how to formulate solutions. It is best to specialise in one area. For example, I specialise in Python, for the candidate make sure you learn it properly. Work with the most modern databases, know Linux, and even better still if you can do front end development too, such as Javascript, CSS, HTML. All of this will enable you to become a full stack developer, using node js, angular or some of the other many frameworks.

What advice would you give for preparing for interviews and doing well in them?

Take the job specification and examine it. Use it to ask yourself a series of ‘what if’ questions. Think about ‘what if’ I am asked about X or Y on the job description and tasks required. You will be asked about different technologies during the interview, it mustn’t be your first time thinking about this. Prepare for all the possible ‘what ifs’ you might be asked.

Also, take your CV and be able to give examples of how you have used all the technologies you will be asked about. Use social media as well. Go to Youtube, look up the companies and watch the videos about them. You will learn far more there watching a few minutes of video than you will by just reading for half an hour or more about a company. For people doing technical tests, look them up online. There are lots of practice ones you can do to help you prepare for them.

Will these languages, Python, C#, Dotnet, continue to be in demand?

Yes, Python, C# and Dotnet will remain in demand. In my 3 years with Software Placements, more and more companies are using open source languages, such as Python, and Ruby. These are becoming more mainstream. There is a lower cost, and it’s easier to code in these open source languages, with lots of libraries built for them too. C# will continue to be in demand too, as large companies have enterprise level applications that were built using this.

Looking at current trends what type of jobs do you think will be in demand in the future?

C# & Python are good safe bets, especially as the open source community is growing too. Sectors like the financial services are using python too. This is especially in demand, particularly those developers with full stack experience. Python is a scripting language, and now with lots of frameworks so this allows it to be used for website development too. There will be two types are python developers in demand.

1. Web development within a framework, such as django or one of the many other frameworks that exist now.

2. Purer desktop python development, using it with Linux and scripting.

Both of these types of developers will continue to be in demand.

Will Ireland continue to be a place with lots of IT jobs?

Absolutely, and this will only get stronger. Ireland has a strong multinational base. There is a good range of top companies are here, many with a Dublin base, with more companies coming in. There is also a good vibrant startup community. This goes hand in hand with the Python developer community. Overall this is good, with lots of entrepreneurship, which is healthy for the IT sector.

Ireland also continues to become more cosmopolitan, and this helps to embrace the people we’re recruiting and bringing to Ireland. People coming here don’t experience difficulties coming and settling down here. We have good procedures for people coming in, with many supports available for EU citizens. For those outside of the EU the visa process is about 10 to 12 weeks and generally, you will then get it.

One challenge is to ensure not to make it too Dublin-centric, nor just in the main cities. Pramerica here in Letterkenny is a good example of a large company successfully settling somewhere outside of the main Irish cities. The other big challenge is the Irish infrastructure and the levels of rent. For the first ten minutes in an interview, we will ask people about this to see if they have done their research about relocating. We want to see if they have done the homework and understand the costs they will need to pay out relative to the salaries they are being offered.

The challenge is not getting the jobs, it is more about supporting the people who get the jobs. We also still need to improve the connectivity around the country.

What do you enjoy about working for Software Placements?

We have a good team, I’m the longest person there after the two directors. We now have eight people, it is a good mix, with people from all over Ireland. It makes for a good fun place to work. There is a good atmosphere, everyone works hard, a good team spirit, and trust too.

What do you do for fun – something tech related or completely untech related?

I love my job, tech is work for me, so for my downtime, I like to travel, cook, read, gardening, and chill out. I might do something tech related in the future.

Anything to add / we should have asked?

There has been a big change in recruitment. I started in 2006, then you mailed off CV’s, and had contacts within companies. Then you relied on a database, whereas now you go to Linkedin and look there. Companies still want a good service though. They want to know that the people recruited are good people, and that we, the recruiters know and understand who they’re looking for.

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