How did you get your first Dev job?

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Yesterday's discussion on Ben's post:
What’s the most frustrating thing about the process of looking for work or interviewing?", really intrigued me and I wanted to do a follow up.

After many rejection emails, how did you finally get your first dev job?

Was it through a job site, networking, a meetup or etc? Share below, with advice! :)

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My very first programming-related job was TA-ing for my school's computer science department. The professor reached out to me about it based off of taking one of his other classes.

Then, the next one, I cold-emailed a startup whose skillset was similar to mine to see if they were looking for people -- they ended up hiring me without really interviewing me, which is kind of weird in retrospect. But I worked there for a while, so I guess it all worked out okay!

 

The year 2013. After a conference at my university, I came to the speaker and we had next short talk:

Me: I want to develop games and I want to work with you, are you looking for Junior developers? I have never worked with iOS/Mac, but I am good enough as a developer.

Good Guy: Okay, read those books and come to the interview:

  • The Objective-C Programming Language (2009-10-19)
  • iPhone SDK Programming - A beginner's guide (James A. Brannan)

I read them in 3 days. As a result after the interview, I worked with that guy for 9 months as the iOS developer, it was a great time. :)

 

Recruiter.

Later found out I was the only applicant to be able to create a HTML form, submit it, validate the data, and store to a SQL database. Out of 20+ people who interviewed for the entry level developer role,I was the only one who completed the practical.

 

I got very lucky and was found by a recruiter, which managed to connect me to my first job.

The more common, and recommended, way was how I got my second job - networking. There was a development group in a nearby city and went to several meeting, talked with the members, showed off my skills, asked lots of questions, and contributed where I could. Eventually one person messaged me and said they had an opening they think I'd be a good fit for. A month later I'm working there and learning from lots of experienced devs.

 

Accidentally. They asked for an Excel guy but they somehow needed more than that. I ended up doing webdev in Perl. I did not write any Excel macros during that time.

 

Networking! I went to a lot of meetups for the industry I was trying to get into and made lots of friends. People saw my drive and therefore would personally recommend me to the places I applied to. It helped a ton! I think I may have applied through their site, but it was followed up with a recommendation.

 

TLDR: by co-founding a Python conference essentially. An extreme version of "networking" I guess. Instead of going to a conference we couldn't afford, we decided to band together and create one with other people's money :-D.

A friend of mine had the idea while we were trying to find jobs in Python close to us (not really advertised anywhere at the time). We pitched it to other people we knew from local mailing lists, they loved the idea and helped finding the funds and the sponsors. The Python Software Foundation embraced the idea and in few months we had the first edition of the conference setup.

We had some contacts with some professionals through mailing lists and my friend was doing some small contract work in Python (I was doing the same in C# and .NET) but no long term prospects so we bet on the idea.

After the summer I got my first "Python job offer" (my friend too IIRC, he's also a way better programmer than I am). I was hired by one of the other organizers that pitched the idea of hiring me to his boss I guess. He worked at a financial company and everything they had was running on Python, C++ and PostgreSQL. A dream come true at the time :D I learned a lot, but really a lot. Most of my colleagues had PhDs or were mathematicians. I was the ugly duckling college dropout who knew zero about the financial market. So they definitely took a chance on me.

I interviewed during the summer, first with the future colleagues, then with the CEO after a few weeks. I was a junior career wise, but I had programmed for years just as a hobby. Lots of free time before they invented smartphones :D

I got really lucky, I had nothing to lose, we were foolish and stubborn and were adamant that we didn't want to work with Java or PHP (basically everybody was hiring for those two languages). We chose plan B, worst case scenario we could go back to plan A and keep using Python on the side. Having no one to provide for also helped I guess.

This was 11 years ago. I have left the organization of the conference a few years ago but I'm proud of all we did back then!

Some of us still meet, after all this time, at least once or twice a year for dinner, so I'm not totally out of the loop :)

 

I skipped a class on university, went for a coffee with some friends and found a classmate who had just found a job. I congratulated her and she told me that her company was looking for new devs. Send her my resume and the rest is ancient history. I had my first real gig and she got a ver nice romantic weekend with her boyfriend as a reward for my recruiting ^

 

Speculative applications!

My first dev job was a year's internship between my 2nd and 3rd year of University. I speculatively sent my CV to a number of companies asking them to take me on, had a couple of interviews and lo and behold I had my first internship! Fast forward about 2 years and I'm now halfway through completing the final year of my degree! And the company I worked for deemed the student internship scheme so successful that they continued to take on student interns for the following years!

Just apply! Meet people, get yourself out there, and get in touch with companies!

 

So far I have been pretty lucky with my job searches. I have been 2/2 in interviews and getting the job. (First was an internship and the second is my current job).

But, my professor in college basically got me both of these. At my internship, he worked closely with them and put in a good word. At my current job, one of his older students said there were some openings. My professor recommended this job to a group of us and the majority of us got offers.

From my experience, working with your professors will pay off.

 

For about 6 months after graduating I had no luck; most companies wanted to hire people already with workplace experience and even the recruitment agents were hopeless and could not find anything despite IT being in high demand and employers telling the government that there was a "skills shortage" in this sector.

In the end, out of desperation, I started walking in to the reception of various companies that looked interesting and asking if I could speak with the IT manager - the plan being to introduce myself and give them my CV.

This paid off, my first job in the industry was at one of these companies I had visited; while IT manager was not available at the time of my visit, I left a copy of my CV with the receptionists who the promised to pass on. They did! The IT manager saw my CV, gave me a call and the rest is history.

Fortunately this employer had hired graduates before and had a good experience with them, so that helped as well :)

 

My very first programming job happened almost by accident. I was studying psychology and looking for a summer job. I stopped by the college summer jobs board and saw an offer where they were looking for a third year student. That was back in 1989.

I decided to apply as I always did some personal programming projects at home. Just for fun, I decided to do a small demo in Turbo Pascal.

I was actually one of the only two students to apply and because of that small demo I ended up being hired. I really had no academic knowledge or experience...so I learned by myself how to code and modify their accounting system. I ended up working there for 5 years then moved on to start my own consulting firm.

You know what the best bit of all this is? After some 20 years they managed to track me again...and that good old DOS program was still running the production management part of the business using less than 4 MO of RAM.

A year later and here I am working again for that same company who gave me my first job with a new technology stack I chose and enjoy.

Talk about lucky?

 

Was browsing reddit and saw a post that required knowing linear algebra. It was pure luck and goodwill on the part of the people that posted the job.

Once you get the first one it gets exponentially easier to get other ones for some reason.

 

Ive noticed that too! After getting my job I keep getting calls from companies I never applied to.

 

I was a bootcamp student, so I didn't have much going for me in terms of experience. So I did the following:

  • Had a system for applying to jobs, a Trello board more specifically, where I tracked every lead, every application, every email, phone call, interview, and status. I'd also write down on the card when a company committed to reach back out to give me an answer or set something up so I could always follow up 48 hours after that deadline.

  • I practiced coding interviews and challenges like crazy. Every day I spent about an hour going over code katas and I'd speak out loud (to my dog mostly) about how I was approaching solving the problem.

  • I practiced explaining technical topics in "human language." Which also helped me to find gaps in my own knowledge

  • I networked like crazy which ultimately lead me to getting the job I have now. I met the CTO of Modern Message at a meet up and we hit it off, developing a good rapport. As a result, I was able to apply and get interviewed for a position at the company and get hired about a month later. I'm still with the company today and I really enjoy it.

 

After making UI tests for almost 2 years as a QA and taking online courses on my free time, two of my friends and ex coworkers recommended me to their boss and she got in touch with me.

After a few phone calls and an onsite meeting with a coding test I was contacted a few days later here we are, almost 6 months into Android development and the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know anything hahahaha. There's always new cool stuff to learn!

 

My first Dev job was a small freelancing company that I started to get some experience under my belt. I did this for a few months then applied to a large company and I had plenty to show them. I also found out that I disliked working with clients so I'm better in an engineering role. But I worked very hard and moved my way up into their R&D department and now I build very large scale web applications. Just work hard, get those projects under your belt. Under promise and way over deliver. You will kill it!

 

The first real “programming job” was organizing markup for my dad after school, back when I was a little over 10 years old. In exchange I would get to choose what we would have for dinner, or a pastry or candy, or just the feeling of playing a big people game.
But it was honestly the best thing. I was so proud of myself. While my friends were watching tv, my dad taught me how to code. So cool. Back in the day when Dreamweaver was all the rage, I went in and did all the repetitive or simple tasks by hand. I’m not even sure it was useful, but I did learn a lot and I saw that what I wrote in this tangle of tiny black, blue, and green Courier New characters actually did something in the other screen. We would make mathematical games, and I helped with small tasks in his website. This is all long gone, but I do remember it dearly.

 

My first dev job was an internship with Faithlife, making Android apps for studying the Bible. I had been using their app for a while for personal study, and one day during my first Senior year in college I decided to see if they had an internship program, and they did!

I was working there part-time for several months after that internship and was planning on going full-time with them after I graduated. Unfortunately, I got laid off at the beginning of the following year, but it was perfect timing because I met my current employer, Credera, a consulting firm, just a couple days later at my college's career fair.

 

This company came to my college job fair. Weird small world.

 

This is pretty interesting. So, I finished my final year of engineering and was waiting for my results (it usually takes 2-3 months). I thought why to waste this time and I started learning Android Studio. I had worked on a website in my final year project so I thought to make an app of the same project for fun.
I made it and don't know why I put the screen recording of the working app in my WhatsApp story. One friend knew someone who was starting a startup company and he shared the video. They called me for an interview and I got the job lol.

By the way, I got rejected in HR rounds of Wipro and Infosys (cleared the technical rounds). Hopefully, startups prefer coding skills more than communication skills.

 

Well in college I somehow landed 2 internships and a Tutoring position for Intro to Computers.

The first internship (and the tutoring position) came from teachers who were impressed with my work and the other from a friend who had graduated and worked at the company full time.

The second internship led to a full time position that I just recently left.

My second job was more of the traditional experience of applying, I found the position on Indeed. Though the other considerations I had were through recruiters contacting me on LinkedIn.

 

At University I with my friends build an Android application for our library. It had to many features like reviewing book, get state whether it's booked or not, and most importantly search for books at university's library. After successfully building it, i had portfolio to show.

Within 2 month I saw a job vacancy with title of Android Developer. I applied, and got selected because of library app. Worked there for four years during studying at uni.

 

Internal job change, they were looking for someone to do entry level data manipulation feeding spreadsheets into a WinForm and running ad hoc queries. I had an, unrelated, college degree and a working knowledge of SQL from working with MySQL, so I got the job.

 

My first dev job was an internship right before I started studying computer science.

The boyfriend of a friend of my girlfriend hired me.

He was the CTO of a local software company, who wanted someone who could build them websites with Joomla to demo their product.

 

While I'm not technically in a Dev role (my title is Marketing Director) but this job definitely requires more coding than any of my other jobs.

I got the job by being best friends with the Owner's son since Kindergarten. They needed a web/marketing guy, I hated my job at Target. I told me friend. He talked to his dad. I "interviewed" for about 15 minutes and he offered me the job.

I did have to work a couple months on the Sales Floor, just because that's what they actually needed at the time, but I quickly jumped into to updating our website and a bunch of other stuff.

 

Where I come from, there is a shortage of dev. Even before finishing tech school, I received many offers. I had to chose the best one.

Now that I am in uni, nothing have changed much. I apply for internship and so far I haven't not received an offer from all my applications.

Aside from being an abnormal stat, I'd say the best thing to have is contacts, it can quickly get you far.

 

I landed my first development job in 2004. I worked as a frontend dev at Harvard Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics on a 6 month Co-op. I attended Northeastern University, where they have a cooperative education model. Internships are a core part of the learning process there and students are encouraged to go out on 3 6-month Co-ops during your 5 years in school.

My first job after college was as a frontend dev with Sapient in their interactive group. The only other job I was interested in was a Usability position at Fidelity. Sapient had a direct from college hiring program. They invited 20+ students in for an entire weekend of interviews and group problem-solving challenges. The other students in my cohort were interviewing for jobs in programming and project management. When I was in my Junior year I read an HBR case study that had been written on Sapient and was very excited about working for them. After I landed the job I quickly became disillusioned with working at a large technology consulting firm.

 

I had completed the equivalent of a bootcamp (though I don't recall us calling them that in 1999. I then decided to build a site as a demo (it was a web-based grade book for teachers back when those sorts of things were uncommon). My friend saw the demo and invited me to talk to the CEO of the startup he was working at and thus began my career.

1999 was such a different time however. It was the middle of the dotcom boom. Finding a job was relatively easy as there were too many jobs and not enough talent.

That being said, I would still say that today, having something in your portfolio to show would be hugely helpful if you're coming straight out of a bootcamp. Also, the power of networking when job hunting is huge - so I was lucky with my friend but go to meetups and any other opportunities you have to meet people in the industry.

 

Started an one year coding academy and simutaneously found a 3 month internship. After the internship I was offered a job and they were willing to wait half an year for me to finish the academy. So here I am 18 months later still here

 

I didn’t. I got a 5 year Computer Engineerig Degree, applied to 100+ jobs and 4 Career fairs and got zero interviews. So I studied for two months to get the CompTIA A+ and Networking+ certifications and got a job in 3 weeks after that, with an 80% application to interview ratio. I’ll let you Form your own conclusions.

 

I was feeling stuck at my old gig, so for guilty pleasure I liked to scroll through Indeed and ZipRecruiter. I created a resume/portfolio on both. ZipRecruiter has a feature for "One-click apply" if the employer has things set up correctly. Whenever I saw a posting that was somewhat relevant that had a "One-click apply" option, I'd click it. One second of my time, figured I didn't have anything to lose. And I honestly never expected anything to come of it.

One day I got a random phone call asking if I was interested in doing a phone interview for a position I had one-click applied to. I ended up being a really good fit for the role and got hired the next week. It was literally life changing. It got me out of my old gig, and into the field I wanted to be in. Just by clicking a button.

It doesn't take long to set up a profile/resume on ZipRecruiter. Then you can see what's open in your area, and sometimes apply to jobs very quickly. Pretty low-stakes, but (apparently) can pay out big.

 

While working at a charity on the phone, I applied for the junior web dev role 3 times (the first just 4-5 months after starting my web dev journey).

Been in the role nearly a year now and yet to do any web dev at work haha.

I'm a support/software engineer (I run the support queue for 20-year-old applications) but I can't complain too much.

 

For the last part of my college education I had to do a 3 month internship at a company and after that write a report about it and defend it in front of a group of teachers and professionals.
I always remembered the CEO of a company that did a speech I think a year earlier at my school so I decided to try and contact them if they had any space for interns, luckily they did and almost immediately they accepted me for an Android dev internship.
Almost at the end of the internship the CEO asked me if I wanted to start there after I finished school and I was very excited (the vibe at the company is very fun), so I immediately started their after I got my IT degree. We work project based for clients and make native mobile applications.

After I think 2 months they told me that they are planning to start a new "project", consultancy. And they asked me if I wanted to be their first consultant for their new division. Again I said yes and was happy to be able to get this new challenge. So now instead of working project based I have full time commitment to a client for x time and help them on their projects, do maintenance of legacy code, maybe even help them learn new things, ... very diverse. But still mainly Android focused and sometimes web/php.

So now for almost 2 years I am working as a full time consultant with one of our biggest clients maintaining and improving multiple projects.

 

I used to be a freelancer and got in contact with another freelancer who was starting an agency. We clicked and before I knew it I was working for him and his business partner! All in all, it felt like a very organic way to get a job!

 

I still remember it like it was yesterday. I had an exam the next day, on Computer Networks, but wasn't in any mood to learn for it. I remember slowly dragging my body inside the dorm-room, trying to find some motivation for learning. It was 5 or 6 PM. Just before entering the building, I saw an ad in the window about a local company doing a presentation that evening, in one of the university's buildings, about their job openings. I didn't even enter the dorm-room any more, I just went directly there. They showed us what they had and at the end gave us some forms where we were supposed to check next to the skills we (thought we) had. I remember striking the check-boxes next to C, C++ and Java and that was it.

After a while, I got a call asking me to come in for an interview. They "obliterated" me. :-) I was a mess. Or so I thought... Two weeks pass and I get an email asking when can I start. I went in the following Monday. They trained the hell out of me for 3 months and kept on learning new stuff for the next 3 years or so. This was back in 2006.

I've spent almost 11 years in that company, where I've tried to poke my nose in everything that seemed new and interesting. It's still a good place to start a career in the IT industry, taking in fresh graduates or students who haven't graduated yet, without any prior experience, and teaching them the basics.

Oh, by the way, I also managed to pass that Networking exam I mentioned at the beginning. I found some Cisco courses online and stormed through those that night. Taking in Tanenbaum's "Computer Networks" in one night just didn't seem practical. Or feasible. :-)

 

I got my first job purely through networking. I went the YC Work at a Startup event. I talked with several CEOs there, and I really connected with Dylan, CEO of Naborly. He told me to email him and we could go grab coffee the next week. I arrived at his office and found myself in what I thought was an initial interview, but after an hour and a half he offered me a job. I had never used any of the technologies my company uses. I've grown so much by working on projects here and I'm eternally thankful that Dylan gave me a shot.

 

Went on an application binge on Indeed. A code boot camp contacted me and invited me to take an advanced course for free. It included an interview drive at the end of the course. After about three code interviews, I received two offers and picked the one that I thought looked best on my resume. I figured this first job was more about cementing my foot in the industry than anything else.

 

Zero rejections.

There are two ways:

  • connecting to a computer system: taking the default route and sending CVs to application sites. Oftentimes you get filtered out, because the algorithms give you a bad score without a fitting degree. Moreover you compete with hundreds of other people, chances are low.

  • connecting to real people: go to meetups, show your skills, share your knowledge, show that you are a person other people want to work with.

 

My first job was a couple of months after I graduated from a BA Honours in Graphic and Media design. I had been teaching myself/freelancing the past 4 years and building small websites and WordPress blogs for small clients. I had familiarised myself with HTML, CSS, PHP and basic JavaScript (mostly jQuery).

My CV was uploaded on reed.co.uk and after months of rejection, a company called School Website reached out to me. I met the director and had a brief conversation on my experiences and their expectations. It helped that I had a WordPress site with a portfolio of work for him to look at. Fortunately an offer was made and I started in December 2010.

The advice I'll give here is to have a portfolio of at least 3 projects before applying and be able to talk about them comfortably. Also find a mentor if you can.

 

I got lucky. I was in a bad place in life and just took a call centre job for some money. I made it known early on that I was interested in Technology so their Technical Support department kept an eye on me. Two positions came available, and funnily enough, both my brother and I got the positions. A few months in a guy who had started developing using Oracle APEX in our team got a position doing it full-time, and wanted to start fostering any interest. I made it clear I was interested and started learning basic stuff like HTML and CSS. Took over the company intranet and starting learning SQL and PL/SQL.

Then I jumped in APEX and got myself a full-time position being a developer doing that. Now I am confident in HTML, CSS, SQL and PL/SQL, adequate in JavaScript/jQuery and looking at starting to learn Python.

 

I emailed all the digital agencies in my area (there were only a handful at the time) listing the work I can offer and what I liked about the work they did. Most said they weren't hiring, except one who ask me to come in for an interview.

They liked my CV even though there was nothing really on it. It was the design they liked, and I was given a internship that led to a job.

So the advice I have is not to send the same email to a bunch of companies - tailor the email by doing some research and compiling a list of things you like about what they do.

I've seen potential candidates immediately discarded because they had a generic email that was probably sent to 10 other companies.

 

Kicked butt at an extended internship and the founder of the company gave me a call when he decided to sell the company and pursue a new venture. I started off doing some SQL reporting part-time for him while I was in school, but when I ended up having to drop out for the first of many times due to a streak of poor life decisions, I was able to turn it into a full-time gig.

I got to design the controller for a LED billboard which was a lot of fun...I miss being remotely connected to embedded devices at my job (this was in C# on Windows Embedded 7 machines). It was fun being able to play with expensive gadgets all day, but it is hard to keep finding work in that profession when you have no formal EE schooling.

 

I'd been a sysadmin for quite a while and moved into hardware repair, though I'd always been a hobbyist programmer. When I lost my job doing that, I applied for a developer role I saw advertised somewhere because - well, because there weren't a lot of opportunities around at the time. This was over a decade ago.

I didn't get the job because of lack of experience. However, a week or two later, the company phoned me up and said they'd made a new position available because it would be good to have a programmer who could also do sysadmin stuff (what we would nowadays advertise as devops, I guess). They turned out to be a really good employer.

What I guess I can say from this experience is that sometimes - just sometimes - when a company says "no thanks but we'll keep your application in mind", well, sometimes they're telling the truth.

 

After doing a HND in Computer Programming, about to start my degree I was visiting a pen-pal in another city and they left me with their father for a little while.
Turns out he was an electronic engineer for a very small company looking to take on a software engineer but unable to afford one. I volunteered.

I gave up my degree for a year to get some work experience getting paid very little so that I would have an edge when it came to graduation. This was shortly before software developers became such a hard to find resource.

 

I got my first job at a startup as a Frontend Engineer. I dropped out of college and I have friends in every field of computer science. I already knew hoe to code but I wasn't serious for it. Then I started web development and after 6 months, At a startup, they had urgent requirement for React Dev and my friend who works there as a ML engineer recommended me. They saw my work and immediatly hired me and at 12th December 2018 I will complete my first month at this startup. 🤩🤩

 

General Electric went to my university to recruit people for the 2017 Lean Challenge, a special program to work in a project with quality methodologies; I applied, got hired and worked in that project for 2 months. As a result, the team and I got along very well and after the program finished they hired me as dev intern.

 

Great thread! Can see how important networking is in this industry.

 

I just graduated college this past April with a bachelor's in Computer Science. I didn't start actively applying to jobs until June because I was on vacation for a month.

I applied to jobs well into July. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to do and what my dream job would be. So I tried to apply for those type of jobs. I soon realized I dont yet have the experience needed to work in that field. Instead I started applying for software development positions. I edited and reviewed my resume several times trying different layouts and keywords in an attempt to pass the prescreening software step.
In the end, my two in person interviews were with companies I never applied to. They havld found me because I posted my resume online. The first one found my resume on Craigslist and the second through a job board like dice. I was accepted to both even without doing a coding challenge. In the end I went with my current company. ❤️

Don't feel discouraged if you aren't getting good results. I noticed it takes about a month before you get any response from some places. It's also helpful to try different resume styles and layouts. Remember 😉 in a software industry why wouldn't they use software to select a handful of candidates before they even land on a hiring manager's desk.

 

Started as data analyst, my current manager saw my potential on being a developer. He asked me if I wanna change my career path and I said yes. That was the best decision I've ever made.

 
 

It was the year 2008 and a startup was desperate enough to hire someone with no experience.

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Software Engineer who loves Tupac, Alabama Football and reruns of "Living Single"

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