Do you need rust work experience to find Rust jobs?

Hi,

This may sound like a silly question, but I have 5 years C++ experience, and I am looking for Rust opportunities, but I am not getting any interviews, and I was wondering if it's because I don't have any Rust work experience ?

To give more background, I work as an AI Compiler Engineer for one of the big tech companies, and I am thinking of moving away from C++ / Compilers, to find AI / Cryptography / High Performance Computing Rust opportunities (in Europe).
As a hobby, I've done a couple of personal projects with Rust in the last 4 years (but I don't have any work experience with it).
I was (wrongly ?) hopping that my C++ / SWE Skills would be enough to get a job in Rust, but I've applied to several Rust offers, and I didn't get any interview.

Should I look maybe for a C++ / Rust job first to get some experience, before moving to a 100% Rust job ?
Or maybe I just didn't look in the right places ? It's my first time looking for Rust jobs so I don't know exactly where to look.

Thanks,
Steven.

I think this is highly specific to labor markets, but in my experience (in South Korea), no. Of course it helps, but I was on the hiring side in the past, and insisting on past work experience with Rust unnecessarily restricted hiring pool too much.

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Several Rust job descriptions that I have encountered contain something like "Rust experience is nice to have but not required". In my experience, companies using Rust are looking for general systems programming experience and some of them are quite willing to teach you Rust in the process if you can demonstrate sufficient experience in eg. C, C++, or Go.

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I couldn't even insist on system programming experience (this is probably different for others) and accepted someone who only programmed in Java, but it went well, because Rust's safety features compensate for much of lack of system programming experience.

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In my experience - yes. My experience is mostly in .NET. But I did do C++ for a few years 15 years ago. On paper you should be far more able to land a Rust job than myself, so that's even more demoralising from my perspective!

At all or just for Rust positions? Or are those two mutually inclusive?

I am still looking in parallel for C++ / Compiler positions, and here I get many interviews.
But no, I didn't get any Rust interviews at all.

That's what I thought too. Maybe I am just not looking in the right places.
I've applied only through Linkedin for now, Look for " Rust Software Engineers" positions in Europe (And I don't apply for for Staff / Senior / Manager roles)

Actually I just thought of something, I am living in UK for now, but I am French (EU passport), but recruiters can't know that just looking quickly at my profile, and they might assume I need a Visa and toss me aside.
I don't know if there is a way to fix that. I could change my location to an European country, but my current employer might ask some questions about why.

A couple of things about professionally working with Rust, from my personal experience over the last 8 years or so:

  1. If a team is looking to hire, generally they're not looking to have to incest in training first. Economics matter, not every company is in a position to have people train under work hours.
  2. If you have social capital within the company you're working for, you can leverage that to introduce a project written in Rust, move that to production, and build out from there.
  3. Rust is getting more and more popular, and it's StackOverflow's most beloved language for the last number of years, but the number of Rust programmers compared to C/C++ programmers, while growing, is still tiny. This also means relatively fewer people looking to hire (for now at least), because no business operator is going to have their employees use a PL that they themselves don't know for a fact does what they need it to. This problem will sort itself out over time though.

Do you have "Rust" on your resume? If it's in a list (like "languages") is it first, second, or third?

Try hired.com

Try adding an authorized-to-work-in section to your resume. In the U.S. that's common and helpful for recruiters.

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Given your C++ experience, applying for more senior roles might well be worthwhile.

Some junior roles will reject you because they want someone with no software experience. Some senior roles will reject you because you have insufficient Rust experience. But some senior roles will interview you because they know that they want someone with experience, and believe that if you've already taken an interest in Rust, you'll learn enough Rust to be useful very quickly.

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