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Cover image for Worried that I won't make it as a developer

Worried that I won't make it as a developer

radu_p profile image Radu Pasparuga ・2 min read

First steps

It all started in July 2018 when I signed up on the AngelList platform, everything seemed great as i got my first internship at 16 years old. It was an unpaid internship but it didn't bother me, I already had some previous freelance projects and the interview wasn't that hard as the interviewer was friendly.

First signs of worry

I learnt a lot, and i still am learning at my internship but recently I started to think of what should I do after this internship(which will end in December). The perfect scenario would be to land a job as a Junior Front end Developer but I'm getting discouraged a bit.

I'm not the greatest of the developers out there, I'm still a beginner/intermediate user of Vue and I still need to practice my algorithms and UI/UX principles.

I had this idea in mind that once I'm in the industry it will be easy to get further jobs but it doesn't seem like it to me now. The interview for the internship wasn't that hard, mostly because it is an unpaid internship and I'm thinking that the next job interviewers(if i get to the interviewing process in the first place) won't hire a kid that barely has any experience as their developer.

What should I do?

What are the chances that after this internship I'll get a job, I'm constantly learning every day and I won't stop anytime soon, I saw that a lot of jobs require React and I'm pointing my eyes towards learning that in weekends when I have time and after the end of this internship but I'm still worried that I won't make it.

I want to further increase my portofolio, currently I have a few SPAs and a few html/css only pages but I want to have ~5 projects made with Vue and React that I will be able to proudly showcase to any potential interviewer.

What piece of advice would you give to me so that I'll make it as an internship, or at least make me a confident and overall better developer?

Discussion

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bosepchuk profile image
Blaine Osepchuk

I think you'll be able to get a paid job after your internship but the process might not work the way you imagine.

I've done a fair amount of interviewing. Here are my thoughts:

  • do your best to make a great impression at your internship. Make friends with the senior devs, pick their brains (stroke their egos a bit if you have to) but aim to learn as much as possible and be in a position to ask for and get a good reference from at least two of them by the time you leave your internship
  • the bar isn't very high for junior front-end devs and there's such a shortage of programmers, you should be able to get hired if you give it a reasonable try
  • managers are looking a minimal level of knowledge to be considered for a junior position but your growth potential is more important
  • my advice would be to learn one system/framework/platform well instead of trying to learn a little bit about a bunch of things
  • spend time preparing for interviews (practice little coding exercises, get a friend to ask you questions, have prepared answers for the most common questions, have a portfolio of code online you can share with the interviewers--your best code)
  • no detail is too small to blow the interview (weak handshake, bad breath, crumpled clothes, late, lack of eye contact, excessive nervousness, etc.)
  • familiarize yourself with each company before the interview. Be prepared to talk about their business, how you can fit in, what you can contribute. There's an old saying that everyone's favorite topic is themselves. Well, the same is true of companies. If you can talk about their company on their terms, you'll set yourself apart from the candidates who did no research--it shows great initiative!
  • read programming books (shameless plug for my list of must read programming books). I ask every candidate who they read. If they don't have a good answer, they don't get a job (you can't claim your a great learner if you don't read anything, right?)
  • interviewing is a pretty ineffective way to identify good candidates (surveys say managers regret 50% of their hiring decisions within a year). That means you might not be selected even if you're the best candidate. AND, conversely, you might get hired even if you're not the best candidate. So keep at it. It's a numbers game.

Good luck.

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radu_p profile image
Radu Pasparuga Author

You gave me a lot of advice there and I'm thankful for it, I'm planning on reading one or more of the books in your article, I already am in a pretty good relation with one of their senior devs that helped me a lot during the internship and I'll keep on learning and applying for jobs until I'll finally get a chance to show my skills, thanks a lot, again!

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thobyv profile image
Thoby V ijishakin

Best interview advice.

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tristanwagner profile image
Tristan WAGNER

Don't be ashamed or afraid of not knowing, be proud of learning. In programming even the most experienced peoples are learning every day, just don't worry about it and work hard on your free time and you shouldn't have any trouble to find a job ;) GL in your researches