re: Become the junior developer that companies want to hire. VIEW POST

FULL DISCUSSION
 

Great article! I give a lot of the same advice to early career folks. The thing I struggle with them is how to help capture their confidence and expertise to really own it through the interview process. Perhaps it's just a skill that comes with practice and time?

 

I think a bit of practice and a bit of needing to believe it themselves. It helps to have an external source of validation that what they have accomplished is meaningful. With the abundance of Imposter Syndrome in this field, it's no surprise that those who have trouble getting hired experience it the most. I think if more employed developers speak out to how relatable their experiences were when starting out, it can really boost the confidence of some newer developers. I tried to cover this at least surface-level in this article when I stated, "You did not 'make a small website for a friend.' You 'exceeded a customer’s expectations by delivering an accessibility-compliant single-page-application and maintain it through an Issues tracker and a CI/CD pipeline.'"

Owning my accomplishments was something I personally struggled with, primarily due to the sheer number of companies who rejected me outright, saying that I could not possibly be good enough for the position without a degree. I began believing it and saw my accomplishments as close to worthless.

Practice interviews helped a lot with this. The interviewers in these cases were not looking for a reason to reject me or compare me to other candidates; they were there to give legitimate feedback. When I gave a rough description of a project that I thought held no value, they would delve deeper. "What technologies did you use to build this? How did you solve [problem]?" I learned what mattered to a business. They cared less about the description of the project and more about soft skills, like problem solving, deep diving, and the motivation I'd displayed in self-teaching these things. I learned to emphasize my wide array of accomplishments: I was not just a web developer; I had displayed an ability to contribute to a back end as necessary for my front end projects. I did not just "know HTML and CSS," but I could display an intricate understanding of it through semantics, cross-browser and cross-device support, and complex graphical interactions and animations through CSS. I don't think it was really until these practice interviews that I realized statements such as "I know HTML and CSS" don't mean much and don't cover the real attributes that employers are looking for. The fact that previous employers had not cared was not due to the fact that HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc. were not what they wanted, but that I wasn't selling it correctly.

I am very passionate about helping others surpass this barrier, and I look forward to completing my planned subsequent articles and gathering more feedback such as yours. While I know the hurdles that I personally faced, it is great feedback to hear what others are going through so that their experiences are not ignored or left out of coverage.

 

Thanks for such a thorough response. I agree with how you describe your projects in the interviews really drives home your "hireability".

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