The Post-Graduation Blues: 10 Tips for the Recent Computer Science Grad

Other responsibilities?Are you planning on moving anytime soon?Some individuals wish for a full-time position with a certain organization (full benefits, PTO, and holidays off), but you may have to work as a contractor there before the employer is willing to hire you full-time.

Research the market in your area while you are networking.

You might be financially flexible now but require more stability in a few years, you never know.

Also… important tidbit.

Wherever you land, the likelihood of you being there for more than 3 years is very low.

In 2017, the Software Engineering industry had the highest turnover of any other industry, and for good reason.

Between the demand and the rising compensation to entice talented engineers, the cost of your time will significantly increase the more you work.

Take this into consideration as you look forward to accepting your first position; you probably won’t be there forever, so what are some compromises you can make for a year or two?“Contract vs.

Full-time” — https://blog.



Your worth != what you’ll be paidOne of the most difficult pieces of advice for me to accept was the reality that the salary I am offered will not directly equal my worth as a professional.

Hypothetically, let’s say I am great candidate for an entry-level position.

I’m hard-working, eager, and willing to learn and I’m worth a specific amount in the workforce.

Though this is very logical thinking, it isn’t necessarily how businesses think when it comes to salary negotiation.

Despite their eagerness to get talented developers, they are still in the business of making a profit.

Which can mean offering a lower salary to someone who’s willing to accept it.

You might need to view your potential salary as “how much will get me motivated to go to work in the morning” versus “how much am I ‘worth’”.

This change in mindset can save your self-esteem and stress-level as you begin salary negotiations.

The likelihood of them aiming lower than you think you’re ‘worth’ is high.

As long as there are individuals willing to accept a lower salary, you will have a hard time finding someone who’s willing to pay you what you think you are worth.

Though this might be frustrating at first, understand that the number it takes you to “get up in the morning” will increase over time.

You won’t be at the low end of the pay scale forever.

The more experience you have, the more power you will have in negotiating your salary.

Rest assured that there are plenty of ways to climb in the technology industry.

Glassdoor “Entry Level Developer” Salary Estimate — https://www.



htmGlassdoor “Know your worth” Personal Estimate — https://www.




Get familiar with testing and testing frameworksThough it’s rarely covered in an undergraduate degree, software testing is something that you will encounter in almost every development job.

As an engineer, your job is to develop great solutions alongside ensuring those solutions don’t break previous functionality.

Through utilizing testing frameworks, developers are able to identify when bugs produced in newly produced code.

By addressing these issues early on, you can eliminate a large portion of the bugs a client may find through regular interaction with the product.

Though you can never truly eliminate all bugs, you can take responsibility for the product by using testing best-practices.

Testing can help you become a better developer.

As Boris Beizer, an American software engineer and author, once said…“More than the act of testing, the act of designing tests is one of the best bug preventers known.

The thinking that must be done to create a useful test can discover and eliminate bugs before they are coded — indeed, test-design thinking can discover and eliminate bugs at every stage in the creation of software, from conception to specification, to design, coding and the rest.

”“What is Software Testing?.Introduction, Definition, Basics & Types” — https://www.



html“Types of Software Testing” — https://www.



Utilize your school’s post-graduate resourcesThis might sound like a no-brainer, but don’t forget that your university has an incredible amount of resources at their fingertips.

They have made it their business to produce young, talented professionals who are ready for the workforce.

Don’t be shocked that businesses reach out to them on a regular basis asking for candidates.

You will only discover these opportunities if you take the time to talk with them and ask!I graduated from a small, private university and even there I had an impressive amount of resources to aid me in securing my first job.

Between resume reviewers, local company contacts, and even exclusive job opportunity postings, Universities have a wealth of resources.

Let’s not forget about job fairs that are constantly happening throughout the city!.Take the time and investigate the resources available.

You might be pleasantly surprised at the help they provide.


Interview oftenOftentimes, we put an extreme amount of pressure on ourselves during a job search.

If you’re anything like me, interviews are anxiety producing, nerve-wracking, and an overall unpleasant experience.

However, all of this is simply because of inexperience in the actual act of interviewing itself.

If you’re not comfortable in who you’re speaking with and knowledgeable of what exactly they’re looking for, you are going to be nervous!.What’s the best way to combat interview anxiety? … More interviews.

Throughout your career you are going to work in numerous places so it will benefit you to become a “professional interviewer”.

You already know you won’t be staying in the same place forever, so what’s the harm in having a conversation about other job opportunities?.If you interview for positions you are not necessarily wanting to accept, it will be that much easier to interview for jobs you’re very interested in.

Always make sure to keep your options open.

It really sets you up for success when it comes to embracing tip #10.

And lastly…10.

Make sure you and your family are #1.


This is truly the beginning of one of the biggest adventures of your life.

You’re in far too great of a field to hate your job and that’s an amazing thing.

If I’ve learned anything these last three years, I would say that nothing is worth sacrificing my relationships for; not even a really great paying job.

You have one of the most sought-after skill sets in the world right now… don’t forget that.

Once you’ve landed that first job, getting the next will be that much easier.

The idea of leaving a job that has taught you so much can be scary but remember that at the end of the day capitalism doesn’t play well with sentimentality.

In a world that changes quickly, it is important to put yourself and your continuing education as a priority in your continual job hunt.

The better of a position you’re able to put yourself in, the better you’ll be able to take care of your family and your future; and at the end of the day that’s the most important thing.

Myself outside of Slalom Consulting LLC (Saint Louis, MO), my first employer as a Software Engineer.

I was officially hired one month post-graduation and I couldn’t have been happier.

I hope that these pieces of advice resonate with you as much as they did with me.

There is plenty of room in this industry for all of us, and everyone you meet with have experiences that you can learn from.

If you have a great piece of advice that you think new grads should know, please share it in the comments below!Thanks for reading and I wish you the best of luck in your job hunt.

Jenna Palmer, @jpalmerproject (Twitter).

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