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Alex Morton
Alex Morton

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Looking to Land Your First Dev Job? Set Yourself Apart

This post was originally published on September 10, 2020 on my blog.

Yesterday, I published the second Q&A episode I've done on my podcast, The Ladies Code Collective Podcast, and I wanted to share some insight from it here - specifically around finding your first job as a junior developer.

There’s a really, really big learning curve to learning how to program.

It starts off relatively easily - we learn how to build web pages with HTML and CSS and then we start to dabble into true programming (JavaScript, Ruby, etc).

The thing here is that once we do, there’s not necessarily the same level of learning acquisition with programming as there is with learning to write HTML and CSS.

The sheer level of depth associated with actually getting good (and dangerous!) with programming sometimes takes years to learn.

I’ve said this before, but learning to program (especially if we’re learning it on our own) is essentially:

1) learning and becoming fluent in a new language and
2) teaching our brain to think in an altogether different way than it has before.

And we can’t really rush that along.

So, when people take on the task of getting into programming with the lofty aspiration of getting a job in a matter of months, I think we’re looking at the exception more than the rule.

Employers are often searching for mid- to senior-level developers. That’s why it can feel difficult to break into traditional employment as a junior developer -- simple supply and demand.

There are more junior developers when companies need fewer juniors; and there are fewer mid- to senior-developers actively looking at any given time when there are more positions open for those.

I think companies want to hire tried-and-tested developers, which does make sense. In other words, we can’t just expect to learn the basics of programming and then break into a perfect developer role.

We have to work hard, get really, really, undeniably good at what we do, and we have to set ourselves apart.

And the way to do that is by following your own unique creative impulses and to build really interesting, different projects that your peers aren’t creating.

And getting to that point requires practice, showing up to your code editor everyday, learning new things, using your imagination, and building projects that you can proudly showcase and will turn employers’ heads at least enough to give you a chance to explain what you’ve made and why you’re awesome.

P.S. Did you know I have a podcast with new episodes each Wednesday? Go listen right over here >>

The Ladies Code Collective Podcast cover art

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