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Chantae P.
Chantae P.

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How did you get your first developer job?

Hello DEV community,
Right now I'm currently looking for my first developer job. Here are my skills so far:

  • HTML
  • CSS / SCSS
  • vanilla JavaScript(can't do any complex code)
  • Git basics

Here's my resume for reference.

I met someone while networking who was going to refer me for a job. But when she saw my resume, she said I still need to work on developing more skills especially Git.

I really want to start working. And I'm tired of having to put off job searching because of my subpar skills. Of course I'm still learning new things along the way. And I'm not expecting my first job to be anything spectacular.

So how did you guys get your first developer job?
How far along in your journey did you start applying?

Discussion (52)

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bradtaniguchi profile image
Brad

So how did you guys get your first developer job?

I got it essentially via networking.

How far along in your journey did you start applying?

I constantly applied, and did jobs relative to IT in the mean time, such as basic IT support.

I'm not expecting my first job to be anything spectacular.

I'd actually consider grabbing a generic tech job rather than focusing on only coding. Getting into tech doesn't mean you need to be a front-end developer, as this is a field that is easier to get into than other fields, but also very competitive job wise. Without a clear network to leverage, cold applying to jobs can easily leave you fighting for a single position against thousands of applicants.

Without the skills to stand out, you'll be lost to the crowd, which is probably what already happened with your referral.

That said, getting feedback on your current resume can help point you in the right direction to at least "see" what you'll need to learn to stand out and have a chance. So if you're told that your skills need work, then work on your skills.

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

Thanks for the insight. I am constantly learning and studying. However, it takes me a while to get the grasp of things. React is the main skill that I know for sure I'll need to learn. So I guess job searching will be on hold for a while.

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lucaboriani profile image
Luca

My humble opinion is DO NOT AIM FOR REACT (or angular, vue, svelte...).
Build up the basics, js, html, css .
When you know the basics, everything comes easily. By the way, frameworks come and go, languages stay much longer.
Cheers

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aarone4 profile image
Aaron Reese

And patterns and algorithms never change.

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

Yes, I have been doing some serious thinking after reading everyone's comments. And I think I'll just focus on the basics. Especially getting a better understanding of JavaScript.

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bradtaniguchi profile image
Brad

React would be important if you're aiming for a front-end developer job. Except odds are you will need a number of other skills to "stand out" beyond just React. What about state-management? UI/UX design? Responsive design? You might need SSR/SSG, so what about nexjs? The list can keep going on and on.

Everyone is learning and studying, and there will be continual changes/updates to the ecosystem so its a game that you don't play to "win", it's a game you must keep playing.

You're welcome to pause your job searching, but when it kicks back up, you'll find you might need to learn ___ now, and end up more or less back where you started, except with some pre-existing experience to build ontop of.

However, it takes me a while to get the grasp of things.

Time is time, it will take time to learn what you need, there isn't a shortcut besides selectively focusing on specific topics and using your time wisely. Everyone can have their opinion on what is important and what isn't, or what you should focus on or shouldn't. But it really depends on you, your goals, and job environment.

So depending on your position, understanding where you're trying to go (front-end developer?) a good way to get an idea of what the expected requirements are is to look at job posts. From there you'll get a direct idea of what is expected of you. Then you can compare that relative to what you currently know, and then estimate how long it will take to get to what is asked in the job post. If that estimation looks like it isn't doable in your expected time frame, then maybe shift to a different job with different requirements?

I usually say you only need 3 things to get into programming. Time, grit and an internet connection. Assuming you're serious enough to have enough grit to grind through any challenges you face, and pay your internet bill you just need time, which is something no one has infinite amounts of and what you'll want to make sure you use as wisely as possible to get where you need to go.

Good luck, keep learning, keep building!

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

You're welcome to pause your job searching, but when it kicks back up, you'll find you might need to learn ___ now, and end up more or less back where you started, except with some pre-existing experience to build ontop of.

You made a point here.πŸ€” I think the best thing for me to do is just to learn the basics of HTML, CSS, and mainly JavaScript. Build projects and learn about new libraries and frameworks along the way. At this point, I'm open to applying for non-coding jobs. Just to get my first tech job and move on from there.

Then you can compare that relative to what you currently know, and then estimate how long it will take to get to what is asked in the job post. If that estimation looks like it isn't doable in your expected time frame, then maybe shift to a different job with different requirements?

Another point well made. I've been practicing my coding skills for quite some time now. I'm getting better but not 100% yet. I was hoping to get a job this summer BUT doesn't look it will work out that fast. So now I'm giving myself another 2-3 months. In the mean time, I'll look up apprenticeships and just keep applying for jobs that seem doable with the level of experience I have.

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aarone4 profile image
Aaron Reese

Why React?
If you have little Dev experience I think React is quite difficult to grasp. You can still do a lot of it by rote and copying patterns without really understanding what is going on.
Development is waaaay more than front-end or even Full stack web dev. Controversial IMHO coming up....
If you really want to add value to any organisation and also get a (fairly) gentle introduction to development, especially object oriented, learn some Excel VBA. The first time you show your manager that you have managed to import the last 24 months sales reports and convert them to Year-on-year trend analysis charts with the ability to filter by product range and region, and all they have to do next month is press this bug red button... You will be a GOD!

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

Yes I actually did learn about Excel VBA when I was trying to get an accounting job. But that's another story. I'll just have to refresh my memory on Excel.

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jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy • Edited on

Was a long time ago now (1995) when I was aged 19, so I'm not sure how relevant or useful this advice is...

I made a list of all IT related businesses within a certain radius of my home - and sent every single last one of them a letter introducing myself and asking if they would be interested to hire a young, enthusiastic programmer. I had no qualifications, and almost no professional experience (I had been paid for assisting in the conversion of some kids maths software from one platform to another when I was 16). I had taught myself programming from the age of 7.

I would say 80% of the companies didn't even respond, and most of those who did just sent a polite "thanks, but no thanks" letter. I did however, end up with about 4 interviews... one of which led me to join a small husband and wife software company who wrote desktop software (in VisualBasic) to assist with running warehouse businesses. From there, I never looked back... πŸ˜€

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natescode profile image
Nathan Hedglin

Amazing! Only 19 wow!

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kinqslee profile image
Soibibo Amakiri

That’s really amazing. Learning programming at the age of 7. I wish i had such an opportunity

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atulcodex profile image
Atul Prajapati

Learned HTML CSS JS

Made 2 projects

Used a local job listing application

Fixed interview

Presented my projects in interview, employer impressed

Selected as a fresher web developer

🚩🚩🚩

You can try this πŸ‘

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

Sounds simple and straight forward. I have a few projects, but I don't think those will "wow" the employers.

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leya profile image
Lea

wow or not you just keep on working on the projects and expanding those skills :D You got this! Opportunities will arise and in meanwhile perhaps pick up freelance job or sort something for friend of a friend, it's just a matter of time when you'll find what you seek for

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atulcodex profile image
Atul Prajapati

Wow what a beautiful thought 😍 love it ❣️ tha Lia πŸ™πŸ‘

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atulcodex profile image
Atul Prajapati

Sorry but we can't imagine the exact future πŸ˜‰

I we will try once πŸ’–

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yuridevat profile image
π•π•¦π•π•šπ•’ πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’»

Hi Chantae :)

I hope my insights will help you in some way.

My roadmap that landed me my 1st job as a frontend dev (1 year of learning)πŸ‘‡

Learned

  1. HTML CSS
  2. JavaScript (basics, nothing complex)
  3. ReactJS (basics, nothing complex)

Built
πŸ§‘β€πŸ’»4 projects
πŸ‘―1 was with a team of 4 devs using React&Firebase
πŸ†1 was for a Hackathon which won 2nd place

Pimped
πŸ’ͺGitHub Profile and CV

IMO you are good to go when you can say YES to all these points I have listed in my job-seeking list here.
You will also find useful tips on how to update your CV, which seems something you could need.

Wish you best of luck.

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

Thank you!

As far as hackathons go, do you have any tips for how to solve algorithims? I've tried a couple on Leetcode and even the "easy" level ones were hard for me to solve. I would literally spend 4 hours on ONE problem from FreeCodeCamp's algorithm section until I have to look at the solution.

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yuridevat profile image
π•π•¦π•π•šπ•’ πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’»

The hackathon I participated was about creating a project of my choice and document it very well.

I never participated in a hackathon which requested some sort of solving algorithm problems (and I am also bad at it just like you described, tried leetcode a few times πŸ˜…).

I am sorry for not being a good help here.

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

No problem! I never knew you could pick a project to build. I thought it was just about algorithms. I'll look into that

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yuridevat profile image
π•π•¦π•π•šπ•’ πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’»

There currently is a hackathon of the company I participated back then! Maybe this one is for you πŸ™ƒ

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

Thank you for the info!

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jwwnz profile image
James Won

I love how proactive you are and creating projects and writing posts, you should definitely keep this up!

I also shifted careers so totally can relate to how hard it can feel especially for the first job.

I didn't really network much (probably not a great move on my part) but continued applying to companies off linked in and grad programmes. I leveraged quite heavily off personal projects and hackathons I participated in. I did get a lot of rejections, but I ultimately got into a really good company.

Some advice that may be helpful:

  1. I tried to figure out early the areas that I liked and wanted to focus on: I loved doing frontend, so I honed in on CSS/HTML/JS - it seems you might have the same interest areas so I highly recommend you continue to develop your skills in these areas. While it won't necessarily help you get in the door - it will make sure that you are ready when the opportunity comes.

  2. Learning JavaScript in-depth is really important if you want to go into web-development: It can be daunting but if you chip away at it it will become familiar over time. Javascript.info (javascript.info/) is a great resource to start and building increasingly complex stuff with JS can really help hone your skills.

  3. Learn a framework: I know this isn't the popular advice, but from my experience it is good to know a framework like React. The reasons are twofold - (1) realistically most companies use frameworks so knowing one helps on the CV, (2) by learning the framework you stumble upon and are forced to learn JavaScript concepts that may seem weird eg. JavaScript destructuring. I'd highly recommend React, just because it is the most popular framework, but Angular, Vue, or Svelte are all great alternatives.

  4. Keep coding! You are doing the right thing with your projects - keep it up! Also highly recommend looking for hackathons (online or in person), volunteering or startup events where you could put your coding skills to use. You could also consider contributing to open source projects on github - if big stuff is daunting you could start with looking for issues in their docs such as their readme. These could be valuable things you could add on your CV

  5. Be confident! The technology landscape changes so quickly that really all of us are learning - we are all in the same boat. It took me ages to realise this, but it really helps to know this and believe in yourself and your ability to learn and grow. The main thing is to keep your morale up and keep learning and putting the new learning into practice :)

  6. Internship: I know it isn't the best option but finding a short-duration internship even unpaid could be a good way in. I did one really early on and it really helped me, both in terms of getting some programming experience on my CV but also getting me some solid experience that I could draw on going into my first full-time role

Hope this helps!

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author
  1. I am definitely working on my frontend skills by building projects on frontendmentor.io. I'm getting better but still need to improve CSS skills.

  2. I am very familiar with javascript.info. I'll eventually go back to that and freecodecamp to learn about JavaScript.

  3. Eventually I will learn React. But first I need to get more comfortable using JavaScript.

  4. I'm familiar with hackathons. I tried Leetcode but the problems were too complicated for me. Even the "easy" problems were difficult for me to solve.

  5. Oh I'm definitely practicing and learning new things along my journey .

  6. Yes! Which reminds me, I need to look up apprenticeshipsπŸ€”

Thank you so much for replying to my post!

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dianale_dev profile image
Diana Le

Networking is going to be crucial to landing your first job. If you can, try to attend developer Meetups around where you live (online or in-person) to make connections with other people. Check if there are any local Facebook or Discord groups for web developers as well. Also make sure to optimize your LinkedIn profile (linkedin.com/business/sales/blog/p...). There are also general tips on applying to jobs via LinkedIn that you can find online (example: if the job was posted by a recruiter or HR, message them in addition to applying online with a description on why you'd be a good fit for the role).

I think lack of Git skills is a bit nitpicky since that's a process that can be learned on the job (especially in terms of collaborating with teammates), but Github has free interactive courses: lab.github.com/

I took a look at your portfolio, and under the "My Work" section, I would switch the links on the images and the "Live Site" links. Make the main link go to your actual work, while the "challenge" should be a smaller link. Also putting your email on your site can opens the risk for getting spammed, so I would remove it or find a way to mask it (https://stackoverflow.com/questions/21421948/protect-e-mail-address-with-css-only?noredirect=1&lq=1)

Good luck!

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

"Networking is going to be crucial to landing your first job. If you can, try to attend developer Meetups around where you live (online or in-person) to make connections with other people."

Definitely. I always try to join a meet once the opportunity arises. That's how I was able to meet the person who was going to refer me for a job.

As far as learning Git, I've been uploading projects on Github. So I'm not completely clueless.

And thank you for telling me about the email. I'll change that and the links.

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dante_inferno profile image
Akash

Fresh out of college with just some C and Java knowledge, attempted an online aptitude test attended by thousands, out of which top 200 were selected, these 200 were called to the office to attend a written aptitude test, out of which 15 were selected. These 15 were interviewed by a panel of 2 and after the interview 6 of us were selected. 6 of us were asked to solve a coding challenge on paper (yeah, wrote C code in paper) and finally 4 of us were selected. This was 6 years back, NodeJs just released ES6, no classes in JS yet, Typescript was just catching on...

So yeah, finding the first job is tough, keep at it, you will get there. You can look out for internships as well which would improve your profile and you will get to work on real world problems.

All the best πŸ‘

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

Will internships work even though I graduated from college 6 years ago? As a matter of fact I'm hoping to get an apprenticeship or just get an entry level non-coding IT job. Eventually I'll get something. Just have to keep pushing forward and improving my skills.

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naruaika profile image
Naufan Rusyda Faikar

I got mine a year ago, while keep learning everyday, by emailing a bunch of start-up companies for eight months; not emailing randomly like several fresh graduates do, but by earnestly. I can say nothing, but keep trying and good luck! Looking forward to reading your posts again once you get the job done.

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

Thank you. I'm looking forward to that day too when I can finally make a post about me getting my first job .

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imcheesecake profile image
Freddie

I was a bit older than you when I firat started so I had some general work experience which helped me a lot, I think it makes you look a bit more professional if you just know how to be at a workplace. So taking some general IT job is probably the way to go.
I have some friends who started as an intern at some companies and later got hired, so that could also be a great starting point!

You'll get there, no worries. You're still young! Keep coding!

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

Thank you! I will also look into non-coding jobs as well. Just to get my foot in the door.

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codeystein profile image
codeyStein

Don't know if this counts as a job, but I just asked an organization that didn't have a website, to make one which I'm still working on. I didn't ask for them to pay me (nor did they offer) since it was my first kind of job and I mainly did it for the expirience, and to have something proffesional to show on my portfolio. This is almost 2 years after I originally started with web development.

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alco profile image
Jakub StibΕ―rek

I learned on my own for about a half a year? Then I reached out to the local Facebook programmer community looking for a part time job or an internship. During the whole time I was a self-employed language teacher. One guy from a small company took me aboard and I got to spend about a month working on different projects. I had no idea what I was doing and people in the company had no time to invest in me. So I quit and started looking again using job portals. This time for a full time job. I fixed myself a portfolio page and tidied up my GitHub repos. I contacted around 30 companies in my city and went to approximately 15 interviews. I got two offers. One at a SaaS company similar to SAP one at an insurance company. I joined the SaaS, didn't like it and quit after a month. At this time I had no other income so I desperately contacted the insurance company. They took me in. And that was my first developer job.

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Sherry Day

My first job was at an agency that did Wordpress development. I started applying as soon as I knew I wanted to be in this field, even though I really had a lot to learn. I still had a lot to learn on that first job, but I don't regret applying and starting the journey.

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

Yeah I've started applying for jobs here and there. I have a whole lot to learn. I just need to be patient with myself.

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cmosley profile image
Christian Mosley
  1. Get a sub to zerotomastery.io/ ( I think its $35 a month, but WELL worth it).
  2. Complete the React developer course ( this will give you a really good portfolio project and needed skills
  3. Read and do this: reddit.com/r/cscareerquestions/com... (Will be much easier when you have a new project to show off from your ZTM React course ).
  4. Work through the advanced JavaScript course on ZTM (very good fundamental knowledge you'll need for career using JS)
  5. Repeat step 3 till you get a job.

Its easy to get a dizzy head trying to figure out what you should learn and how to get a job. Once you find quality learning resources and a community (ZTM has all of these) then the road is much more clear.

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

Thank you for the resources. I am very familiar with ZTM. I actually bought a web development course and subscribe to the monthly newsletter.

And you're right about trying to figure out what I need to learn to get a job. I'll just stick to the basics of JS, HTML and CSS.

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Nik F P

I code mainly as a hobby and do some open source work, so no job search info. But this site is an interactive Git tutorial that awesome and free.

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

Awesome! Thank you.

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taijidude profile image
taijidude

Went to a programming trade school for two years. My first boss was an alumni of the same school. Got the job through networking by one of the teachers.

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mungaigikure profile image
JMG

I got my first job/gig from Fiverr. I really suck at networking/socialising, I have no clue how to start a conversation with a stranger.

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

Yeah same here, definitely need to work on my networking skills.

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eshimischi profile image
eshimischi

While at school (i was 16 in 2003) we created a freelance web studio with my mate and began to take local orders. Both of us were just a beginners that time, but improved skills very much indeed with a real projects

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natescode profile image
Nathan Hedglin

YouTube. I made videos on Phonegap / Cordova and got hired by some tech startups.

My first real W2 job I got from networking with family. I did that for 7 months and moved to a large, well respected consulting company in my area. That company, Magenic now Cognizant Softvision, essentially made my career by paying for expensive certifications and training.

I was looking before I graduated with my AAS degree.

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

Wow sounds like a great company.

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lorenzojkrl profile image
Lorenzo Zarantonello

Hi,
I could give you some feedback on your resume and projects.
Let me know if you want it privately or here:)

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taepal467 profile image
Chantae P. Author

privately please.

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lorenzojkrl profile image
Lorenzo Zarantonello

Sent a message on LinkedIn

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heyitssunshine profile image
Dillon R Beers

What resources did you utilize to generate that resume, and scroll style? Well done.
A pop of color might change perspective?

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Chris Grundy

A university professor hired me and another classmate on the spot. He really neded people, we were just starting the 2nd year and he put us in charge of a project unrelated to the university.