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My aim of this talk is to give you some simple insights into how to find a job when you are an IT graduate.

The first thing to decide is what area you’re going into: development or infrastructure? And I assume most will be looking for a code orientated role…

But if you do go down the infrastructure route please make sure you get a role that is technical enough & allows you to code / script otherwise you might find your job being replaced by a Chat Bot or Digital Human sooner rather than later.

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So how do you actually get an IT job?

Once you've decided the area you want to go into, then you can decide on the type of role you want! 

So within development do you enjoy mobile apps, web or full stack development, back-end or want to go deep into Big Data? Within Infrastructure / Networks do you want to be involved in Comms like Juniper or Cisco, or a SysAdmin/DevOps role within Windows or Linux?

Then you can shape your CV around that type of role including those relevant technologies & personal projects….You can also tailor your CV to different roles if you quite like web & full stack dev for example…so it’s more about having a general idea i.e. web and then going for a few different types of web roles…

If you have a chance to go to a CV workshop I’d recommend that as we get a lot of people to re-write their CVs.

Some of the key issues we often have are:

***Spelling / grammar mistakes

***Long waffling CVs so keep short & succinct 1-3 pages

***Expand detail on your technical projects you did at Uni and any side projects or internships

***Make sure your CV is relevant to the role you’re applying to which can mean changing things to emphasise different technologies or projects

We also want to see either an internship or a personal project within the technology we’re recruiting for i.e. if you’re going for mobile apps we’d like you to be able to have some basic coding in Java on android or swift on iOS, or be able to talk about your projects at Uni from a technical standpoint….this will really make you stand out from the other candidates...

Cover letter - either as an attachment or in an email paragraph actually telling the recruiter, HR manager or Line Manager your current situation and why you’re the best candidate for the job - think of it was your 30 second elevator pitch. Keep it short & punchy.

Let your friends know you’re looking for a job, let your parents know, then let your friend’s parents know that you’re looking for a job - you’d be surprised how many people get jobs this way or at least an interview or foot-in-the-door.

Go to Job fairs / company presentations / start networking / have you created a LinkedIn profile?

Get out there & network you can attend your local Meetups (free) and your local tech conferences (at reduced student rates) & hackathons. We have some excellent resources in Christchurch that you can check out like Ministry of Awesome, Canterbury Tech, Meetups, and the Christchurch Hacker Conference.

The classic saying ‘It’s not what you know it’s who you know’ but I like to take this to the next level ’It’s what you know & who you know!!!!

Apply for graduate jobs online on the various Job boards - TradeMe / Seek / SJS / LinkedIn

CV, cover letter then apply, if there’s a direct email send it direct to them. Then follow up with a phone call, this will instantly show you’re keen, interested & confident….I have a policy that if anyone rings me about a tech job and wants to see me I pretty much say yes….

A rainbow welcomes me back to my old university for a talk to computer science & software engineering students

A rainbow welcomes me back to my old university for a talk to computer science & software engineering students

The Interview:

(Mock interview thank you to Exequiel from CompSoc for taking part :-)

Here are some interview questions you’re likely to get at your first interview....


1) How did your course go at Uni? What did you most enjoy?

2) What do you like to do out of study?

3) What do you enjoy about coding?

4) Tell me about your most successful technical project?

5) What's the hardest problem you've ever solved?

6) What new technologies have you been excited about recently?


Hot technologies in demand in the Christchurch IT market:

Web UI Applications Development - TypeScript / Angular2, JavaScript (React or Vue.js)

Containerisation & DevOps - Docker / Kubernetes / Rancher, Ansible or Puppet

Software - C#.Net, Java, C++ or Python

Full Stack Web Development - (PHP/JavaScript) Laravel, Silverstripe, Symfony2)

Big Data, DataScientist or Data Engineer - ML & AI - Coding in R / Python /Spark / Tensor Flow /

Mobile Apps - Native (iOS or Android) or Hybrid (Xamarin etc)

SysAdmin - Linux scripting in BASH or Windows scripting in Powershell

Cloud - AWS, Azure & Google Cloud

Network Engineering - Cisco, Juniper, Huawei, Fortinet

Data Analytics - Power BI or Tableau

Automation engineering / testing - Test frameworks like Katalan, Selenium, Cucumber, scripting in Python, Java or C#

Sometimes the graduate role will be learning the ropes - the coding language, tooling & domain but just make sure the role has progression and you like the company culture & the team is friendly & fun with some good senior people to learn from.

So what are the highest paid jobs?

Software Architecture and product design & development but of course if you’re the top in any area in IT you will be very well paid.

Seek today released the top 20 highest paid jobs and Head of Engineering & Head of IT were the top even higher paid than a GP. 10 IT jobs featured in the top 20. Please click here to read more.

After 6 or 7 years or earlier you can think about becoming a contractor earning hourly rates to work on projects that can give you excellent variety, interest and opportunity to run your own freelancing / consulting company. A very experienced Senior Software Developer contracting in Christchurch can earn $100 per hour.

Of course you need to start somewhere and a graduate degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering will get you a starting salary in Christchurch of about $45k-$58k depending on the organisation and role. $50k is a good rule of thumb and it can go up quite quickly once you start adding value after just a few years.

Why should you work overseas? It’s great to work on the big stage, work on super large systems, see how companies do things differently (and similar) and work in different cultures meeting great people & some life long friends and when you come back to NZ for family & lifestyle you’re very well qualified.

We talked about about influencing & soft skills and I mentioned a very good book on Human Relations....

‘How to win friends & influence people’ by Dale Carnegie.  It's a terribly cheesy title but being written in 1936 it’s stood the test of time and has been modernised to give contemporary examples.  This is a MUST read for any person in business and will help improve your people skills.

So keep up your coding and at the very least scripting in Python and soon even Receptionists & Admins will be coding in Python.

If you haven’t started out on LinkedIn yet feel free to create a profile & connect with me. You can also check out our current graduate roles please here:

 Graduate Full Stack C#.Net Software Engineer, IT Jobs Christchurch NZ 

Feel free to send me your CV and I’m happy to give you some feedback & maybe we can catch up for a coffee :-)

You can email me on:

I'm Paul, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, blockchain, big data, infrastructure, security & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.