So, you've learned how to code and you're ready to land that first job? Great! Over the years, I've held a number of development jobs and hired a number of developers. Here are some tips, from my personal experience, that might be helpful in your job search.
In modern development, you'll be hard-pressed to find a development team that doesn't utilize some type of version control. Nowadays Git is the king of VC, but Subversion and others are still in use.
A lot of junior developers I've interviewed have simply "known of" Git. While that's not a deal breaker, knowing the basics of Git can definitely give you a leg up on the competition.
If you're just starting out, you likely haven't worked on very many projects. No worries! A junior developer isn't (or at least shouldn't be) expected to have a crazy-impressive resume.
That being said, you'll still need to demonstrate your knowledge and abilities.
This can be accomplished a few different ways:
- Work on personal projects – a blog, a package/library, some random fun idea.
- Contribute to Open Source.
- School assignments.
- See if any friends or family could use your skills (for a free or otherwise)
Find out as much as you can about your potential new employer. This will give you a better idea of what they do, what they use, and what you can expect during the interview.
For example, if you find through your research that most of their apps are built using Laravel – then it would be a good idea to make sure you're up-to-speed with that framework.
This isn't just a tip for getting a job. This is a life tip. Put new things in your brain as often as possible.
Don't try to be the person you think the interviewer wants you to be. If you don't know what something is or how to do something, don't try to fake it. You'll show up on your first day of work and be assigned to a task that you have no idea how to complete. That's not fun.
If you try to be something you're not, you're doing a disservice to yourself and the company.
You're awesome, so don't sweat it.
“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” ― Kurt Vonnegut
I know that this tip is easier said than done. I struggle with anxiety and I've literally shaken through entire interviews. Take a deep breath and try to calm yourself. You'll be able to answer questions more thoughtfully and with more confidence. Just remember: that person interviewing you is just another human – with all the same human things going on in their head. If you don't get this job, there will be other opportunities.
I hope you find these tips useful. In an upcoming post, I'll share some tips on landing your first freelance client.
I'd love to know your tips for getting that first development job. Let me know in the comments!