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My name is Bryan, Cal Engineering, Backend Guy @ Critica

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  • How much more difficult is it to go from EE to an entry level CS job?

    I graduated recently from UIUC with a EE degree. I took a lot of CS courses as an EE major so I have similar coursework as that of a CS major. I’ve been applying to entry level CS jobs. I’ve applied to over 20 now but only got one response and that was to tell me that I will not be moving forward to the interview stage. I am thinking maybe it is the EE major that is listed on my resume. How can I work around this? What are ways to improve my chances?

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    The fact that your degree is in EE shouldn't be a huge knock against you (mine's in Mechanical Engineering!) However, if you put undue focus on it on your resume, it might make things more difficult. A few quick tips:

    1) If you list coursework, strip out all but the most relevant classes. When I read a resume, a big huge list of classes just becomes an indecipherable blur. List only a handful, and only those that you can justify as being relevant to the position you're applying for.

    2) Emphasize any relevant CS projects and extracurriculars you've done. If you have a degree in a technical field that's not CS, that's usually OK if you demonstrate experience. However, if your experience is pretty generic, that's going to compound with the fact that you don't have a CS degree to make things difficult. If you don't have CS internships, research, or personal projects then rep stuff you've done in class- but you have to have something!

    3) If you lack a lot of relevant experience AND the relevant degree, which is not uncommon for new grads, you can try shifting to a skills-based instead of an experience-based resume. Basically instead of listing work that you've done chronologically, you'll highlight individual skills (usually cherry-picked from their job requirements list) and then explain how you've demonstrated that you have this skill through experiences.

    4) Keep trying! Getting a job can be a hugely difficult and lengthy process.

    5) Finally, don't overlook (paid) internships either. This is a great way for people who would normally be passed over to show that they have what it takes and potentially grab a position that they are on paper unqualified for.

    Good luck!