If you have read the previous installment of this blog series, you may have noticed that it had some loose structure (tips, todos, lessons learned etc.) as I was gearing up to jump into the junior developer struggle bus.
Now that I reached a point where I feel like I have the basic materials required to submit for a junior dev position, I will be focusing on sticking to a job-hunting routine and honestly evaluating my performance on a week by week basis. Each future blog post (including this one) will:
- Describe what I did
- Evaluate how I performed (if I met my goal for that week)
- Highlight lessons learned (and increase/decrease expectations accordingly)
I hope this provides an easier read for other junior devs, and helps you pull out the take-aways easier!
Job hunting is very similar to a real world project, in that in order to ensure you're making progress, you need to have a means/rubric/criteria to provide objective feedback as you move through from start to finish. My career coach mentioned that some people get frustrated with the job search because they don't keep track of how much work they're putting in, and as a result don't realize that the lack of responses isn't because companies are particularly cruel, but because they aren't actually doing enough legwork! To prevent that, I'll be keeping close account of the work I'm putting in! I will be focusing on 3 main criteria: Presence, Learning, and Networking
AKA making sure I am seen by other developers and companies
- Helping and collaborating with other peoples' projects
- Continually polishing and updating my portfolio website, LinkedIn, and publishing these blogs
- Finding activities where my input is valuable and engaging in those activities
AKA learning relevant skills to prepare for interviews and work
- Speaking smarts: Can I speak comfortably about the technology stacks/concepts I know?
- Tech smarts: Can I whip up projects in a timely manner (with or without other developers)
- Algorithm Smarts: Can I develop a knack for solving algorithms?
AKA building meaningful relationships with other professionals
- Am I making meaningful relationships in industry?
- Am I reaching out to recruiters? Companies? Employed developers? Aspiring developers?
- Am I going to events regularly to engage with the dev community?
Well, I made the official transition from setting up my job-hunting materials to actively job hunting, so there was definitely an opportunity for improvement in terms of how I organized what I did.
My main struggle was balancing the three parts of my job hunt because I knew WHAT things I needed to do, but I didn't know HOW MUCH of each thing to do.
Here's how I would break down my performance:
Honestly, I thought that building my presence was a very static thing, as if I could just set up my website, post a blog, and be good. Turns out that presence is a very active endeavor, and letting people know you exist and are active in the community means continually reaching out to others, being prepared to share things, and actively applying to jobs.
- Collected all my materials (resume, cover letter, elevator pitch, LinkedIn link, Github link, blog link) in one place on my computer for ease of access.
- Hosted my portfolio website using the Netlify CLI. It is not finished, because I still have some personal photos to insert
- Made this blog post!
- Applied to 5 positions (I want to write a meaningful article on applications after I learn what works and what doesn't)
- Didn't wrap up my portfolio website because I wanted it to be perfect, so I couldn't really use it for this weeks' job applications
- I should have spent more time applying to more jobs/reaching out to recruiters, but instead I worked on other things
- I will be ramping up my job application "quota" to 10 jobs per week, this isn't because it'll necessarily land me a job, but it will make sure I'm looking through and understanding what companies are looking for
- Getting the portfolio website photos finalized (I just took some photos and will just need to touch them up before uploading them)
- Reach out to 5 recruiters and 5 developers (not copy-paste messages, but actual genuine messages of interest).
- If I have stuff to work on (whether its sending an email to a recruiter, or working on my website), I need to work on it until completion before moving onto something else, or until I absolutely need help
I had initially made some pretty lofty learning goals that didn't prioritize much of anything. As a result, I began bouncing between algorithms, reading, watching react native videos, and building a simple project. Definitely will need to organize myself better next week.
- Completed 10 Algorithms on LeetCode Interview Q's Track
- Read Chapters 1-6 of Cracking The Coding Interview(CTCI)
- Reviewed the new features of ES6
- Watched 6 Hrs of content on React Native
- Played around with React Native, trying to rebuild a simple version of my mod 5 project at Flatiron - I didn't give myself enough time to create anything meaningful
- Could have done more if I had been more organized (and fully completed each item before moving on)
- Complete 15 algorithms (3 algorithms per weekday)
- Read Chapters 7-11 in CTCI (one chapter per day) - Covers OOP, Recursion, System Design, Sorting, Testing)
- Plan and build 4 simple 'screens' of an app using my understanding of props, routing, styling, state and debugging learned from React Native docs and videos
Of all the things I struggled with, I'm surprised how smoothly and successfully I networked with other people this week. I think I could have been a little more active and inquisitive, but for the most part I made some awesome connections with some very neat people!
- Went to a Diversity and Women in Tech Meetup from New Tech NW, and found someone to collaborate on a project with and also other super nice developers who I will be connecting with later
- Went to a SeattleJS Meetup, which was informative
- Speaking to more people AFTER meetups, I often find myself talking to one or two people, listen to the speakers of the night, and then head out
- Going to a Community Hack Night Meetup
- Going to a Career Path In Tech Meetup
- Going to a Junior Dev Struggle Bus Meetup
So, after evaluating how I did, I updated my Trello board to show what I need to do for this upcoming week!
Hopefully this post was helpful for you! Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn or leave a comment if you have any questions!
Good luck with your own endeavors!