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How did you get your first software developer job?

cwraytech profile image Christopher Wray Updated on ・1 min read

I would love to hear how you got your first developer job.

What set you apart?

Did you have a Bachelors degree? Boot camp?

What advice would you give me? A developer that has been self employed for 3 years, now looking for a developer position.

In school, should I finish before trying?

Discussion (15)

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chadalen profile image
Chad Alen • Edited

I went to a 2 year community college got an AAS in computer programming. Luckily I got a job before graduating. I first got an internship over the summer then the company hired me after.

What separated me from the rest? I would say I was also a self employed developer even before college. I had some projects I worked on and software that I sold that I would show employers.

As far as the education I wouldn’t recommend a bootcamp because I know a lot of employers will look at them as (not being creditable) and honestly you don’t need a bachelors degree. Having a bachelors degree will make it easier to get your first programming job but after that its pretty easy once you have the experience.

From what it sounds like you already have some experience. So show some work you’ve done for past clients or show some projects you worked on. You shouldn’t have any issues getting a job. Also you can apply right now you don’t need to have a degree you just need to have some good technical skills.

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ronca85

You should give me advice :D
I was a frontend developer for the last 4 years and now I want to run my own business. It was a wild ride. I'm shocked at how much bad software and negligence there is in the "top" agencies here in croatia. It really is true that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. I'm shocked at how many projects that were using the same bad practices end up here for "maintenance" which is code for make it work somehow. Just like e-waste and plastic gets sold on the world market to some third world country the same is happening with software. All the stuff that was bleeding edge 3-5 years ago now needs someone to maintain and it all ends up here.

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Christopher Wray Author • Edited

Yeah, I imagine that can be frustrating, but the great thing is that with good communication skills you can take advantage of being the hardest worker, and get more work.

I think the biggest advice I would say to you wanting to start your own company is to communicate clearly with your clients and take a LOT of time at the beginning of each project to truly understand what your clients' specifications are.

It could have saved a lot of pain if I would have done that on a couple of projects instead of just jumping in head first on trying to get what I thought the client wanted done.

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Jon Randy • Edited

I was 19 years old when i got my first 'real' development job. I'm a completely self taught developer (starting on a ZX Spectrum back in 1983 when I was aged 7).

I'd dropped out of a Chemistry degree and was looking for work. I made a list (from the Yellow Pages) of ALL the computer/software companies I could find within the local area, and sent a letter to each and every one of them (regardless of whether they were hiring) asking if they would like to employ me as a programmer. I had previously been paid for some programming projects including converting some kids maths software from the Atari ST to the Commodore Amiga, but other than that, my only experience was all my own personal projects.

Most companies did not even reply, some said no... but a few asked to meet me. I ended up landing a job with a small husband & wife company who made bespoke Windows software for business.

I did go back to university after one year working with them, this time to study Computer Science. However, I found that to be largely a waste of my time since I was already way ahead of what they were teaching. I quit again, and went back to work for the same company. I've had many jobs since then and these days mainly work with web stuff.

Having no formal qualifications has never been a barrier. In fact, most of the best developers I've met are self taught

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Christopher Wray Author

Wow, thank you for sharing your story. I am glad to hear your thoughts on being a self-taught developer. As one myself, I can feel bad about it at times, but I am glad that you feel it is not a hindrance.

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Matt Ellen • Edited

I had been applying for jobs for a year or so after finishing my MSc in interactive intelligent systems. I was getting nowhere.

My dad talked to the guy in charge of software at the company I would start at. I had a brief interview to make sure I wasn't a dud and then I got the job.

So, my advice is to have good contacts.

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Christopher Wray Author

Hey Matt! Thank you! I appreciate the advice greatly.

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Sylvain GIROD

I have a BSc and a MSc, which is the "standard" thing in France (we love useless papers). It's pretty rare to see job offers with less than these requirements. You may find some with only BSc but they do pay less.
Nowadays, companies are understanding that a junior is a junior, big education or not. Hope we will get rid of the diploma requirements soon

I got my first job as a software developer when the first CTO of my company contacted me on LinkedIn. The next week I had an interview with him and the CEO, and received an offer the next day.

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Christopher Wray Author

Wow, yeah that seems like a bit of an overkill...

Your story of getting your first job sounds amazing. I hope something like that happens to me. Interviews and applications stress me out haha.

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Haris Secic

I finished exams in the beginning of 2012 and got my bachelor thesis topic to write about. Was pretty slow so in September my parents visited their friends who told that some guy was looking for a PHP developer. So i started working with him and another guy. After a year I went Java in big-ish company. Changed a lot of companies and in 2017 i got email telling me my grades will be revoked and I'll have to wite that thesis ASAP to get a degree. Did it fast, got degree, changed 2 more jobs, and now I'm in Sweden and my degree doesn't mean much. However keep that in mind, I dragged it too much because I thought ohh I'll do it later. So if you can't sacrifice 100% of your time for work and for finishing college, my advice, sacrifice 50%, finish up fast, then put 80% to be good at at job. Or if you like your friends and family put in 8 hours and let it go (pun intended). If you just do what you're required then it's just OK, but if you put in a lot of effort maybe some day it pays off big time... Or it doesn't. I'm not kidding sometimes it doesn't matter how good you are but how fast you build and escape the sinking ship.

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Christopher Wray Author

Haris, I really appreciate reading your story and advice. Thank you! I hope I can stay focused on school. It can be a bit boring at times when a lot of the material I already know, but it is a big priority right now.

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Aris Kurniawan • Edited

It took extra struggle and adventure, the thing that made me a programmer was because I was determined to do an internship outside the city which is approximately 1,505.7 km (Bintan - Yogyakarta). if taking a plane from the village to the city where the internship is 2 hours, if it is 5 hours delay. In this company I got a lot of knowledge, especially web programmer, I was satisfied there. that's very happy. How happy I am who comes from the village, I can realize my dream of becoming a programmer. Honestly I got the opportunity to enjoy the world of programmer that I was expecting. After I finished my internship at a software house company and when I returned to my hometown I had another chance to complete about 2-3 projects, it turned out that God listened to my prayers. at that time I had to postpone graduation because I got a project that I had to finish so that my thesis was not finished for about 1 year I just graduated :). As a result, I was still given the opportunity to get another project, it really paid off if I had reckless capital. until now I am still given the opportunity to work in technology companies. I really thank God. at the end of the story there is bitterness and sweetness, maybe some projects have succeeded and failed. don't be afraid it's natural

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🦄N B🛡

I created it. And learned coding afterward, because the company needed it.

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Christopher Wray Author

Thanks! You created your own company you mean?