As students graduate from their software development and computer science courses, what advice some of you in the community would give to them? While it might not be that easy to get a job, the variety of technologies and languages has never been better. Any companies that are hiring graduates will have high expectations, so for a start, graduates need to know more than just their course.
Here's what I would say to anyone who wants to make it in the industry:
While waiting to land your dream job, try to make time for software development. At the very least, keep up with the latest news and releases in your particular technology area. If you really want to show committment, and keep your skill sharp, start contributing to an open source project. Don't feel intimidated by these projects: everyone works on these projects for a common goal. It's great experience for you, and gives you something else to talk about at your interview.
If open source projects aren't your thing, I really would encourage to program at home. Any way that you can utilize the skills that you picked up during your course is worthwhile. Even if you have a job, programming in your spare time can be a great hobby, especially if you use a completely different language for this extra-ciricullar development. You might be creating web applications at work, but writing iPhone apps at home could be fun (and rewarding if you get a good app on the appstore).
Something must have made you choose software as your career. Make sure to keep that in mind, to keep yourself motivated in the early years of your career. When you get a job, try to pick up as much as your can from your mentors.
I'm really interested to see what advice you would pass on to fresh graduates.