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Should I apply for jobs with lot's of small projects which I already have, or take the time to build a full app?

ermal profile image Ermal Shuli ・2 min read

I think I am good enough for an entry level job. I am really strong on HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I have created ecommerce templates (the front part) using mongo, react, and even wordpress (many years back - wordpress wouldn't be in the portfolio).

But these templates do not deal with payments, the react templates do not even have the backend - so there's no way to add more items to the database. The main reason that I didn't do that is because I thought employers wouldn't see that anyway (they wouldn't have the authentication info) hence I focused on what they could see

I searched dev.to and focusing on one project and fleshing it out is highly recommended, and I'll do that, but after 6 years of focusing on another part of my life I really want to get an entry job. Last time I checked I have the following

  • ecommerce layout: where I focused on design, it's responsive,I tried hard to not keep it conventional.
  • Artist portfolio: I made up a person, as if they are a painter and needed a website.
  • book ecommerce: has sections like: discounts, author of the week, newsletter section, blog post section
  • Book author site (think wikipedia for few authors): Timeline, quotes, books, bio - all in one page
  • A site for Picasso: totally different design

In short, if the job description was strong design, css and html skills, and knows how to work with react (consume APIs), I know for a fact, if all else is equal, I'm the guy for the job I have an eye for design, attention to detail, strive to not be boring

(I sound like a big headed so and so, I'm sorry.)

I feel akward, shy, something in my mind tells me I blew it by not working for six years. Another part of me says that I desperately need to get into this field this year (I'll soon be 30).

Assuming those static sites are what I think they are (unique, responsive and shows I'm good with JS and react), do you think I have a strong chance to get hired for an entry job or should I really focus on building a full app?

I feel like with my track record, all I have is an overall passion to be laser focused on improving parts of my life that need improving (got the disability thing done, now career - but unlike improving my disability, I feel like career depends on others to let me in), and a portfolio. I'm asking whether the above portfolio would be good enough, or should I focus on building a full app before thinking of applying.

I can build full apps, I have created mini demos on authentication and everything that would go into making a full app, I just loved working on the above, and now I feel like creating an app that I'd be proud of might take months!?!

The apps I want to work on are: github manager, and a text editor (electron or web based). None of which are unique ideas but ...

Thanks

Discussion

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mortoray profile image
edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y

There's no downside to applying for jobs. Attemting to get a job, talking to companies, doing interviews, etc. are all good practice for getting a job. You can make feedback on yourself, and some companies may even offer feedback (many don't however for legal reasons). You'll get rejected oftne, or not even get interviews, but hey, that happens even with lots of experience.

You can use a practice service as well, like interviewing.io.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I agree. I definitely think the focusing on one project is a good route, but I'm hardly certain of that or feel like it's the only way, but more importantly, the answer is at least DO BOTH.

Apply while you build out your portfolio. So much of the job search has an element of chance and you never know who will be enamored by your talent, personality, or simply have a big need for help. It's their job to disqualify you, not yours.

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ermal profile image
Ermal Shuli Author

Honestly, not getting the interview, is was I fear. If I get interviews and they go bad. That would be feedback, but if I don't.

I know I'm overthinking and procrastinating. But that's truly why I'm asking all these questions, because I fear they'll see the 6 years of no experience and just ignore me.

Though I found one of your comments where you say "If you've been programming for 5 years, then it's 5 years experience. I don't care whether that was paid or hobby work." which is kind of where I'm at. Even though my priority was something else, programming was a hobby. Though, unfortunately I only recently started to make sure I don't leave the projects I work on get deprecated and lost.

But yes, even though it's not rational I fear that if I start applying without knowing what they might want I might never get to know what I'm not getting interviews (at least)

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vinaypai profile image
Vinay Pai

I don't mean to be harsh, but it seems like you've been asking about this for a while now, this is the third or fourth of your posts on here asking about whether you should apply for jobs, the first one was at least 6 weeks ago. Have you actually applied to any jobs since then?

I realize it's a big step (especially coming from where you're coming from), but at some point you just have to take the leap. Nobody here can tell you whether you have a chance of getting hired without knowing you or your work.

It's also impossible to judge whether your current portfolio will help or your chances without actually seeing it. If it's good it might help. If it's not so good, it might even hurt your chances. If you haven't shared any links here because you're afraid of possible criticism, consider the fact that any potential employers you send it to will also be judging it but instead of giving you feedback it'll just land your resume in the trash so you won't learn what you need to improve.

In a nutshell, my advice to you:

  • Stop thinking/worrying about applying and start applying!
  • Post links to your portfolio here so you can get some real feedback from the community
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dmfay profile image
Dian Fay

This -- if you apply for a job, the worst thing that can happen is that you don't get it. If you don't apply, you're guaranteed not to get it.

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Patrick O'Dacre

My start was as a WordPress developer, and although I was quite adept at the more difficult aspects of working with WordPress, I was still just seen as a 'guy that made websites.'

My 2 cents: you need to build a portfolio that makes it clear you're not just a guy that makes websites. Here in Ottawa, Canada (a major tech hub in Canada), guys that do websites aren't paid well. Guys who do websites aren't even seen as developers / programmers.

I highly recommend you put together a portfolio of applications not websites. Since you're so strong on the front end, I would spend time getting familiar enough with the backend that you can set up a basic REST API and build fully working apps.

Find a good course on creating a full app with React and either MongoDB or MySQL, and learn how to deploy that app on a service like DigitalOcean or Heroku. Personally, I think DigitalOcean and MySQL are worth learning, but you'll know best what you can handle right now.

You're far more likely to get a junior gig if you have a decent mental model for the backend even if you're not super experienced with it.

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ermal profile image
Ermal Shuli Author

I can do that.

I have done that. I can add that functionality to all the sites I listed above.

I have played with Heroku but never with DigitalOcean

Years back I did play with wordpress, but it was a time when I didn't use git and so those projects are lost

So I should focus on converting those static pages to retrieve the data from the REST API.

Do you think I can overcome the 6 year employment gap if I do that?

That 6 year gap is the paralysing thing at the moment. It's the main reason I'm asking these questions

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Sergio Daniel Xalambrí

If you apply you may or may not get the job. If you don't apply you will never get the job. So just do it, try to apply to the job.