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Christine Fletcher
Christine Fletcher

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Getting Hired as a New Software Developer

Changing careers isn't easy. Learning a brand new skill isn't easy, but not impossible. I'm living proof. It took me two years of hard work and dedication to learn to code before getting my first role as a software developer. Today I want to share my strategies and hopefully help you get your first role!

If you want to know more about my educational journey check out my first two posts From Nurse to Coder and Overcoming the Fear of Failure.

I completed Lambda School and was officially endorsed on September 15th, 2020. It was a huge accomplishment. 18 months of 8-12 hours a day learning, writing, reviewing, and even teaching code.

I started applying for a few positions towards the end of school but didn't consistently start until after I was endorsed.

I ended up applying to less than 20 positions, had interviews with about ten companies, and received two full-time paid offers.

I'm pretty proud of those numbers considering I see people posting that they submitted hundreds of applications before getting an offer for their first tech role.

The fact of the matter is there is a huge demand for tech professionals. The challenge is getting that first role, finding someone that will bet on you and give you a chance.

Having an online presence is paramount in convincing prospective employers they would love to have you on their team.

My Strategy

I knew I wanted to focus on quality over quantity.

I mainly used the LinkedIn job board, indeed, and zip recruiter to find positions. If after skimming the job posting to see if I was qualified and interested in learning more, I went to the company website.

I looked to see if the website had the job posting.
If it did, I researched the company BEFORE applying. I read about what the company does, its culture, mission, and values.

I would reach out to any connections I had that worked there to ask them about their experience working with the company.

I read company reviews on GlassDoor.

The purpose of my research was to see if this is a place I would want to work. Do their projects interest me? Do I want to be part of this culture?

I sent connection requests to the person that posted the job on LinkedIn with a message:

"Hi (Name)! I saw your job posting for a (Name of role with X company) and just completed the application. I would love to chat with you about this opportunity."

I made sure to use the same keywords in the job posting in my resume and cover letter.

I recommend applying on the company's website if possible. Doing this will show that you took the time to visit their website, not just randomly applying to every job on a job board.

If you haven't already, have a professional review your resume and artifacts.

While waiting for the interview invitation, start or continue conversations with people already working there. Unless you have established a relationship with them, don't ask for a referral. Just rude.

Angry face
Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

Protip: On LinkedIn, go to the company's page and follow. From there, you can see all the people that work there and their position, do some research and visit the website.

LinkedIn Company page for CapSpire

I recommend following-up in a week if you haven't heard anything about the next steps.

Why I decided to use LinkedIn

I have no doubt that starting to build my brand and network on LinkedIn early during school helped set me up for success.

Put yourself out there, show off your projects, share what you are learning.

During my training at Lambda, we had weekly careers lessons to prepare us for the job search. I remember hearing a statistic that 80% of people hired are from internal referrals.

Only 20% of people get hired through applications alone!

Once I learned how powerful LinkedIn was, I signed up for an account and completed my profile. I began following developers, tech companies, and leaders.

I started posting consistently, still only about once a week. I made sure to use 1-3 relevant hashtags for great organic reach. I interacted with other people's posts and started conversations.

If someone interacted with my post, I sent them a connection request and sometimes a quick message:

"Thank you for (liking/commenting) on my post. I would love to connect!"

Add value any chance you get.

LinkedIn Profile

When applying for tech companies, every one of them asked for my LinkedIn profile. Make sure you complete all relevant sections, link to your portfolio, and other relevant artifacts.

Check for grammar mistakes and misspelled words. Have someone review your profile and get feedback.

The most crucial section of your profile is the headline. Whatever you do, DON'T have your headline read "Aspiring ..." anything!

Your headline should be the general job title you are looking to get. Think about what job titles recruiters would be using when searching for candidates.

Claim it! List frequently used keywords for the job titles you want. It will help you rank better when recruiters are searching for candidates.

Make sure you add a tasteful profile picture and personalize your banner image. Have fun with your banner image, and let it tell something about you.

Don't forget the About Me and skills sections!

Click "Open to work" on your profile. Which lets recruiters know you are looking for a job but isn't made public.

Linked in profile

Check out my LinkedIn Profile

Public LinkedIn profiles display high on Google search results when people search your name. Have you ever Googled yourself? If not, now is the time!

LinkedIn has a handy job board. You can subscribe to notifications for new positions posted. Alerts are great because early applicants have better odds.

Scan through postings daily and look for the ones with fewer than 25 applicants. Jump on the ones that have no applicants yet!

Use LinkedIn for researching the company ahead of applying and before an interview.

Networking! I haven't found a better platform to network with other professionals.

Stay current on industry news and find quality educational resources with LinkedIn.

I think starting a blog or a YouTube channel is a great idea. It shows you can communicate effectively and gives you a platform to share your story and add value to your connections. Then share them on social media!

My interviewer at capSpire, where I am now working, told me he read my From Nurse to Coder story, and looked at all my artifacts. He knew me before we even met for the interview, and I think it helped build rapport.

Keep your online presence professional. Be helpful, provide value, and be positive in your posts and comments. You may think your future boss won't see something you posted or commented on, but trust me, employers look.

So go through all your social media and start cleaning it up. Political posts have to go. Party pics? Probably not wise. Ranting and raving? I wouldn't!
Trolling?? Please, don't. Start over with new accounts if you have to. Use common sense.

Interviewing Tips

I think one of the best skills you can develop to find ANY job is good interviewing skills. I have 16 years of prior professional experience with lots of interviewing practice on both sides of the table. Interviewing for a tech position isn't that different, except for the obvious technical questions.

The best advice I can give you is to relax and be yourself. Hiring managers want to know if you can not only do your job but make sure you're not a jerk.

If you don't know something they ask you about, be honest.

They already think you are qualified based on your resume, portfolio site, GitHub, and LinkedIn profiles. Now they want to make sure you can interact with other humans, willing to learn, and can communicate technically.

Can you speak intelligently? Are you able to communicate your thoughts understandably? Would you be a good fit for the team?

Remember, they WANT to hire you. Just don't give a reason not to and find a way to stand out. What makes you unique?

So relax and BREATHE! Take a breath and think about your answer for a few seconds before speaking. If you can't think of an answer right away, ask them to give you a minute to think about it, or politely ask to skip it and return to it later.

The interview should be a conversation. Don't wait until the end for "What questions do you have?" I ask questions throughout the interview and may even throw in some appropriate humor if it seems acceptable.

I go into an interview with the frame of mind that I am interviewing the company. During my research, I make a list of questions I want to know before accepting an offer.

Asking questions and showing you have done your research displays interest in the company and will help you stand out.

For Hire
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Technical Interview Tips

During a technical interview, they want to see how you problem-solve and think. Interviewers want you to ask questions to gain a better understanding of the problem.

Do you keep your cool or get frustrated? Don't show frustration. Breathe!

It doesn't matter if you ultimately solve the problem or not. Treat it like a pair programming session. Your interviewer will most likely help you out!

Think out loud and ask a ton of questions.

Personal Branding

Your social media accounts should be about building your personal brand. What the heck is your personal brand? Simply, it is the way you present yourself to the world.

What do you want people to know about you?

Create your brand by using the same username for all your accounts, using a consistent color palette, font, and profile pictures where ever you can.

You can even create a personal logo! I like using Canva for things like that. Create your own branded hashtag and use it where ever you share your content.

Sharing your story is part of your brand. If you are a career shifter like me, what made you change? Why tech? What skills did you learn through your previous career that will help you in tech?


I started intentionally building my following on LinkedIn in June of 2019. It takes some time to get followers, but don't be passive. Start connecting with other developers, recruiters, and anyone of influence. Find people who inspire you and follow them. Comment on their posts, start conversations with people.

Be intentional about forming relationships. Message a developer you just connected with and ask them about their journey and career advice. What's the worst that could happen? They don't respond? Oh well, the next one might!

"If you aren't networking, you aren't working." ~ Denis Waitley

I found most people responded when you asked them a question about themselves. You might make a new friend! Please, whatever you do, don't message someone you don't know asking if they can help you get a job!


I remember thinking, how am I supposed to write a blog, be active on LinkedIn, get my portfolio built, update my resume, make a GitHub ReadMe, AND learn to code?????

The same way you eat an elephant, one bite at a time. I scheduled time to work on these things regularly, and slowly but surely, everything came together.

I was hired three months to the day after being endorsed by Lambda. If I hadn't started these things when I did, it would have taken much longer.

I'm convinced that the things discussed here today helped me to stand out among the sea of Jr. developers. You only need one person to give you a chance. Show them you are worth betting on by intentionally building your online presence.

Thank you for reading! I hope you find your dream job!

What other things helped you get your first job in tech? Please comment below and let me know.

Top comments (6)

jontucklogic profile image
Jonathan Tucker

Your post was so informative and authentic. Thank you.

chrismis79 profile image
Christine Fletcher

Thank you!

sssshalleeee profile image

Christine, this post is so informative and valuable. Thank you so much for sharing. You are truly inspiring to me.

chrismis79 profile image
Christine Fletcher

Awe! Thank you!

dmarinere profile image
Emmanuel Osuolale

Amazing article, Thank you so much Christine

chrismis79 profile image
Christine Fletcher

Thank you! Glad you liked it!