If you’re new to coding, and in search for a job as a junior developer, then you’ve probably heard something like this: “No, we can’t hire you, we’re looking for senior people with experience”. Well, you may say, where would I get the experience, if no one hires me?
All right, first, let’s look at what is a senior developer? Usually it’s somebody who has enough experience. It’s a person that can contribute to the project in a meaningful way pretty quickly and not cause any issues. A senior developer also can:
- handle the entire software development life cycle
- lead other developers
- self-manage his projects
So, someone who is a junior developer, can apply some of the specific tactics and things that can help to grow their skills and find a developer job. Let’s discuss some of these tactics more closely.
Create a couple of side projects
One of the things that stops people from hiring you is that you don’t have that level of experience that they need. In that situation one thing that can help you during your technical interview is to have a side project that you can show people. You can go to the interview and be really conversant with things. Additionally, personal side projects are unique source of personal growth and discovery. They will provide you with more opportunities to get noticed as a software developer.
Do a presentation at the users groups
You don’t really need to present a new iPhone or a new Tesla car, you only need to get up and talk about something basic on your topic for about 5 – 10 minutes.
Even if you’re not an expert in this topic, it doesn’t matter. The main thing is that you go there and you share what you know. And somebody else who knows just a little bit less than you, can benefit from it.
Not to mention that it’s a great conversation starter. You don’t need to present yourself to everyone in the meeting. People kind of already know who you are from your presentation. It gives you a chance to go and start conversation with someone, find out what they’re about and what they do.
Work on your project in the company’s office
A lot of times companies that are hiring have empty desks. If you currently don’t have another job, it’s really doesn’t matter where you work on your project.
A great idea would be to actually go and meet people in their office, explain to them that you’re kind of new to programming and want to know what it’s like to be in an environment where programmers work.
Now, of course, some companies can just be like “Yeah, no way”, others may say “Sure, no problem”, because they’re not really doing anything that is a big secret or of high security.
The thing is, in this situation “No” just means “Try somewhere else”, it doesn’t mean that you’re out of luck forever.
But while you’re there, you get all kinds of opportunities. You get a chance to learn the system and contribute right away. In fact, you’re going to require less training than others.
If people go to lunch, you go with them, ask questions, get to know them more. By doing this, you’re building rapport, and eventually someone may figure out that if they hire you for a couple of months, they’re going to be able to free up some of their time to do more complex meaningful job, while you’ll take care about less important things.
Why the lazy resume approach is a critical failure
Usually the process of applying for a job goes like this: people read job boards until they find something that looks interesting, and then they apply for it.
The problem with this approach is that your resume ends up in a pile of all the other resumes. Then, the company pulls up the most promising ones (and it’s definitely not yours if you’re junior), and calls people up.
So, you find yourself in the system that prioritizes you very low, unless the company is actually looking for somebody like you.
It’s not surprising that with this approach, out of, let’s say, 50 people, none of them are calling you back.
I hope you are inspired to try some of the things that we’ve discussed above. Start your own project, participate in a hackathon, meet techies online and on the job, all this will inevitably lead you to success in landing you first job as a software developer.