Getting your first developer job

When speaking with new developers, one of the most common questions I get is "How did you get your job?"

The market for web developers is hot right now & a lot of new developers are looking to get their careers underway. In this blog post, I will share things that helped me land my first job. Hopefully, it'll be helpful to you guys.

Online Portfolio

My teacher once told me to never walk into an interview with a paper resume. His advice was to build a website that is your resume.

What does an employer want to see from their interview candidates? They want confidence that you can build shippable products. By showing off a website or application that you built you're giving them a live proof that you possess that quality.

Find exciting side projects

I took my teacher's advice & put together a personal website. I wanted the personal website to not just be a resume but also a portfolio of my work. The problem was that I hadn't built anything other than my college assignments. I found many side project ideas online but never had the motivation to finish them until I came across a project that genuinely excited me. I was involved in a student association at my college & we needed an online presence. I took on that project, finished it & added it to my portfolio.

Show an appetite to learn

When I interviewed for my first job, I didn't have a lot of programming knowledge & the interviewers knew that. The job required a profound knowledge of JavaScript & I had never written a single line of JavaScript at that point in my life. Needless to say, I didn't do very well on my programming test. They also needed someone with at least 3 years of experience. But I showed them that if given the opportunity I could grow into the role. I got the job purely because of the passion I had to learn.

Get uncomfortable

This one goes in hand with my previous point. It's unlikely that you'll come across a job posting that is for absolute beginners. Apply for job positions that you aren't qualified for. Now don't get me wrong, if you have no experience & end up applying for senior positions that'll do you no good. However, apply for any junior-mid level openings you see. The job posting that got me my first job required someone with at least 3 years of experience. Just go for it!

Did it work?

Every time I send my resume to a potential employer, I always include a link to my personal website. From there people can get to my blog, see my side projects & check out my social media websites. This has worked like a charm for me.

In my first ever job interview, the interviewer had thoroughly gone through my portfolio & already had a good idea about my strengths. When we started discussing those projects, it gave me a much-needed confidence boost. That combined with my commitment to learn & grow into the role helped me secure the position.

When I interviewed for my second job, the projects listed in my portfolio were once again an important part of the process. This time around I had some more advanced projects on Github to show my understanding of JavaScript.

Deliver on your promises

If you get the job, make sure you live up to any promises you made. After I got my first job, I was 100% dedicated to the commitment I made during the interview process. I worked my back off until I grew into the position & had a thorough understanding of the code base & the languages in use.

Always be Learning

Even if you're a year into your job don't ever get comfortable with your knowledge. Always keep dedicating time to improve your skill set. Programming languages, frameworks, best practices evolve & you should evolve with them. Keep diving into more advanced topics & leveling up your skillset. You don't have to know every single hotness that is out there but you shouldn't be complacent either.

Author: Watandeep Sekhon
Software Developer