A developer by the name of Azhya Knox asked this question on Twitter:
This was such a great question that we re-asked it on the Code Connector Slack channel to get more answers. The following is the amazing answers collected from other developers!
@codingphase on Twitter
"Research"... I would say this is the most important thing because you need to know what skills they are looking for in a Developer. No need to spend hours in learning something that won't give you an edge when applying to jobs.
A great first step is a portfolio with at least 2 full stack projects you can discuss in an interview.
A GitHub profile can be helpful to demonstrate working code, your personal progression, and your interest in code beyond a class or boot-camp curriculum. Initial scans and recruiters will likely never look at it, but technical hiring managers just may.
Networking. The more people out there what can vouch for you as a person and a developer the better off you will be.
I have 4 steps to increasing your chances of landing a job in tech and they have worked time and time again. Especially if you are a beginner.
- You need a VERY strong LinkedIn profile. Most hiring managers, decision makers for businesses and recruiters use LinkedIn. Why not stand out where they hang out?
- An eye catching portfolio site. This doesn't have to be technical but should look presentable to a non developer. Most hiring managers have never been involved with code. So this needs to grab them.
- Portfolio items. This is where you show off your technical skill. A manager will look at these projects and this is what you can talk about in interviews to show your strengths!
- Last is a resume. This doesn't matter as much as the first 3 but you do have to have it. A strong LinkedIn profile can have you skip applications and leverage your network for positions. Can't tell you how many times I have helped people walk into an interview just from a good LinkedIn profile.
Network and Deliverables. The old saying goes, "It's not about what you know it's about who you know." To a large extent that's true. At St. Jude, people are 50% more likely to land a job if they are referred by a current employee. That is INSANE. But that person also has to be able to vouch for you. They have to be able to say you do good work, so skin deep connections don't do much good. Work with people, show them your talent, and connect with them on a personal level. Some practical ways to do this are to identify people that are where you want to be, and ask them to do code reviews for you, ask them if they have time to have coffee (or virtual coffee) and ask them good questions. Personally, I can give someone a much better recommendation if I know them, even only after 1 or 2 conversations than if I didn't.
One of the main things that I’ve learned during my interviews so far is the hiring managers are looking for someone who can hit the ground running on Day 1. If I’m willing to do whatever I can do to learn something new every day, then I’ll get my first dev job in no time!
This question comes to self teaching wannabe devs so often! perhaps my brain have allocated a special area for this only. IMHO The best way still is to get a degree! If it is not workable (as for me also) than learn basics, build projects, finish bootcamp(s), make Github and LinkedIn shiny build connections!. And last but not least stay hopeful and have purpose! By doing so much ground work we do prove that we are serious about this craft, but in long run hope and purpose are surely needed to keep up with the primary imperative of computer science : managing complexity.
Brian Morrison II
Self Promotion & Marketing. Most suggestions you'll get are about building portfolios, social media profiles, and resumes, but it doesn't do you any good if you dont promote yourself to the general public. This means producing content of some kind to demonstrate your knowledge and what you can provide to potential employers, because ultimately thats their goal. Some suggestions could be writing articles, creating videos, and live coding on Twitch or YouTube. A huge benefit of live coding is that people interested in you get a feel for what you are actually like in real life and it can give them some comfort before bringing you onto a team. When I interviewed for my current role, the hiring manager specifically cited my live streams as one of the reasons I was on the top of the list as a candidate.
Write something in Readme's in your Github Projects
I can't tell you how many Github's I get sent or linked on resume's that just are full of empty or template readmes. Even just a paragraph or a few bullet points on what the project is and interesting parts, it goes a long way.
Build real projects for real people
It makes a huge difference if your experience and portfolio isn't just a bunch of tutorials that we've all seen a thousand times. Build things for real people. Seek out nonprofits or hackathons or indie hackers and build something for real users. Goes a long way in your credibility and experience.
Look at jobs you want, find out why you're not qualified for them, then fill those knowledge gaps. Now apply for those jobs.
Even if you fail the interview -you've just exposed more gaps to fill in order to succeed next time.
You can follow my journey on Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn. I am a Front End Developer with a focus on React (web) and React Native (mobile). I volunteer with Code Connector as the national team Online Content Manager and a leader for the Memphis chapter. As always, let’s have fun and code.