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    Hi guys,
    I am graduating this year with BSc Computer Science from a mid-range university. I am expecting 2:1. I have been applying for Junior Front End Developer jobs as I developed a Web Application for my final year project. How hard is it to get my first job in IT? I have had 3 calls from agencies but I have not had any interviews so far. Honestly speaking English is not my first language but I don't think it is too bad either. what are my chances of launching my career in IT? How can I improve my chances of getting a job?
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    (Original post by Jai2013)
    Hi guys,
    I am graduating this year with BSc Computer Science from a mid-range university. I am expecting 2:1. I have been applying for Junior Front End Developer jobs as I developed a Web Application for my final year project. How hard is it to get my first job in IT? I have had 3 calls from agencies but I have not had any interviews so far. Honestly speaking English is not my first language but I don't think it is too bad either. what are my chances of launching my career in IT? How can I improve my chances of getting a job?
    How much experience do you have and what are your programming skills like? There's quite a lot of factors which determine how "hard" it is to get a job in IT but the main ones would be what sort of job you're applying for and how your CV stands out.

    Be proficient in more programming languages, get involved with more projects in your spare time and showcase them online. Consider a graduate scheme by going onto Gradcracker, they have quite a lot of jobs available in many different industries.
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    How much experience do you have and what are your programming skills like? There's quite a lot of factors which determine how "hard" it is to get a job in IT but the main ones would be what sort of job you're applying for and how your CV stands out.

    Be proficient in more programming languages, get involved with more projects in your spare time and showcase them online. Consider a graduate scheme by going onto Gradcracker, they have quite a lot of jobs available in many different industries.
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    (Original post by UWS)
    How much experience do you have and what are your programming skills like? There's quite a lot of factors which determine how "hard" it is to get a job in IT but the main ones would be what sort of job you're applying for and how your CV stands out.

    Be proficient in more programming languages, get involved with more projects in your spare time and showcase them online. Consider a graduate scheme by going onto Gradcracker, they have quite a lot of jobs available in many different industries.
    Thank you for your advice. I have no professional work experience. I have been learning new languages. I would check and apply for graduate scheme, I know that it is quite late. I have a portfolio to showcase my skills which I developed for my final year project. As you say, I need to make it available online.

    I have an offer to study Master in UX Dessign in which stream I would progress my career. Is it worth studying masters If I don’t get a job before September?
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    Having a lack of real-world experience will mean you've got a harder time competing for graduate jobs, but a 2:1 is a respectable outcome, and as long as your university taught you a solid set of technical skills then everything is achievable. ( Assuming it was a decent course anyway, I'm aware that a few low-ranked universities have un-challenging courses and lecturers who are ineffective at teaching the technical skills, so if this is the case then doing some further study would help)

    You mentioned that English isn't your first language, although based on this thread your English written skills seem to be at a pretty high standard for a non-native English speaker. Would you say that your vocal communication skills are at a similar standard? If your usage and understanding of the English language isn't a barrier, then as long as you demonstrate strong general communication skills in the interview, then this shouldn't be an issue (e.g. speaking clearly, being able to articulate your understanding of technical topics, being able to comfortably walk interviewers through your Final-year project and answer their questions, etc.)

    Overall, front-end web development is more of a design-based discipline than a technical one - in other words, to succeed as a front-end designer you need to have a solid grounding in UI/UX and graphic design in addition to the HTML/CSS/JavaScript based technical skills. Technical careers in web development tend to be "full stack" with a heavy emphasis on back-end technologies, as well as broader software engineering skills.

    Assuming you're looking web development from a technical point of view, here's a few things to consider:
    • How would you rate your back-end development skills? Have you used any back-end technologies such as PHP/ASP.NET/Spring/Django ?
    • How confident are you with SQL and database design/normalisation?
    • Do you have any experience in modern front-end web frameworks such as Angular or React?
    • Have you used any automated testing tools (e.g. in your final year project?) Employers tend to be interested in people who know how to write automated tests and can demonstate experience of tools like Selenium
    • Also on the subject of testing, if you learn Angular, make sure you also know about Karma and Jasmine (again, automated testing of front-end UI components is great to have on your CV).
    • Do you know how to use any other JavaScript tools such as NodeJS and WebPack? (You'd most likely use these if you picked up Angular or React)


    Did your course teach you about cloud hosting and cloud deployment (e.g. with Azure or AWS)? I would strongly recommend putting your Final Year project on GitHub and then learning how to automatically deploy your website into Azure/AWS - 'Continuous Deployment' and 'Continuous Integration' with AWS/Azure/Git are useful skills to put on your CV.

    Also, how are your general programming skills in high-level general purpose languages like Java or C#? Did you spend much time studying Object-oriented programming/design? Being a strong/competent programmer is essential when taking interviews because the employers will likely ask you questions on those topics.

    As for your job search, how far are you looking? In general you will have better chances if you're willing to cast your net wide and relocate across the country to another city. The graduate sites are good, but also don't forget to look at websites like CWJobs, TechnoJobs and Indeed. You can usually find a lot of junior jobs by Googling, although sometimes you'll need to talk to agencies; however submitting your CV to the agencies is certainly worthwhile while you're looking for entry-level jobs - there will be a lot of smaller companies out there hiring graduates in to this sort of role.

    If you feel that your technical skills are letting you down, then a Masters is a possible option. You could also use the time you have over the summer to pick up skills from some distance courses - Check out TeamTreehouse, Udacity, edX and Coursera. for a mixture of cheap and free courses (edX and Coursera courses are all free if you ignore the paid certificates. Udacity has a lot of free courses. TeamTreehouse is based on a reasonably priced monthly subscription).

    Overall, it will be your technical skills more than your qualifications which help you get a job - you can still build a CV packed full of project experience and put up some awesome showpiece demonstration projects to show off your technical skills and grab employers' attention that way instead. Many of the skillls do take time to learn if you didn't pick them up at university, but the best way to do that aside from picking up a book/course is to put them into practice with a personal project.
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    (Original post by Jai2013)
    Hi guys,
    I am graduating this year with BSc Computer Science from a mid-range university. I am expecting 2:1. I have been applying for Junior Front End Developer jobs as I developed a Web Application for my final year project. How hard is it to get my first job in IT? I have had 3 calls from agencies but I have not had any interviews so far. Honestly speaking English is not my first language but I don't think it is too bad either. what are my chances of launching my career in IT? How can I improve my chances of getting a job?
    Your prospects are assured in this area. The BLOCKCHAIN industries are bending over backwards to get people like you developing Daps (Decentralised Applications) for the next phase of the Internet. Look in Github, Bitcoin, Ethereum, BOScoin and hundreds of others all looking for front end back end developers. Good luck. Your future is assured
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    (Original post by winterscoming)
    Having a lack of real-world experience will mean you've got a harder time competing for graduate jobs, but a 2:1 is a respectable outcome, and as long as your university taught you a solid set of technical skills then everything is achievable. ( Assuming it was a decent course anyway, I'm aware that a few low-ranked universities have un-challenging courses and lecturers who are ineffective at teaching the technical skills, so if this is the case then doing some further study would help)

    You mentioned that English isn't your first language, although based on this thread your English written skills seem to be at a pretty high standard for a non-native English speaker. Would you say that your vocal communication skills are at a similar standard? If your usage and understanding of the English language isn't a barrier, then as long as you demonstrate strong general communication skills in the interview, then this shouldn't be an issue (e.g. speaking clearly, being able to articulate your understanding of technical topics, being able to comfortably walk interviewers through your Final-year project and answer their questions, etc.)

    Overall, front-end web development is more of a design-based discipline than a technical one - in other words, to succeed as a front-end designer you need to have a solid grounding in UI/UX and graphic design in addition to the HTML/CSS/JavaScript based technical skills. Technical careers in web development tend to be "full stack" with a heavy emphasis on back-end technologies, as well as broader software engineering skills.

    Assuming you're looking web development from a technical point of view, here's a few things to consider:
    • How would you rate your back-end development skills? Have you used any back-end technologies such as PHP/ASP.NET/Spring/Django ?
    • How confident are you with SQL and database design/normalisation?
    • Do you have any experience in modern front-end web frameworks such as Angular or React?
    • Have you used any automated testing tools (e.g. in your final year project?) Employers tend to be interested in people who know how to write automated tests and can demonstate experience of tools like Selenium
    • Also on the subject of testing, if you learn Angular, make sure you also know about Karma and Jasmine (again, automated testing of front-end UI components is great to have on your CV).
    • Do you know how to use any other JavaScript tools such as NodeJS and WebPack? (You'd most likely use these if you picked up Angular or React)


    Did your course teach you about cloud hosting and cloud deployment (e.g. with Azure or AWS)? I would strongly recommend putting your Final Year project on GitHub and then learning how to automatically deploy your website into Azure/AWS - 'Continuous Deployment' and 'Continuous Integration' with AWS/Azure/Git are useful skills to put on your CV.

    Also, how are your general programming skills in high-level general purpose languages like Java or C#? Did you spend much time studying Object-oriented programming/design? Being a strong/competent programmer is essential when taking interviews because the employers will likely ask you questions on those topics.

    As for your job search, how far are you looking? In general you will have better chances if you're willing to cast your net wide and relocate across the country to another city. The graduate sites are good, but also don't forget to look at websites like CWJobs, TechnoJobs and Indeed. You can usually find a lot of junior jobs by Googling, although sometimes you'll need to talk to agencies; however submitting your CV to the agencies is certainly worthwhile while you're looking for entry-level jobs - there will be a lot of smaller companies out there hiring graduates in to this sort of role.

    If you feel that your technical skills are letting you down, then a Masters is a possible option. You could also use the time you have over the summer to pick up skills from some distance courses - Check out TeamTreehouse, Udacity, edX and Coursera. for a mixture of cheap and free courses (edX and Coursera courses are all free if you ignore the paid certificates. Udacity has a lot of free courses. TeamTreehouse is based on a reasonably priced monthly subscription).

    Overall, it will be your technical skills more than your qualifications which help you get a job - you can still build a CV packed full of project experience and put up some awesome showpiece demonstration projects to show off your technical skills and grab employers' attention that way instead. Many of the skillls do take time to learn if you didn't pick them up at university, but the best way to do that aside from picking up a book/course is to put them into practice with a personal project.
    First of all, Thank you for your detailed explanation. I could not find such useful information anywhere. The university I studied was the University of Hertfordshire, which is in low ranking in the main table. According to the Guardian, for Computer Science it is in 40th ranking. I am not aware that in employers' perspective how this uni is viewed. I have a good knowledge of JavaScript, CSS3, HTML5, ASP.NET, and C#. I studied Object Oriented Programming but mostly that was theoretical. As you say that "Being a strong/competent programmer is essential", it makes me a bit worried because I am not a competent programmer, but I don't find it hard learning new languages by self-study that is what I have been doing since completing studies. I used to apply for small companies with entry-level positions and I would relocate to a different part of the UK if there is an opportunity.
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    (Original post by Jai2013)
    First of all, Thank you for your detailed explanation. I could not find such useful information anywhere. The university I studied was the University of Hertfordshire, which is in low ranking in the main table. According to the Guardian, for Computer Science it is in 40th ranking. I am not aware that in employers' perspective how this uni is viewed. I have a good knowledge of JavaScript, CSS3, HTML5, ASP.NET, and C#. I studied Object Oriented Programming but mostly that was theoretical. As you say that "Being a strong/competent programmer is essential", it makes me a bit worried because I am not a competent programmer, but I don't find it hard learning new languages by self-study that is what I have been doing since completing studies. I used to apply for small companies with entry-level positions and I would relocate to a different part of the UK if there is an opportunity.
    Well, the university rankings don't really tell you much, but 40 isn't a low ranking by any stretch, although rankings don't really say much about whether the content of the course is actually relevant to job prospects, but 'pure' computer science is usually more theoretical than other computing degrees so I suppose it's to be expected somewhat

    C# and ASP.NET are really good skills to build on - they're pretty widely used out in the real world because you can be fairly productive with them and get stuff working quickly when you know what you're doing with them.

    It's not necessarily about the number of languages you know but having the depth of understanding in at least one stack to build larger non-trivial apps, and understand what's going on so that you can solve problems when you get stuck (although half the time with ASP.NET that just means typing the error into Google). Most of it really boils down to practice. By the way, I don't know how much of the C# language you have covered so far, but Jon Skeet's book called C# in Depth is really good for explaining some of the darker corners of the language.

    ASP.NET is great in some ways because it does a lot of things for you - on the other hand it's a bit like a black box and it's not always easy to understand what's going on under the hood, so you can end up spending 80% of your time on Google and StackOverflow. But you can certainly find a lot of jobs using C# anyway, so I'd suggest sticking that for now and doing a 'deeper dive' into those, so that you've got a solid grounding in C# and .NET. Make sure you're good with LINQ, Entity Framework, and WebAPI (i.e. REST APIs using JSON) and just try to get some good practice with it.

    Also try to get a deeper understanding of ASP.NET Core as well - Microsoft made some major improvements to this compared to the "old" ASP.NET by kind of starting again with a different approach compared to MVC5. I don't know whether you ever had a look at things like ASP.NET Core dependency injection or the middleware but there's a lot of stuff going on with it that's worth learning and getting used to.

    And as I'm sure you're aware, MS have made it pretty easy with ASP.NET to get stuff working at a basic level, so the templates in visual studio are a really good start for getting to grips with things like Angular on the front-end. Angular has a very steep learning curve moving from things like JQuery, but it also allows you to write web apps that do things on a page which would be mind-blowingly difficult with plain JavaScript - again there's loads of 'magic' just like ASP.NET.

    The Angular template with ASP.NET Core has got a nice example of a front-end app getting data from the back-end web service - there's loads of stuff to tinker with and try to get your head around how it works - a lot of it might come down to trying to google for information. but MSDN has got a lot of info, and so has the official Angular website. It's definitely possible to teach yourself the technical stuff in your spare time while you're applying for jobs.
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    (Original post by UWS)
    How much experience do you have and what are your programming skills like? There's quite a lot of factors which determine how "hard" it is to get a job in IT but the main ones would be what sort of job you're applying for and how your CV stands out.

    Be proficient in more programming languages, get involved with more projects in your spare time and showcase them online. Consider a graduate scheme by going onto Gradcracker, they have quite a lot of jobs available in many different industries.
    I second this. But also it depends on the 'IT' job. Some skills are more in demand than others. Its harder finding a job in one field then another. But yeah, totally work on your skills and build that protfolio. Portfolio. Portfolio. Portfolio is life and death when it comes to finding work (or it was for me, and I can only speak from experience)
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    (Original post by stettafire)
    I second this. But also it depends on the 'IT' job. Some skills are more in demand than others. Its harder finding a job in one field then another. But yeah, totally work on your skills and build that protfolio. Portfolio. Portfolio. Portfolio is life and death when it comes to finding work (or it was for me, and I can only speak from experience)
    Your point about the portfolio isn't really true in purely technical jobs. Employers have different expectations depending on the job they're recruiting for.

    A portfolio is important wherever visual design skills or an understanding of user psychology/behaviour is important (e.g. Web/UX design or Game development), in which case employers tend to be looking at somebody's attention to detail, and how well they are able to take a their own rough idea and refine it through many iterations until it's polished up to a high quality. In those kinds of jobs, most people really only get one chance to engage with their user, so their design needs to be "perfect" first time. A portfolio is really important for those job interviews.


    Things are different in other technical jobs (e.g. Software engineering, networking, cybersecurity, etc.) - those jobs aren't about achieving perfection; in general, those kinds of jobs are about solving problems, understanding technology and fundamentally just making things work to meet a business need.

    Employers hiring IT professionals into technical roles are seeking a particular skill-set which is a close-enough match for the job (So if it's not an exact match, then it at least provides enough of a foundation to build upon and get up to speed quickly) - Interviewers really only have one question in mind, which is whether the person they're interviewing is sufficiently capable of being able to cope with the demands of the job, and whether they're going to be able to cope with anything thrown at them in the future.

    Self-taught developers do benefit from using personal projects in their own time for learning skills - however the focus is on the skills learned and not the project. It can be useful to use a personal project as a discussion point in an interview to demonstrate an understanding of software engineering practices and principles, generally that they're able to write and understand "good code". But the real reason for doing personal projects is to get as close as possible to having something where technical skills are put into practice on something less contrived than a tutorial or assignment.

    In the general case, employers hiring technical IT professionals do not expect anybody to have a portfolio - the interview process will be dominated by discussion of their technical skills and examples of where they've put those skills to use, or perhaps skills tests, or even a "whiteboard" problem solving session.

    Personal projects are a good discussion point for someone who is self-taught and who doesn't have any other experience, and those people may find that a personal project is their only source of experience/evidence to talk about in an interview - in which case employers might be more interested, but it doesn't have the same importance when compared with a design-based job.

    If somebody without experience does have a degree or masters with a decent FYP, then that will be covered in the interview. Similarly, if someone has been in a 12+ month apprenticeship or 12+ month internship programme, then that's also quite enough. More generally, it makes little difference to anyone once they're already a year or two into their career, the interview will turn to discussions about their experience using their skills in the real-world.

    Generally speaking, the vast majority of experienced technical IT professionals do not have any kind of portfolio, and it's not expected of them in the recruitment process - mostly because they spend their life working for other people, and it's widely understood that nobody should ever be expected to have to "steal" work from previous employers while applying for a new job. (Because essentially any artefacts you produce as an IT professional don't belong to you, they belong to your employer).
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    (Original post by winterscoming)
    Your point about the portfolio isn't really true in purely technical jobs. Employers have different expectations depending on the job they're recruiting for.

    A portfolio is important wherever visual design skills or an understanding of user psychology/behaviour is important (e.g. Web/UX design or Game development), in which case employers tend to be looking at somebody's attention to detail, and how well they are able to take a their own rough idea and refine it through many iterations until it's polished up to a high quality. In those kinds of jobs, most people really only get one chance to engage with their user, so their design needs to be "perfect" first time. A portfolio is really important for those job interviews.


    Things are different in other technical jobs (e.g. Software engineering, networking, cybersecurity, etc.) - those jobs aren't about achieving perfection; in general, those kinds of jobs are about solving problems, understanding technology and fundamentally just making things work to meet a business need.

    Employers hiring IT professionals into technical roles are seeking a particular skill-set which is a close-enough match for the job (So if it's not an exact match, then it at least provides enough of a foundation to build upon and get up to speed quickly) - Interviewers really only have one question in mind, which is whether the person they're interviewing is sufficiently capable of being able to cope with the demands of the job, and whether they're going to be able to cope with anything thrown at them in the future.

    Self-taught developers do benefit from using personal projects in their own time for learning skills - however the focus is on the skills learned and not the project. It can be useful to use a personal project as a discussion point in an interview to demonstrate an understanding of software engineering practices and principles, generally that they're able to write and understand "good code". But the real reason for doing personal projects is to get as close as possible to having something where technical skills are put into practice on something less contrived than a tutorial or assignment.

    In the general case, employers hiring technical IT professionals do not expect anybody to have a portfolio - the interview process will be dominated by discussion of their technical skills and examples of where they've put those skills to use, or perhaps skills tests, or even a "whiteboard" problem solving session.

    Personal projects are a good discussion point for someone who is self-taught and who doesn't have any other experience, and those people may find that a personal project is their only source of experience/evidence to talk about in an interview - in which case employers might be more interested, but it doesn't have the same importance when compared with a design-based job.

    If somebody without experience does have a degree or masters with a decent FYP, then that will be covered in the interview. Similarly, if someone has been in a 12+ month apprenticeship or 12+ month internship programme, then that's also quite enough. More generally, it makes little difference to anyone once they're already a year or two into their career, the interview will turn to discussions about their experience using their skills in the real-world.

    Generally speaking, the vast majority of experienced technical IT professionals do not have any kind of portfolio, and it's not expected of them in the recruitment process - mostly because they spend their life working for other people, and it's widely understood that nobody should ever be expected to have to "steal" work from previous employers while applying for a new job. (Because essentially any artefacts you produce as an IT professional don't belong to you, they belong to your employer).
    disagree with software engineering. a good roster of projects will always put you one step ahead of those who haven't taken the time to build things themselves.

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    Well my place takes on devs freshout of uni, providing they have a pulse.
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    (Original post by Princepieman)
    disagree with software engineering. a good roster of projects will always put you one step ahead of those who haven't taken the time to build things themselves.
    I agree it's a good thing to do to stand out, and more generally a good way to pick up skills or compensate for a lack of placement experience or a poor final year project, but I'd say that anybody with a good 12-month industrial placement under their belt, or who has a good FYP and decent degree classification shouldn't really have any problem finding work even if they've never used their own time to build things.
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    (Original post by winterscoming)
    Your point about the portfolio isn't really true in purely technical jobs. Employers have different expectations depending on the job they're recruiting for.

    A portfolio is important wherever visual design skills or an understanding of user psychology/behaviour is important (e.g. Web/UX design or Game development), in which case employers tend to be looking at somebody's attention to detail, and how well they are able to take a their own rough idea and refine it through many iterations until it's polished up to a high quality. In those kinds of jobs, most people really only get one chance to engage with their user, so their design needs to be "perfect" first time. A portfolio is really important for those job interviews.


    Things are different in other technical jobs (e.g. Software engineering, networking, cybersecurity, etc.) - those jobs aren't about achieving perfection; in general, those kinds of jobs are about solving problems, understanding technology and fundamentally just making things work to meet a business need.

    Employers hiring IT professionals into technical roles are seeking a particular skill-set which is a close-enough match for the job (So if it's not an exact match, then it at least provides enough of a foundation to build upon and get up to speed quickly) - Interviewers really only have one question in mind, which is whether the person they're interviewing is sufficiently capable of being able to cope with the demands of the job, and whether they're going to be able to cope with anything thrown at them in the future.

    Self-taught developers do benefit from using personal projects in their own time for learning skills - however the focus is on the skills learned and not the project. It can be useful to use a personal project as a discussion point in an interview to demonstrate an understanding of software engineering practices and principles, generally that they're able to write and understand "good code". But the real reason for doing personal projects is to get as close as possible to having something where technical skills are put into practice on something less contrived than a tutorial or assignment.

    In the general case, employers hiring technical IT professionals do not expect anybody to have a portfolio - the interview process will be dominated by discussion of their technical skills and examples of where they've put those skills to use, or perhaps skills tests, or even a "whiteboard" problem solving session.

    Personal projects are a good discussion point for someone who is self-taught and who doesn't have any other experience, and those people may find that a personal project is their only source of experience/evidence to talk about in an interview - in which case employers might be more interested, but it doesn't have the same importance when compared with a design-based job.

    If somebody without experience does have a degree or masters with a decent FYP, then that will be covered in the interview. Similarly, if someone has been in a 12+ month apprenticeship or 12+ month internship programme, then that's also quite enough. More generally, it makes little difference to anyone once they're already a year or two into their career, the interview will turn to discussions about their experience using their skills in the real-world.

    Generally speaking, the vast majority of experienced technical IT professionals do not have any kind of portfolio, and it's not expected of them in the recruitment process - mostly because they spend their life working for other people, and it's widely understood that nobody should ever be expected to have to "steal" work from previous employers while applying for a new job. (Because essentially any artefacts you produce as an IT professional don't belong to you, they belong to your employer).
    I would disagree. I'm a software engineer and most of my collegues have been hired based on their portfolio. Very few of them have any formal qualifications. Also, it is generally expected for people to work on their own side projects. No 'stealing' of employer's work is required.
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    (Original post by stettafire)
    I would disagree. I'm a software engineer and most of my collegues have been hired based on their portfolio. Very few of them have any formal qualifications. Also, it is generally expected for people to work on their own side projects. No 'stealing' of employer's work is required.
    I am also a software engineer, and most people I have worked with over the years generally have no time nor motivation to work on their own projects having spent 8 hours each day doing it at work. In general, I don't tend to find that many people I interview have any kind of portfolio either. A few of them do of course, but even the majority of graduates we hire each year mostly spend their time on other interests - they have their FYP to draw from which is more than enough. I have never had any kind of portfolio personally; I've generally found that interviewers who want to see code would prefer to either set a specific assignment or that they'll start the interview with a coding skills test on a laptop, and maybe a whiteboarding session, which is generally the same approach I'd go for too.
 
 
 
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