Congratulations you have completed your coding bootcamp. You've come a long way since you decided to learn to code all those months ago, you can now create a web or native app, solve complicated user interface issues and have even learned about this weird thing called Git!
Now that you have finished your coding bootcamp it's time to start looking for a job.
If you went to a good bootcamp they should have dedicated some time to this part. Knowing how to code and knowing how to get a coding job are sadly slightly different skills. So ideally they will have taught you how to look for a developer job at companies that are open to hiring coding bootcamp graduates and they should have explained about how to showcase your skills in the best way possible, how to talk about the projects you have made and how to show these companies that you have the skills and experience they need.
If they didn't cover that kind of thing or their advice isn't working for you, then never fear, here are my top tips for coding bootcamp graduates to get a job after they graduate.
1. Software Developer
Stop using Junior, Aspiring or any other word to indicate you are new to the field, in your LinkedIn title or resume. It will be very obvious from your work history that you are new, so you don't need to lead with it. You are a Software Developer, you may not have much experience yet but it's not for you to pigeon hole yourself as junior, mid or senior. Don't put yourself on the back foot from the first moment someone reads your profile.
2. Coding Bootcamp Graduate Projects
During your coding bootcamp you should have made at least one reasonable sized project. Let's get that online, hosted at a domain in a state that is useable for someone to go and have a play with. It doesn't matter if it's not the most exciting app in the world. So long as it works and it was made by you then it shows you can code.
3. More Projects
One project from your coding bootcamp is great but ideally as a coding bootcamp graduate looking for a job, you should still be coding and making projects. If you've stopped then it's time to roll your sleeves back up and keep honing those skills. You want at least one project up and running on a domain, or in an app store, that you made on your own after your coding bootcamp finished.
I have three rules for portfolio projects. They need to be small, complete and functional. Small doesn't mean tiny, it should still have taken a few weeks to make. But it doesn't need to be the start of the next great startup to come out of your country! It does also need to be functional. People need to be able to use it, to test it and play around with what you've made, screen shots don't cut it I'm afraid. Finally it needs to be complete, no dead ends or obviously missing features, someone should be able to feel like they are using a small and useful tool/app.
4. Projects First
A company will hire you because they believe you can build useful software to solve their problems. Since you haven't yet done that for any other company you need to lead with the next best thing, the software you have written for your portfolio projects! While you might be most proud of your education, or your previous work history, it's not the thing that will get you the job. Showing you can code is what will do that. So put that first in a section called "Relevant Projects" and put a few bullet points about what each project is, how you made it and the technologies used. These should be front and center on your resume, your LinkedIn and your portfolio site. If you're looking for project ideas here are 30 developer portfolio project ideas for you.
5. Stop Remaking Your Portfolio Site
As a new developer it's tempting to make your own portfolio site. And then remake it, and then remake it again. Your portfolio site is not what will get you the job though. The projects on your portfolio site are. Unless you are an amazing designer it will almost certainly not be the best first impression so just use a pre-existing template and host it on Wordpress or Squarespace. Take the time you save here and make another project that shows you can use code to solve real problems.
6. Start Blogging
It doesn't need to be much, just a short 500 word post each week shared on LinkedIn about what you learned that week or what you built. No one expects you to be an expert so don't be afraid that it will make you look bad, quite the opposite in fact. People on LinkedIn will see consistent posts created by you and start to comment and help. Eventually you can ask this network for a job and you'll quickly have people getting in touch.
Don't believe me? Hear from Yusuf Chowdhury in this episode of the All The Code podcast talk about how he used exactly this process to land his first 2 developer jobs without ever actually applying for them and instead being head hunted on LinkedIn, as a junior dev!
7. Data Structures and Algorithms
You leaned a lot on your coding bootcamp but one area you are likely to be weak on is your data structures and algorithms. These are taught extensively on computer science degrees but they can feel very abstract and lack direct applicability for a coding bootcamp to teach to the same level. You will have covered them to some extent but not to the depth that some employers need. It's worth investing some time in this area and taking a couple of weeks out from building projects to fill in some gaps in this area. The two best resources here are Educative.io which has great courses targeting fundamentals like this and The Imposters Handbook which was specifically written by Rob to help fill in the technical blanks that self taught developers and coding bootcamp graduates often have.
Getting a job after a coding bootcamp can feel like an uphill battle at times. What you have to remember is that while you have learned the skills required to be a software developer, you need to take some time to present that to the world in a way that shows your future employer that you really can do that job.
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