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How to send code sample when applying for a job?

attkinsonjakob profile image Jakob Attkinson ・1 min read

While browsing some of the projects I'm currently immersed into I came across an old job post (Nov. 2018) from one of the companies that I had my eyes on for a while.

While I am currently employed, I figured it can't help to send an email, right? The answer didn't fail to arrive, tho.

Therefore, after a quick chat with their representative, they asked me submit my CV, a cover letter (?!) and some code sample. Worth to mention that the job posting I initially found was long gone, however they said that they might find something for me. I assume they don't get many random job applications.

So far so good. My CV is up to date, I read a bunch of things about cover letters on dev.to, but I can't figure out a way to submit some code sample.

I have always worked "for someone". All the code I produced belongs to a company. At my current job I do work with the same technologies as the company I am applying to, yet I can't ask my boss to allow me to send some code to a company that might "steal" me.

I can take some classes, change a few variable names and submit that, but I have no idea what the reviewer might see in it.

Therefore, what options do I have? What would you guys recommend?

Posted on May 9 by:

attkinsonjakob profile

Jakob Attkinson

@attkinsonjakob

Lost soul wondering around a techy world while trying to forge his own path

Discussion

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Recruiters should respect the fact that the code you write while working doesn't belong to you. I believe what they mean by code sample is any personal project you might have worked on.

If you really want the job, You can do a quick small project with their tech stack in your free time, push it to GitHub on a public repo and send it to them.

If you don't, you can just tell them that you don't currently have any personal projects so you can't send them anything. Some would understand.

Generally. I would recommend you try to have a couple or so personal projects on GitHub to increase your chances in the long run to land interviews and jobs.

 

This is really difficult! A lot of companies expect that developers (even ones with years of experience) provide samples of code they didn't get paid to produce. Crazy, right? I guess this is what we get for producing intellectual property at work. And, other professionals can point to just having had their previous job as proof of their ability.

Similarly to you, I currently don't have any production-worthy projects that I didn't build for an employer, and even the front-end code I wrote for my employers has been on internal tools and dashboards, so there's almost nothing on the public internet I can point to and say, "I made that."

There probably isn't anything you can do except either code something on the side or hope to find a a company to apply to that respects the fact that not every developer codes outside work.

 

I feel a bit trapped between investing 1 month to build a personal project and the fear that the job won't be available anymore by the time I finish it.
However, probably I don't stand a great chance to get the job if I don't send anything, anyway.

 

Don't build a personal project for a specific position you want to apply to.
Build a personal project for you. If you don't enjoy it or learn something out of it. Don't do it.

On the other hand, a good personal project to build - I would say - is a personal website. Pick a Tech stack that you want to get better at or learn from scratch and start coding.

Personal websites act as personal projects that you can send to companies and it helps get your name out there.

Also, It doesn't have to take 1 month. Start small, expand later!

 

I agree with Bassem 100%. A personal website is a good way to demonstrate your abilities; it shows examples of your code, your writing, you ability to deploy and maintain production code, and maybe even you ability to maintain a public repo. That's a good place to start.

If you want to show a specific company you're able to learn their stack, or if you're targeting a specific stack to work with at a new gig, it might be worth putting something small together that you can build off of over time and even if it's super simple it will give you a link to share.