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What does it take to become a jr. dev?

I recently published a video on YouTube.

It covered my top 5 picks for Udemy web development courses for the 2019-2020 season.

While reviewing one of the courses, I mentioned how expansive the content was โ€“โ€“ but also noted that the course alone probably couldn't make somebody a junior developer (despite the hyperbolic language often used in the marketing materials).

Two viewers asked a logical question: If a Udemy coding bootcamp course won't make you a junior developer, what will?

I thought this was a great question.

This was my response:

Becoming a jr. dev is so much more than just getting exposed to the tools and tech. In order to be a jr. dev (jr. dev = job ready newbie developer that is able to pass an interview & won't get fired their first month on the job) you need to be proficient with your tech communication skills, have a portfolio that goes beyond standard bootcamp projects (as 100,000 people have already done those projects and thus solved the same problem 100k times over), you need to understand how to read documentation & write basic documentation, your general problem solving skills need to be sharp (able to find a solution efficiently). Other things. It may seem like a lot of stuff and it is, but it's totally doable. . .

Other things.

What other things do aspiring developers need in order achieve junior developer status? Or is junior developer merely a job title? Let's discuss!

Update: My video response:

Top comments (8)

martinwheeler profile image
Martin Wheeler

I think a junior developer can be anyone TBH. They don't need to have any requirements met as long as they are motivated and can solve problems as you mentioned @realtoughcandy . Having a degree or a qualification helps the people hiring know you have a minimum standard of knowledge, but a lot of this can be self taught or learnt on the job. Having motivation to push through the hard times and still come out with a solution is what I think is most critical for a junior. Especially when they are in their first few months cause they are the toughest.

realtoughcandy profile image

Thanks Martin for your input!

ellen_dev profile image
Ellen Macpherson

A portfolio (even a relatively small one) is crucial. It demonstrates your ability to se something through to the end and gives a company insight into how you think as a developer. The points you made about problem-solving and communication are great, too.

I think a lot of the problem lies in the inconsistent definition of 'junior developer.' I was lucky enough to be hired straight out of a bootcamp by a company who was willing to invest in getting me up to standard. A lot of other companies, however, see the 'junior' label as a way to hire cheap, highly-skilled talent for grunt work. It's a really varied market so it can be hard for potential candidates to pin down the skills they need.

realtoughcandy profile image

I think a lot of the problem lies in the inconsistent definition of 'junior developer.'

Yes this! It's such a curious industry because while hair stylists need to be licensed to practice their craft, it's a free-for-all in tech when it comes to expectations and job titles/definitions. It would be nice to have some standardization with some of these components.

aortizoj15 profile image
Alexis Ortiz Ojeda

Hi, what would you consider good projects to showcase on a portfolio for a Jr position?

realtoughcandy profile image

Hi Alexis, this is a great question. I'm planning on doing a YouTube video on this soon so stay tuned!

bennypowers profile image
Benny Powers ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ

A little HTML and CSS, JS helps, a positive attitude, tenacity, chutzpah, getting over the fear of asking "dumb questions".

Make some contributions to open source projects, especially if you want to work remotely. Open issues, fix documentation, maybe try to tackle an issue marked "Good First Issue". I learned a tonne the first time a maintainer asked me to rebase my PR. I thought they were talking gibberish! The answers didn't come easy, but the community is much more open and helpful today than it was even five years ago, so dive in!

realtoughcandy profile image

Great response. Thanks Benny.