Can Software Engineers Have Tattoos? Will It Affect Their Ability To Get A Job?

If you are a recently graduated software engineer looking for your first job and you have a tattoo you may be wondering whether that is going to affect your ability to get a job in your chosen profession. Will prospective employers still consider giving you a job?

Generally speaking, in most cases whether you have a tattoo or not will have little bearing on whether you were able to get a job as a software engineer or a programmer that for that manner According to a recent research study carried out by The University of Canterbury Business School

The study found that there was no significant bias against employees that had visible tattoos in white-collar jobs generally, however, interestingly those people going for jobs in blue color positions generally had a bias towards those with tattoos. The researchers indicated that they believe that this bias was related to the inherent association of tattoos with masculinity, strength, and physical prowess.

However, there were certain professions where it was found that tattoos definitely had a negative effect on employability which included things like medical positions and those practicing law.

Similar findings were also observed from studies carried out by the University of Western Australia and the University of Miami which also observed no significant bias against those people with tattoos.

How Common Are Tattoos In The General Population?

As you may have noticed tattoos have become increasingly common and typically the rate of people that have them has increased over time. These days there is approximately 20% of people have tattoos though this does vary significantly depending upon the particular country in which you live and the age demographic that you are talking about. For example, around 30% of people under 30 in the US have tattoos according to

Does It Matter Where The Tattoos Are On The Body?

Generally, tattoos that are on your body and are easily covered up with normal clothing are not a problem at all and will not cause any issues for a prospective employee. But obviously where there are tattoos that are visible then the perception of the employer will come into play. The one area that is problematic is facial tattoos because they can really affect a person’s perception of you very quickly.

However, the extent of this effect will also greatly depend upon the type of role that you have been asked to do and also the nature of the clients that the company that you are applying for is dealing with.

What Type Of Role Is More Likely To Affect Your Chances Of Being Employed? 

The chances of having your employment affected by internally facing roles are far less likely when you have tattoos because it does not in any way affect the outward perception of the company. This will be particularly the case if you are working remotely and are unlikely to be on-site too frequently.

However, in the case of a client-facing role where you are regularly interacting with a company’s customers the appearance of tattoos may be more problematic. This will greatly depend on the nature of the clientele. Those companies that are within the medical or legal professions are far more likely to be concerned about tattoos than other professions for example.

Additionally, the external roles involved in supporting the sales of software are generally likely to be considered the highest risk as the customers are in the process of deciding whether or not to go with the company. Whereas roles, where you are providing an ongoing service to an existing client, are less likely to be problematic.

What To Do If You Have Tattoos In Areas That Cannot Be Concealed By Clothing?

There are several options that you can consider the most obvious being cover-up makeup for the things like hands and neck tattoos which are highly visible to the employer. There are a number of products that are specifically designed for this purpose and are readily available on places like Amazon.


While tattoos are generally increasingly accepted it is best to be conservative when you are in the process of applying for a job as there is no doubt that perception plays a huge role in whether you are pointed to a position.

As a result of this, I highly recommend that you conceal tattoos during the interview where it is practically possible using the methods mentioned above in the article to avoid any chance that it will bias the outcome of an interview process.

However, at this point, it is important to note that the differences between, particularly graduate employees, are minimal. An employer often does not take into account your academic results. They often will look at your extracurricular activities, general attitude, ability to solve problems and work in a team. These factors are often what separates candidates and determine who gets the job. 

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