Alright, so you finished all the lessons and you know basics of web development, now what?
Now continue learning. To be honest, you need to keep your learning mentality. This is your biggest weapon now.
So let’s talk about getting a job.
When are you ready to apply for a job? It depends. You need to have solid basics of the main languages & frameworks you want to work with. You need to have a few non-trivial finished projects. But I’d rather start apply sooner than later.
You’ll probably get rejected often. It’s quite possible many companies won’t even reply. Be prepared for this and don’t be discouraged. It's normal. But it still has some benefits to start applying sooner.
If you won’t get any replies, it means you have to keep improving (well you should do it anyway, right?).
If some companies will reply but reject you, then politely ask them why they didn’t consider your skills or your application being sufficient. Ask them for feedback so you know which are the skills you need to work on more. Don’t forget to thank them. You may want to apply again to the same company later and show them how you used their advice. Dedication can be sometimes very convincing.
Regardless of how good developer you can become, you need to improve your chances so they even consider your application. You need to promote yourself well. Good impression is very beneficial. It’s often the reason of (not) getting an interview or a job.
You can probably think of one think that makes a good impression? The magical computer science degree! Sure it’s better to have it than not. But you don't have to have a CS degree at all.
Actually most employers don't really give a damn about your degree.
But they care about your skills. Even though they say you need to have a CS degree, what they really want from you is to have the skill set you’d be supposed to get from collage (some graduates don’t really have it even with the degree).
Other things that interest employers are your attitude, responsibility, eagerness to learn and if you're a good fit for the company. Being a friendly person & enjoyable to work with is a big part of it. Would you want to spend 5 days a week with a grumpy unpleasant person? Me neither.
So if you have the skills they want, you need to know how to show it. And you need to know how to sell yourself. There are 2 main ways. Resume and project portfolio.
Everyone has a resume. And everyone is your potential competition on the job market. That’s why you need to have a great resume. So let’s make one for you:
So you have your great resume now. But anybody can just list the languages they know. How can you prove you can use your skills in practice? You need a portfolio of projects.
Okay, we have a great resume and a portfolio of projects now. There’s one more thing we need to think about. How to approach companies and how to sell ourselves. We need to know how to write emails properly.
In general try to make it as easy as possible for HR person to know if you're qualified for the job. Less clicks, less reading.
Don't use technical jargon too much. Even non-technical person must understand you clearly. If you’d have to read tens or hundreds of resumes every week, would you rather read only short and relevant text or unnecessarily long full of words you don’t understand?
Customize your application (email AND resume) to the open position and the company if possible. It shows the employer you’re truly interested. Try to show them the best version of you. The best and truthful version. Don’t lie. Don’t exaggerate. Trust is important.
First impression matters. Show good personality. Be curious. Research the company, their tech and products (sign up for trial version).
Being prepared is critical. Expect your skills to be tested. Be prepared to talk about everything on your resume and the projects you're working on. When it’ll come to you not knowing something, be transparent about it. Show optimism and enthusiasm during interview. But don’t be too casual. Just be genuine yourself.
Coding tests aren’t just for testing your current skills. They’re interested also in your practices and your thinking.
There are many ways how companies conduct interviews. White board, giving you a week for making an app, technical & non-technical questions, pair programming and so on. If possible, do a little research about company’s hiring process beforehand. But take into account everything about the interview can be changed.
I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t get stressed out if you don’t know something or if you make a mistake. Nobody expects from you to be a programmer superstar. Show good attitude.
They’ll notice if you own your mistakes and how well can you take criticism. Sometimes interviewers can give you an intentionally hard task so they can see how you act if you can’t do it. It’s easier to improve somebody’s knowledge than a bad attitude.
You have to show them:
At the end of the interview thank them for their time. Even if they tell you they won’t hire you.
I can still remember that great feeling when I eventually got my first developer job. After all the effort and all those hours learning I finally did it. And because I know what follows isn’t only happy feelings and wonderland, here’s some last piece of advice.
If you get your first developer job:
Another important thing that's not so often spoken about is your first job mentor, supervisor or colleagues in general. If you get a nice person always willing to help you then good for you! This is exactly what you need.
If you get somebody not so great or even a terrible person, well I'm sorry for you, but don't be afraid to ask for working with somebody else. Or keep on and just figure stuff on your own. Or quit.
If it isn’t possible for you to have supportive work environment there then move on and find something better. This is just your first job. It’s very unlikely you’ll be there until your retirement age. If you’re good enough that this company hired you, then there are other companies which will hire you again. It’s better to start building your new future on a solid foundation.
I’d very happy for you if any of my advice helps you getting a job. It may take some time, but surely you’ll find one if you’ll be patient.Outro