Long ago, you could throw a resume on Monster.com and hope for the best. I landed interviews that way in the early 2000s. I'd get a random email from a recruiter and go from there.
(The other was in person career fairs, which I didn't mind but they never led to much for me.)
My first "serious" tech interview was at IBM. I was working at IBM part time in technical support and got an email from a recruiter:
Recruiter: Would you like to work at IBM?
Me: I already do!
Talk about pure chance. But that lead to my first onsite interview and first software job offer.
Thankfully, Handshake and other companies exist to help folks coming out of school or starting their career.
Now that I'm deep into my software career and have been a hiring manager for a few years, my ❤️ goes out to folks trying to land their first gig. It must feel like a needle-in-a-haystack approach of applying to many jobs, rarely getting feedback, and lots of waiting.
(Shameless plug: if you are looking for a new job after starting your career, I'm hiring folks with 2+ years of experience for SRE and Software Developer roles at NinjaCat. Check us out!)
I have helped build an apprenticeship program and mentored folks transitioning from Support to Engineer roles. I try to mentor or coach folks early in their career. I don't have the answer but I do have some answers. In the last few months, I've wanted to compile a list of resources to help early career folks looking for technical roles. And here it is.
Credit goes to the creators of all this great content - the folks organizing supportive communities like VirtualCoffee.io and The Collab Lab, Danny Thompson, and more. And big thanks to the folks in virtualcoffee.io for compiling this list.
I'm categorizing these as
Learning. Have anything to add or think it should be organized different? Did I get anything wrong? Respond and let me know and I'll adjust.
Resources for landing a job, finding open roles, interviewing, etc.
- 100 Companies Hiring on Handshake - an updated list of companies hiring interns and entry level roles. IME, companies hiring for those roles are sometimes open to career switchers or trade school and bootcamp graduates
- #techishiring - a newsletter / hashtag powered by @chad_r_stewart (@Chad_R_Stewart on Twitter) that connects companies and job posts to the larger community
- How to Use LinkedIn to land a role in tech - a YouTube series from @DThompsonDev. Follow him on Twitter/LinkedIn for a ton of good advice. Like this thread on increasing your changes of getting your first dev job
- Job Hunting as a Junior Developer - @caitlynfloyd's blog post on job hunting is awesome. And I'll include it below, but her Tips/Resources for Early-Career Devs is a massive and excellent resource. It's so nice I'm including it twice in the Learning section below too
- De-Coding the Technical Interview Process - a book from Emma Bostian that covers technical interviews. Which will be part of your first, second or fortieth job hunt as an engineer.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
I've needed help in my job search as an experienced engineer and I think it's important to have support, encouragement, and guidance. Hopefully one of these communities can help you as you're searching for a role.
- Denver Devs Discord - My hometown team, if you will. There's a Career Mentors and Career Juniors channel in here that are a good resource.
- VirtualCoffee.io - One of the most friendly and sincere communities of developers and tech-adjacent folks on the web. Get involved and help out if you're interested too!
- The Collab Lab - I have only heard amazing things about this group. "A place to work alongside your peers in a fully remote setting" as you learn is an excellent idea and gives folks great experience going into a full time remote position.
Everything else. Guides to starting your software career, landing your first role, more articles on interviewing, etc.
- Guide to your first job in tech - a great read from @cassidoo. Check out Cassidy's newsletter and other resources like Getting a Gig too.
- Tips/Resources for Early-Career Devs - A massive set of resources from @CaitlynFloyd. This Notion page (link? resource?) is an excellent set of links, articles and more. You'd do well to read through this and then come back to this post. Caitlyn recently recreated this on her own site too: https://advice.caitlinfloyd.com/
- Reading List: The Early Career Edition - A set of recommended books from @bekahhw for those early in their careers.
- Big-Ass List of Code Knowledge - @meg_gutshall (Twitter: meg_gutshall) has a great sense of humor and built another massive set of resources. Everything from Git & GitHub to SQL to Interview Prep & Practice. You'd also do well to scan through this and then come back to this post.
- Learn in Public - @swyx has just a ton of resources, including The Coding Career Handbook that covers everything from job hunting, to growing as a developer.
- Alternative Career Path - A nice overview of software-focused and software-adjacent roles from @KarlLHughes. It takes product owners, QA folks, technical support, marketers and more to power software companies. Maybe a related or developer adjacent role is a good place to start.
- FreeCodeCamp- FreeCodeCamp and their forums are both a community and a place to learn.