How to apply for your first junior developer job

So you have been learning how to code, networking, and building a portfolio. But are you ready to start applying for jobs?

This article has the answer: How You’ll Know You’re Ready to Start Working as a Web Developer

And this video also has the answer: Question: How Do You Get Enough Experience to Apply for Programming Jobs?

Now how do you actually apply to jobs?

If you live in an area with lots of jobs like Southern California, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, etc. here’s how you can do it:

  1. Set up your resume and Linked In. Post your resume to every job site you can find.
  2. Register and use job sites that have one click applications. A few are Zip Recruiter, Dice, Monster, Career Builder, Indeed, Simply Hired.
  3. Every day apply to 15 jobs. This will only take a few minutes and will result in 100 applications a week.
  4. Focus on the process over the outcome. Think of interviews as lectures in disguise. Unfortunately you will possibly get rejected dozens or even hundreds of times. But as long as you learn and grow from each experience you will become an even better candidate.
    For instance if you get rejected 3-4 times because you have never used AngularJS, but you then start learning AngularJS and demonstrate this in your portfolio, you will become an even stronger applicant.
  5. Keep learning, building, and applying. You will find a great job because an employer will be impressed by your skills, determination, and knowledge. You can and you will get hired!

 

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How to build a web developer portfolio

First get acquainted with the basics. Make sure that coding is fun and interesting. I recommend Codecademy for a free and fun introduction to programming.

After having gained some familiarity with the fundamentals of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, decide if you want to build your portfolio by following a structured path or a more creative path.

If structure is what you crave, you can learn from Free Code Camp or The Odin Project while building the assigned projects.

If you prefer to blaze your own path, first decide on how frequently you want to build a site. Keep in mind that a greater frequency of building will result in more variety but less depth and  vice versa.

Here is a great example of building a portfolio by creating weekly sites: How I finally learned to build stuff with Rails.

And here is inspiration in the form of learning by building daily sites: How to Get Inspired about Web Development.

On blogging

I started to blog because I could not get a job because I lacked experience, and I did not have experience because I could not get a job. The classic Catch-22 🙂

Did blogging help me get hired? It definitely helped. Here are some examples:

  • When I was asked, “Are you a quick learner?” I would respond, “Have you read my blog? I have built a site every day since August 3rd, 2015 using numerous technologies including Ruby on Rails, JSON, AngularJS, JavaScript, JQuery, etc.”
  • I would lead with, “I only have a few hours of professional experience, but I have my blog and portfolio of sites I have built. This is like my own boot camp/internship.”
  • When asked, “Do you have experience with Bootstrap?” I replied, “Yes, my blog has examples of Bootstrap sites I built, and also the links and code that helped me build those sites.”

Blogging functioned as an interactive resume as well as a portfolio of my skills.

Now that I am happily working, has blogging continued to benefit me? The answer is also a Yes.

  • Writing my Model View Controller (MVC) Summary helped me really understand MVC because I had to read many articles, explanations, and examples to be able to understand enough to summarize the most important concepts.
  • Chrome Developer Tools Quick Tips helped because I was able to refer to this post a few times when I forgot how to use these tools.
  • Writing Dealing with Coding Insecurities helped me realize that the doubt and insecurities are very common for programmers, but I can win by having fun coding and by improving my abilities.

For more ideas on how blogging can help programmers check out:

Marketing Yourself: Why You Need a Blog

How to Get a Jump Start in Your Programming Career

6 Reasons why writing developer blogs should be practised by programmers

Why all programmers should have a blog?

Why every programmer should have a blog

Why Programmers Should Have a Blog

Why programmers should blog?

 

Reflections

I began my learning, building, and sharing because of this inspiration.

However, I failed to build 100 sites in 100 days and my sites were far less impressive than Jennifer’s and Thuongvu’s.

But I did get to learn and play with many different technologies including Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, JQuery, Angular, APIs, Bootstrap, etc. I also started to enjoy coding challenges for the first time.

Most importantly, I learned how to learn and build effectively. For learning the front end including Bootstrap I found that the best way was to follow along with tutorials and clone sites using Google Inspect. This process led me to see the patterns common to the layouts and designs. In contrast, I found that to learn how to build sites the best way was to come up with a simple idea and just try to build it. Basically start small, Google and Stack Overflow, and get help as needed.

Overall this was a success because I built 88 sites in 88 days. The best part is that I got hired as a Junior Web Developer so my learning, building, and sharing has just begun 🙂

Where do I plan to go from here?

I plan to post a blog entry once a week or so to reinforce and keep sharing what I learn. I also will keep doing a coding challenge every day to sharpen my skills. Most importantly I will continue to enjoy this journey and have fun coding as much as possible.

Onward and upward…

String Interview Problems

String Interview Problems

This site has demonstrations of a few common String Interview Questions solved with JavaScript.

Check out Free Code Camp’s Bonfires for lots of JavaScript practice problems.

Code Wars is great because I can solve problems and then see how others solved the same problem. Code Wars has been engaging and fun and I have also learned many different approaches and methods to solving coding challenges. Also it is gamified so I have many different opportunities to increase my points and my ranking 🙂