Hiring preferences in Software Engineering

We got a chance to have a discussion with an industry personnel (name to be kept anonymous) currently working at Microsoft who has about 10+ years of  experience in software development. He has worked with all types of companies, whether a startup or a tech giant and has been involved in hiring works for more than 5 years. 

Let’s have a look on his insights about how tech industry works and what is actually needed from someone who is applying for software jobs

What is the most important thing you see in a candidate when you go for college placements?

The most important thing we see in the candidates are their problem solving skills. For a college student, it’s very difficult to have proper understanding of development level works which we do here in company. So when we go to colleges, we check students on their analytical skills and their approach towards a given problem. 

Why are there certain criterias such as “CG barrier” or “Open to certain departments” when a company comes to college for placements?

There are around 200-300 resumes we get when we go for college placements. Now, we have to put some filtering criteria so that we can select good candidates in less time. That’s why we put some CG barriers (say 7+ or 7.5+) or we open for certain departments only.  

Do you think project experience plays some role in a candidate’s resume? 

If someone has worked on any project during their college time, it definitely gives a clear edge to the candidate. If two candidates perform the same in the coding tests, during interview rounds, the one who has “ACTUALLY” worked on some projects will get more attention.

What kind of project experience do you look into the resume in general?

We have seen many candidates mentioning their project experience in their resume. But most of the time it comes out to be very basic work. For eg. – If someone says that they have worked on a chatbot, they mostly refer to implementation of some ready-made libraries. That’s not counted as a project experience. You have to work on some real life projects which you can actually show us live somewhere or which has been taken into use at large scale. 

There is a lot of buzz about Machine learning & Data Analytics among college students. What’s your views on it?

In the colleges, students work on the trending technologies to give their resume an edge such as ML (Machine learning) & DA( Data Analytics) which is good but that’s not what we look into a candidate. They miss out all the basics of programming and software development. Machine learning is not just using pre-built libraries on data. It involves data collection, cleaning, pruning, deployment etc. Applying models has a very small role in overall implementation.

Any tips you would like to give to the students who want to pursue software development as a career?

I would suggest that you keep your basics clear and have a good understanding of how software development works. If you are working on android, try to understand how everything works in it. Rather than working on multiple things and having a very basic understanding of all, focus on one thing and get an expertise in it. Don’t try to learn things just to get a job. 

Thanks a lot for sparing your valuable time with us. I hope that your insights are going to help many students to build their career in the field of software development. 

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