Finding work as a developer, especially when starting out can seem daunting. I know when I was starting out, I had no idea what I was doing. I was lucky enough to have a friend who helped me along the way to get me into the industry, and with a few years behind me, I wanted to share some of the things I learn and that worked for me to get work!
These are my 7 tips for finding work when starting out. For those who don't have time to read all of it, I'll summaries it and also make a video you can listen in the background if you like.
- Learn the fundamentals
- Do a project you enjoy and can show off
- Apply for work as soon as possible
- Gain Freelance Work through friends and family
- Combine your work, freelance and learning
- Recruitment platforms require constant attention and updates
- Create your own business idea or work for income
You can start learning at any age. It doesn't matter if you are currently in high school, or old enough to retire, but always interested in development. The following advice for learning the fundamentals works for all people.
Learn your HTML, CSS, JS in your free time as you gain interested. There are so many different ways to do this, and resources on youtube and online are there waiting for you to take a look at. The basics can usually be learnt independently, but as grow, you can start working on small projects to improve further.
Good resources I've found for this include youtube channels like or code camps that you can do in your free time like:
Work on projects you are interested in and that can be used to show off to potential recruiters or companies. A lot of times I see todo lists or little projects completed unrelated to any working industry (such as ping pong game). While these can be fun to make, working on a project you are both interested in, and can be impressive to potential recruiters is best.
As an example, when I was at university, I worked on a project which was a Wiki site on common computer science information. This showed off both my development skills in coding, as well as my understanding in the field, that could be used by others.
There seems to be this misunderstanding that you have to follow a single path to getting a job. Finish your fundamentals, do a course, create some projects and then apply for a job. But this isn't true. You can complete these in any order you want.
I personally did these all at once. This means I did my course, while also applying for jobs and working on my projects. This not only saved me time, but it showed to my potential recruiters that I was dedicated and willing to take on work, and do it. Nobody really expects a junior developer to know
I often get asked, how do you get work as a freelancer, and it's not easy. You have to start at the beginning, which is usually to ask friends and family to help you. There are always ideas that could be built, and you have to be realistic, you don't have to overdo building something, just something small and real. You might get paid for this or you might not, but you can use this as a stepping stone to get your next bit of work.
When you do get a job for freelancing, or a full time position, or even a course, don't stop searching and doing the others. Keep learning more, keep freelancing at the same time. This opens up lots of options. You might get an offer for a new job, and you can leverage your current company to give you a pay rise using this, or if you are getting more freelance work, you can consider going part time if you are enjoying freelancing more.
Leverage your recruitment platforms as much as possible. There are lots out there, and it can be scary constantly applying for jobs. But there is a small trick to this. If you update your CV and your profile on each platform, this shows up on the recruitment side. This way the recruiters will be contacting you instead to find opportunities for you. Keep doing this each week so that your profile stays fresh and on the top of recruiters lists to show you are keeping up to date.
Create your own work can take lots of different forms. It could be your own startup idea, or a youtube channel. It could even be making something with a friend or business partner to get you up and running with something like a passive income or selling products. It's also fun as well, with a great learning experience that can push your career forward. It helps you develop great connections and show you are serious about your career, which can help you get a job in the long run.
I hope these tips help you out, they definitely have helped me.
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