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I finished my Bachelor's in Computer Science around a year ago and have been working as a research assistant at my university since. Recently, I started applying for industry jobs as a software developer.

In a few years, I would like to move from writing codes to a more people-oriented position. I don't really see myself as a manager, but the "developer relations" field seems highly interesting to me. For example I would love to represent my company both in person and online, nurture relationships to customers, and demonstrate how our platform/software/API/... can be integrated into an existing code base, for example through technical blog posts or demo videos.

Should I mention these ambitions when applying for a regular (junior) SWE position? On one hand, I think it may demonstrate that I'm not looking to switch jobs every few years, but actually grow within the company I'm applying for. On the other, I am afraid this may make it seem as if I wasn't motivated to work as a software developer (I am), which is the position I'm presently applying for.

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    to add: you are just starting out of university. Your plans will most probably change. Maybe in the next year you'll realize that you are really into project management. Or managing a team. Or DevOps, Or you begin to hate people and just want to be left alone with your code. Happened to me ;)
    – jwsc
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 10:41

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Unless the job advert explicitly mentions that the role is one they see evolving or they make a big deal about "promoting within" I'd say no - at least not in a cover letter.

This isn't going to apply for everyone's "3-5 year plan" but the idea you mention in your question translates into, "Hi, I want this job writing code, but I also want to get out of this job writing code at the first possible opportunity". Not that there's anything wrong with what you want - and it's not a completely unrealistic path or timeframe, and employers are certainly aware that people will potentially have other plans beyond the next couple of years. But for good or ill the hiring process is very much geared around you demonstrating both your suitability and desire for the role that's on the table, and your cover letter should be focusing on these aspects exclusively.

If in an interview context you get the dreaded "Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?" question, then what you've said here is a great potential answer; if you can spin out a couple of examples that relate to the specific company all the better.

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Your ambitions should be something that you strive to achieve for yourself. As for the company, your goal is to be the right fit for the job. Showing your potential employer that you are the correct hire is key.

You should highlight your qualification in a cover letter, how you are qualified for this job. Include keywords related to the job as these submissions are usually automated and scanned not read.

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