What does it take to crack a virtual tech interview

2020 has brought to us a variety of experiences with the novel Coronavirus. Many experiences proved to be adverse, yet the learning has been productive to most industries. With a global crisis marking the end of this roller-coaster decade, more than a million professionals lost their jobs overnight. Companies faced the massive task of taking their businesses online, setting foot into an entirely different, tech-dependent era. Considering the major changes that industries underwent, it has become quite evident that among the various global industries, the tech jobs market is going to be positively impacted. Tech has become the common denominator for all industries at the time. As a result, the IT sector in India is likely to see high single-digit revenue growth in 2021-2022 on the back of higher demand for digital transformation which would lead to higher-tech hirings.

In tech, employers mostly look forward to hiring candidates with a certain set of skills that indubitably differentiate them from the large pool of tech students that enter the employment market every year. The fact that millions of students struggle for jobs in leading software companies and only a handful of them make it big, is a testimonial to the fact that leading software companies are no longer just interested in degrees, but the much-needed skill set that a candidate brings to the table! These advancements mean that workers need to constantly be learning new skills.

LinkedIn analyzed hundreds of thousands of job postings in order to determine which skills companies need most in 2019 and found that employers are looking for workers with both soft skills and hard skills. Taking all these perspectives into account, a question arises – Are we training our tech graduates well enough for them to be industry-fit? With more than ten lakh tech graduates every year and the highly filtered recruitment processes by the software and tech industries, the competition has risen to a much higher level than before. Out of the million graduates, only a select handful acquire the dream jobs in the tech and software industry, giving rise to another question- There’s ample demand, then why only a few?

In a world, where every second person holds a professional degree, what differentiates a potential tech employee from a mere graduate, is the presence or absence of professional technical skills. It has been noted that employers, while looking for new additions to their team, filter their choices based on some major skills, including, web development, cloud computing, data science, software development, etc. A full-stack web developer has a much better chance at procuring a job in this competitive industry and also establishing her position there.

The software industry is always looking for skilled brains that cannot just perform their jobs, but also help to set and achieve new goals for the company. Considering the competitive nature of today’s tech industry, students and aspiring candidates need to look beyond just their personalised domains. Aside from all the advanced skill sets as mentioned above, students aspiring to earn jobs in the software tech industry need to have an advanced and professional hold over computer languages. Coding and programming have become the most demanded skills in the market, with data analysis, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence, both bagging the second spot collectively.

And as far as an interview is concerned, students need to know that a resume is not just a mere piece of paper with a list of achievements. It should be a testimonial of the skills, a candidate possesses, comprising the successfully completed projects, legit certifications and work experience. Even with no work experience, employers will pretty much focus on tech skills and their implementation, i.e, the projects, which, in fact, will be a testament to the candidature. From an employer’s point of view, a successful resume is not one that lists your achievements, rather, it’s the display of the ability of a candidate to put all his maneuvers into practice.

Furthermore, while hiring, an interviewer looks for a team member, which makes a tech interview a lot different from a mere Q&A session. It is more of an interactive process where both the interviewer and the interviewee discuss potential goals as teammates. A strong skill set of communication and soft skills is the key here. The interviewer will mainly focus on your strengths and key skills, so the candidates, besides having a stronghold over their domain, also need to hone their advanced professional technical and soft skills.

In short, the secret sauce to ace a tech interview is to think out of the box, since your job as a developer isn’t only to code. It is to be a team player, a leader, and someone who is never willing to quit on a problem. The opportunities in a technical interview are not only to show that you can meet objectives or write algorithms but also to put yourself above the competition and show the value you can add to the employer.

By Nishant Chandra, Co-Founder, Newton School


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