While the overall growth rate in jobs may have slowed down compared to previous years, the total number of positions in renewables – on a worldwide scale, as well as in South Africa specifically – continued to rise in 2017, in stark contrast with the other sectors.
The amount of jobs in the renewables industry increases annually, while jobs in other industries decrease.
In addition, Careers24 reports that one of the top four most sought after skills in South Africa, is software development.
Which brings us to this point: because there are so few people with software development skills in South Africa, and it is a job that is high in demand, it is not as hard switching industries as it would be for other, more common positions.
Most companies will admit to preferring a Software Developer with specific industry experience, but since development is such an in-demand skill, most organisations understand that the chances of finding a Developer with the right technology skills as well as the industry experience they’re looking for, may prove impossible.
Alexander Mudavanhu, IT Hiring Expert at Key Recruitment, concurs by saying that, “although employers always prefer Developers who have industry specific experience, in a tight market, they are often willing to take their chances on someone who may not have industry experience, but comes with a good attitude and other value-add skills.”
In that vein, here are tips for Developers looking to make an industry switch into renewables:
Never lie about your industry experience; be honest.
If you say to a prospective employer, “hey, I know I don’t have XYZ industry experience, but I would be really excited to make the switch”, it really counts towards you.
Enthusiasm goes a long way. Many employers understand that skill is not the most important quality in a new recruit – while skill can be taught, enthusiasm can’t be.
Granted, your software developing skills are in demand, but recently, when the co-founder of an application developer company was interviewing for a Software Developer, a potential candidate missed out because of his passivity; it was said that he showed no enthusiasm for the work or for the apps the company created.
Johanna Rothman, author of “Hiring Geeks That Fit” and Management Consultant, advises clients that Developers who have industry specific experience tend to get stuck in their thinking and that oftentimes, those who don’t have industry specific experience think more out of the box, because they don’t have a “that’s how it’s done” mindset…
What she is impressed with, is when technical people ask potential employers about the kind of solutions they require, and explain how their skills can help solve a problem.
Show interpersonal skills
Technical people specifically, often shy away from interacting with others, but when you as a technical person show hiring managers that you are good at communicating with other team players, it tells a story, because communication is so vital to the success of the software development process.
Many employers agree that technical people with interpersonal skill are tremendous assets, because it enables them to be better at their jobs: if a Developer understands human behaviour and how to relate to others, they can build applications that un-technical people can use with ease.
Use your initiative
Learn new technical skills in your own time, and add them to your CV.
When you do this, it tells employers that you enjoy learning new things and keep on top of the game.
It’s only people who plan to be the best version of themselves who will keep learning in their own time.