Why Software Engineers Should “Always Be Interviewing”

This one is for you, fellow engineer. Folks in other career verticals, just observe.

Chuma S. Okoro

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Seeing the recent news about layoffs and hiring freezes at top tech companies like Meta and Twitter; anyone who works in tech must have their eyebrows raised. You did all that struggling to get your job as a software engineer and now the idea of losing that job, due to reasons out of your control, is real. In most employment contracts, they indicate that you’re an at-will employee meaning you can get fired for any reason. This is why I’m an advocate of the philosophy, “Always be interviewing”, a state of mind where you’re always sharpening your skills and making sure you are marketable. The following are 3 reasons why I believe software engineers should always be interviewing.

Sharpen Interview Skills

Anyone who has gone through the software engineer recruiting process knows that the interview is the most difficult part. This is because it brings you back to the fundamentals of what it takes to be a software engineer. You cover things like core data structures, communication, tradeoff consideration, and nitty gritty system design. When on the job, for a significant amount of time, you might not regularly practice these fundamentals.

An example I thought of that demonstrates this comes from my background playing high school football. When on a sports team, you’ll normally have game day and practice. Game day is the actual test where you have to use the skills you refined throughout the preseason to win a game. With an entire season of real games, this doesn’t mean you abandon practice. In fact during the season, we would practice at least 4 days per week, honing fundamental skills that would come in handy during game day. This included pass rushing, form tackling, and practicing various scenarios that may come up during a game. In the same way athletes need to practice their fundamentals during the season, software engineers should practice their fundamental skills during the job.

Now do you actually need to go through the whole interview process with several companies like you would if you didn’t have a job? No. Bringing back up the sports comparison, during the preseason you…

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Chuma S. Okoro

Sr. Software Engineer @ Bloomberg. I love talking about technology and business. Every article has my opinion backed by my experience, education, and research.