Overview

Congratulations, you have landed here because you are looking to get a job as a Software Engineer. On the upside, your industry is one of the fastest growing, given the obsession VC has had with tech startups throughout the last decade.

Another perk is this industry is lacking in supply, at least in the United States, which means as a job hunter you will have more leverage for things like salary and benefits negotiations.

On the downside, coveted positions with top companies are extremely competitive, as they offer the best packages and thus attract the cream of the crop of what is available in terms of knowledgeable Software Developers.

Do not fret, though, there is nothing wrong with a little bit of competition. Be sure your resume is in order, your portfolio is well- polished, and you will stand just as good a chance as the next guy at securing a sweet new job with the software company of your dreams.

Below, you will find a breakdown of all the things you will want to reference when crafting your own resume. From industry stats and trends, to specific resume examples, everything below is completely free and designed to help enable you to create your own application.

This means that yes, you may copy what you please, however, using our samples as reference points is best, as creating a unique resume to highlight your own individual experiences is by far the more optimal solution.

Pay

Pay for Software Developers varies widely. Salary will depend on years of experience, education level, and the breadth of your skill set.

For example, if you learned Ruby on Rails 4.2 but never learned Ruby 5.0 then you will command a lower premium than an Engineer fully versed in Ruby language.

Likewise, the more “full-stack” you are, the better, as having a well rounded Engineer usually ends up saving company’s time and money as opposed to hiring a bunch of overly-specialized individuals.

Software Engineer Salary Statistics

2016 Median Pay$100,690 per year
$48.41 per hour
Typical Entry-Level EducationBachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related OccupationNone
On-the-job TrainingNone
Number of Jobs, 20161,114,000
Job Outlook, 2014-2024+17%
Employment Change, 2014-2024+186,600
Sources: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics & Payscale

Industry Forecast

As indicated below, the industry has experienced robust growth, year in and year out. With the ever growing pace of the digital world, from SaaS to App development to new tech like smart watches and other wearable software development, growth is not likely to diminish any time soon.

Types of Developers

Software Engineers fall into the overly broad category “Internet Technology” or just “IT” for short. You may also be referred to simply as a Computer Scientist or Systems Engineer. These, however, are quite lacking in terms of descriptiveness and are usually only used by upper management that do not really understand what they are talking about.

Try to narrow down your title to be as descriptive as possible. Here are a few options  to choose from, compiled by HyperionDev::

  • Web Developer
  • Mobile Developer
  • Data Scientist
  • Application Developer
  • Back-End Developer
  • Software Tools Developer
  • API Developer
  • Embedded Systems Developer
  • Security Software Developer
  • Cloud Computing Specialist
  • Distributed Computing Specialist

When writing your own resume you will want to be as specific as possible. Do not just label yourself a “Developer”; instead, state that you are a “Mobile App Developer” or perhaps an “Enterprise Systems Software Engineer”.

There are dozens of Engineering sub-niches to use to better describe yourself on paper, on your Linkedin profile, and in interviews.

MS Word Resume Download

Here is a real example that is professionally formatted and includes bullet points from real workers to help inspire you when writing your own resume. Feel free to save this resume and use it as a reference point when writing your own.

View Large Version

How To Write Your Own

Getting a job is all about customizing your resume as much as possible for the specific position being applied for. For Software Engineering positions, you will want to adjust the bullet points you use to make your specific resume  most attractive to the reader.

For example, if you have 6 years of working experience, 3 in Systems Engineering for Cisco, 2 as an teacher for Udemy and 1 as an intern at a local bank chain, and you are applying to a Fortune 500 company, you would want to highlight your Cisco experience, above all, by including the most bullet points under that section.

Conversely, if applying to a SaaS startup you may want to emphasize your local internship experience if it was with a small startup-like team and your Udemy teaching experience as these will be more pertinent to the lean and thrifty atmosphere of a startup.

Style & Fonts

No need to go shopping around for some type of colorful resume template as “creativity”, while useful, is not of top concern for Dev recruitment. Choose a safe and simple font, like Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, Verdana or Helvetica.

Depending on whether you are trying to squeeze to one page or if you have enough relevant information (10+ years of experience usually) for two pages, you can tweak your font size to anywhere between 12-14, but we recommend against exceeding 14pt as it will look like it has  been written for children or the visually impaired.

TIP: You can get really crafty with your font size. If you are just a few words over one page and can not cut out any more “filler words”, try tweaking your font by the decimal place. You would be surprised how much paper real estate you can free up by just moving from a 13pt font to a 12.4pt.

Sample Bullet Points

Below are a few experience points specific to Dev/Engineer resumes. You will want to spend more time focusing on your skills and achievements and not so much on your history. Also, do not be afraid to go beyond just your technical skills.

For example, if you were with an App company and developed a unique payment system that increased revenue by XXX% on the year, be sure to include that. Recruiters will eat it up!

Sample Software Engineer Bullet Points

Task
Modify existing software to correct errors, to adapt it to new hardware, or to upgrade interfaces and improve performance.
Develop or direct software system testing or validation procedures.
Direct software programming and development of documentation.
Consult with customers or other departments on project status, proposals, or technical issues, such as software system design or maintenance.
Analyze information to determine, recommend, and plan installation of a new system or modification of an existing system.
Consult with engineering staff to evaluate interface between hardware and software, develop specifications and performance requirements, or resolve customer problems.
Design or develop software systems, using scientific analysis and mathematical models to predict and measure outcome and consequences of design.
Prepare reports or correspondence concerning project specifications, activities, or status.
Confer with data processing or project managers to obtain information on limitations or capabilities for data processing projects.
Store, retrieve, and manipulate data for analysis of system capabilities and requirements.
Coordinate installation of software system.
Monitor functioning of equipment to ensure system operates in conformance with specifications.
Supervise and assign work to programmers, designers, technologists, technicians, or other engineering or scientific personnel.
Advise customer about or perform maintenance of software system.
Train users to use new or modified equipment.
Specify power supply requirements and configuration.
Evaluate factors such as reporting formats required, cost constraints, or need for security restrictions to determine hardware configuration.
Use microcontrollers to develop control signals, implement control algorithms, or measure process variables, such as temperatures, pressures, or positions.
Recommend purchase of equipment to control dust, temperature, or humidity in area of system installation.

Career Objective Writing

A Career Objective will set the precedent for the rest of the resume. Do not overthink it, though, this is just the point at the end of the arrow. You want to take some time to fine-tune it so it is razor sharp and precise.

Do not say you just want X job with X company, instead, mention specifically experience, knowledge or skills you would like to put to use for the software company you are applying to.

With a finely crafted Career Objective (or Objective Statement), the rest of the resume will follow through perfectly, like the momentum the shaft of the arrow and the bow provide.

Example 1:

Ambitious Ruby Engineer with 5 years experience working in startup environments seeking a position in which to apply Ruby skills and agile development practices to better grow the company.

Example 2:

Experienced Network Engineer seeking challenging new environment to apply 15+ years of enterprise-level systems management knowledge and experience.

Additional Skills & Certifications

Engineering-based positions are highly dependent on skill sets, even more so than other industries where experience is more highly prized.

For example, a Sales Manager can promote himself by highlighting intra-personal skills like communication and teamwork.

Developers, on the other hand, while team players and communicators are appreciated, are prized more for their talents and what they can do in the respective sub-fields. After all, who needs communication skills and team player skills when you have Slack  and Trello, right?

Seriously, though, things like certifications hold a lot of weight for such technical positions as these. If you have national/international certifications, like those of the Software Engineering Institute or the IEEE, be sure to include them, especially if prepping for  an international career.

Likewise, certifications from private companies and organizations are also highly prized, such as certification from companies like Apple, IBM, and Microsoft.

Generally speaking, if you worked hard and got an actual “certification” in anything specifically related to the job you are currently applying to (do not include non-relevant certifications as they will only dilute the relevant ones and distract the reader of your resume) then be sure to include them!

Useful Skills to Include

Including technical skills is key for making a winning web engineering resume. Do not be afraid to use “the language of your people” and get technical.

For example:

  • HTML/XHTML, CSS, JavaScript
  • Server/Client side architecture
  • Programming/Coding/Scripting in one of the many server-side frameworks (at least one of: Perl, Python, Ruby, PHP, CFML – ColdFusion, Java, ASP, .NET, .NET MVC)
  • Ability to utilize a database

You may be more proficient in some of these tools than others, as a natural outgrowth of your coursework, professional experience, or side projects.

Obviously, having a wide range of skills would be a bonus for your resume. However, having a deep expertise in any of the given programming languages – especially heavily used ones – may be more preferable if you are looking to work for a company that exclusively uses a single language for their website.

For instance, since Drupal is written in PHP, a web company using Drupal would not be looking to hire someone who was an expert in ASP, which is now considered an older programming language.

Below are a few professionally written sample skills to include. Have fun with them and change them to suit your personal expertise and experiences.

Useful Software Engineer Skills

SkillSkill Description
Reading ComprehensionUnderstanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active ListeningGiving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical ThinkingUsing logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
SpeakingTalking to others to convey information effectively.
Complex Problem SolvingIdentifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
MathematicsUsing mathematics to solve problems.
Social PerceptivenessBeing aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Judgment and Decision MakingConsidering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
WritingCommunicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
MonitoringMonitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
CoordinationAdjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Time ManagementManaging one's own time and the time of others.
Active LearningUnderstanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Service OrientationActively looking for ways to help people.
PersuasionPersuading others to change their minds or behavior.
Operations AnalysisAnalyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
Systems AnalysisDetermining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
NegotiationBringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
InstructingTeaching others how to do something.
Systems EvaluationIdentifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
Learning StrategiesSelecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
ProgrammingWriting computer programs for various purposes.
Quality Control AnalysisConducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Management of Personnel ResourcesMotivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
Management of Material ResourcesObtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work.
Management of Financial ResourcesDetermining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.
ScienceUsing scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Technology DesignGenerating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
Operation MonitoringWatching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
InstallationInstalling equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
Operation and ControlControlling operations of equipment or systems.
TroubleshootingDetermining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
Equipment SelectionDetermining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
Equipment MaintenancePerforming routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
RepairingRepairing machines or systems using the needed tools.

Additional Resources

Below are a hand-picked selection of videos that we feel might also help you with your resume and interview preparation.

Reality Vs. Expectations

Below is a great interview with a Carnegie Mellon grad who worked for both Qualcomm and then two smaller startups.

Expert Insight

Here John Sonmez and founder of Simple Programmer details what all Dev/Programmer resumes MUST include to be competitive in the industry and provides a few tips as well.

 

Additional Resources

Below is a curated selection of additional engineering-specific resources that touch on topics not covered here:

From Tech Republic:  10 Tips for Writing a Job-Winning Dev Resume

From Developerdotstar (and oldie but a classic): The Art of the Developer Resume

From Developer.com: 3 Types of Interview Questions Software Devs Should Expect

From Glassdoor: Sample Software Engineer Interview Questions (taken from real company interviews!)

 

That’s it for now! This page is a living, breathing thing and is updated whenever we find other juicy bits to add to better help Devs such as yourself prep for finding a job. If you have specific questions about your resume, you can ask in the comments below; we’d love to help out!