What HR Managers Should Seek in Software Engineers

February 16, 2024

The world is becoming increasingly reliant on mobile technology and software applications. Because of this, several companies have begun to invest heavily in software engineering. In effect, the demand for talented and skilled software engineers has shot up rather dramatically.

Unfortunately, many people who aren’t really passionate about software development are piggybacking on this movement. They’re only interested in the fat paychecks that software engineering brings.

So, how can HR managers avoid hiring such people? What should they look for when hiring software engineers?  Here at Cloud Employee, we work with companies looking to hire professional offshore developers in the Philippines. We will share the essential qualities that HR managers should look for in software engineers.

What do software engineers do?

Software engineering is a branch of computer science that involves building and developing computer systems and applications software. A person who works in this field is called a software engineer. So, we can say that a software engineer is a computer science professional who builds and develops computer systems and applications software. But this definition describes only half of a software engineer's job. The defining characteristic of a software engineer's role is the way that they build and develop software.

Software engineers work by applying engineering principles to software creation; they use engineering principles and programming languages to create software products. At this point, you might be wondering if there's a difference between a software engineer and a software developer. Well, that's a tricky question to answer. There's no official distinction between the two roles. It seems that every company defines the roles according to what works for them, so, in some companies, the roles are used interchangeably, while in other places, they are distinct from each other. Although the lines are pretty blurred, there’s at least a small distinction between a software engineer's role and a software developer's role.

Software developers are the creative minds and hands behind software programs. They are the ones who correspond with the client to create a design that suits their specifications. On the other hand, software engineers adopt a logical and systematic approach to software development. They take the client’s specifications and match them with appropriate technological solutions. Another difference is that software developers are involved in the entire development process, while software engineers are more concerned with providing specific functions.

A software engineer is responsible for designing, developing, and testing various systems and applications, including game apps, business apps, network control systems, and operating systems. Because a software developer's role is broad, they often have extensive knowledge of various programming languages, software development, and computer operating systems.

Types of Software Engineers

There Are Two Types Of Software Engineers:

  • Applications software engineers develop Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, etc. They are both front-end and back-end developers.

  • Systems software engineers

They build operating systems and networks for user-facing applications. Unlike application engineers, systems software engineers handle both software and hardware needs. They are mostly back-end developers.

What Should HR Managers Look for While Hiring Software Engineers

  • Willingness to learn new things

If you’ve been involved in software for even a few years, you’ve probably noticed that it’s an ever-changing industry. People are always experimenting with ways of improving things. The only way to remain relevant in such a continually evolving world is to stay up to date with cutting-edge technology. You cannot be fixated on the programming languages and techniques you learned when you first entered the software industry; otherwise, you'll soon find yourself relegated to the background.

If you've been looking for a job as a software engineer without success, it could be that HR managers do not think you're current enough—one more thing. You should learn new skills on your own because most companies do not have the time or resources to train all their employees.

  • Expertise in a specific domain

HR managers are not impressed by “generalists” who have little knowledge of different techniques and programming languages. From afar, such people may seem very skilled and impressive, but anyone with a bit of experience knows that generalists only have surface knowledge. There are some IT fields where being a generalist comes in handy, but in software engineering, employers prefer to hire specialists. Most companies are inclined towards hiring specialized talent to meet specific needs.

The software development sphere changes so rapidly that it’s extremely difficult for one person to stay up-to-date with all the advancements in every domain. However, by specializing in a particular domain, you can focus all your efforts on truly becoming an expert in that field. So, even though hirers want you to have a good understanding of the fundamentals, they also want to know that you have expertise in the specific field you’re being considered for.

  • Passion

Nothing motivates a person like passion does. A genuinely passionate software engineer will be far more productive than someone only interested in the money. The truth is, software engineering is a high-paying job, and that's why many people enter the industry.

But passionate software engineers would code even if the money factor was taken out. They're always up to date with the latest technology because their passion drives them to learn new things. Apart from this, they're exceptionally committed and don't mind going beyond official working hours because they love what they do.

  • Focus

The problem with passionate people is that they can get carried away. Many passionate and talented software engineers tend to waste time and resources to implement new technologies that make no difference to the overall project. Often, they get sidetracked by the excitement of something new and forget to consider the big picture. But this is not a great trait for landing a job.

HR managers want to hire software engineers who can remain focused. Great software engineers understand what the business is trying to accomplish, and despite the temptation to get sidetracked, they can stay focused on achieving the corporate goal.

  • Knowledge of the software industry

This is another quality that employers value in a software engineer. There are many reasons why. Firstly, someone who has an in-depth knowledge of the industry can observe former trends and predict future patterns. This person can draw on a number of resources to identify weak areas and suggest improvements for the company.

A software engineer who is very knowledgeable about the industry also has a better idea of what clients generally want; they know what factors draw clients to a company and push them away. Additionally, knowledge of the software industry will prevent a software engineer from merely reinventing the wheel; companies want someone who is innovative and can come up with novel ideas.

  • Not overconfident

Let’s face facts—many software gurus are full of themselves. They're good at their craft, and they know it. The problem is, no matter how sound a software engineer is, he's still human and, therefore, prone to making mistakes occasionally. But many software engineers do not like to admit that there might be errors in their work, even when it's apparent to everyone else. Experienced HR managers are aware of this, so they specifically lookout for people who do not come across as being overconfident.

They're interested in software engineers who can test their own code extensively until they find and correct any errors. And even when they fail to see the mistakes themselves, they're open to corrections and suggestions from their colleagues. Simply put, HR managers are looking for software engineers who aren’t afraid of debugging and bug fixing.

  • Team spirit

Software engineers are often very opinionated; everyone assumes that their solution is the best one for the project at hand. However, it’s very uncommon for companies to hire only one developer. What usually happens is that a company will employ many software engineers and developers to work together as a team.

Interestingly, many developers happen to be introverts who don't mind spending several hours alone, yet their jobs require them to learn how to work in a team. Great software engineers know how to collaborate with team members to achieve a goal; they work in a way that’s easy to understand and build upon.

  • A solid portfolio

Managers need a way to practically assess your skills as a software engineer. Many times, companies will conduct a job-simulation test for this purpose. But even before then, you can tip the scales in your favor by providing a portfolio of your past work.

Even if you signed an NDA for all your previous professional work, you can still participate in open source projects and include them in your portfolio. These days, every serious developer has a GitHub account, so there's a good chance that employers will like to see what GitHub projects you’ve participated in.

To Conclude

When companies want to hire software engineers, they look beyond basic technical skills. Being qualified and talented does count for something, but HR managers want to know that there's more to you than just technical mastery. They're looking out for people with other qualities like team spirit, humility, passion, and focus.  

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