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The Student Insider

Your tech career starts here


Written by
Allie Fitzgibbon

If you’re about to start your degree in computer science and are wondering where it might lead to then look no further. We’ve gathered the five TOP TIPS from industry experts on how to land that dream job.

Woman shaking hands with interviewer

Don’t neglect those soft skills

Sarah Trevelion, Talent Manager, Techmodal: “I always look for graduates who respond promptly and are good communicators. That’s a good indicator as to whether someone is professional. And just be yourself – it will be obvious if you’re trying to pretend.”

John Davies, Head of IT for Road, The AA: “Actively look for opportunities to work outside your comfort zone during your degree studies – whether that be presenting, leading a team on some project work or networking in the online forum. Take any chance you can to develop your wider skills.”

Mike Allender, Founder and Principal Consultant, Dinomyte: “You’ll get to a point in your career where everyone is capable of doing the job – everyone can code. But the people who are going to become the team leaders are the ones with the skills to bring people together and work through challenging situations.”

Do your research

Tobias Cieslik, Director, Xult Group: “Research the company – as simple as that sounds I’ve had candidates panic and put the phone down because they haven’t done their research. Know the role you’re applying for and don’t lie or exaggerate on your CV, you will always be caught out!”

Georgina Felce, Studio Operations Manager, Big Pixel Games: “When you apply to a games studio, know the products – download the game and play it so you know what you’re talking about. Studios put their heart and soul into their games so it will give you a good sense of them too.”

Sarah Trevelion: “Look up your interviewers on LinkedIn before the interview.”

Build up your portfolio

Mike Allender: “If you’ve got a degree, that’s great but I’d also love to see what else you’ve done. Maybe an internship in a studio or your own games you’ve worked on – having a portfolio you can talk about passionately is a big selling point.”

Melissa Dean, Portfolio Lead, The AA: “With so many candidates for every role, most of them with a similar degree to you, employers are in a difficult position. You need to demonstrate what makes you different, unique. Try and get into a workplace during your degree and relate what you’re studying to the real world – then you’ll be able to bring that experience to your interview and that’s where you’ll stand out from the crowd.”

Phil Peters, Senior Software Engineer, Ordnance Survey: “There are so many websites and resources out there now that let you demonstrate what you can do. From answering questions on Stack Overflow to creating a profile on Quora and building up your coding portfolio on Github. Companies definitely look for evidence of your skills and I even know people who have been recruited from those sites.”

Understand your industry

Georgina Felce: “It always helps to know people in the industry. There are so many opportunities for networking in the gaming sector – look out for free events that companies put on and if you’re nervous then go with a friend so you both feel more comfortable talking to new people.”

John Davies: “There’s huge value in understanding what is happening in the market today. It’s not just about the latest trends, it’s about knowing what the big drivers are for the kinds of companies you want to work for. And choose your modules carefully on that basis.”

Kayleigh Oliver, QA and Release Manager at Immerse and Founder/Director of Junction5 Studios: “If you’re considering starting your own company, start small. If you’re doing it in your spare time don’t pour all your energy into something massive that might not go anywhere. Build something quickly and get lots of feedback to work out what works and what doesn’t.”

Let your passion shine through

Kayleigh Oliver: “As a woman in tech you need to realise that you’re going to be in the minority straight away. You need to be confident and not shy away from it. When you go to a meeting or an event, sit at the front – that way you’re not going to feel self-conscious about putting your hand up and making your voice heard.”

Tobias Cieslik: “Having good grades and a degree from a well-regarded university will be welcomed but you also need to demonstrate a real passion for tech. Hobbyists who have written code or tinkered with electronics in their spare time can show how much they enjoy what they are doing.”

Rob O’Brien, Senior Technical Manager (International and Labels), ITV Studios: “It’s important you look for something you enjoy doing. If you feel like you’re in the wrong role then leave and find a business area you’re interested in. And just be prepared to have lots of fun!”

Find out more about what you can do with your computer science degree.