For all of you hired and working devs, I have a question for you: How did you land your first job as a dev? By this I mean, how did you come across this first position? Did you randomly see it on LinkedIn? Company job board? A friend? Old co-worker? Meetup? Career fair? etc. Did you have a CS degree or attend a bootcamp? Were you self taught?
I am asking as a young dev looking for my first role. I’ve been searching for a little over 2 months now and feel like I’m hitting that point of asking myself if it’ll ever happen for me. I understand that 2 months is not long, don’t get me wrong, but there always seems to be ups and downs during the job search and I’m currently sitting in a down. I think it’ll help inspire/motivate me (and other young devs) to see how experienced devs came across their first opportunities.
If you’d also like to include how long you searched for the job as well, that would be great too.
Latest comments (27)
I was fortunate to get a break right out of college in the year 2000. I was graduating in Statistics from Mumbai university and was simultaneously attending a 2 year computer programming course with a local school in Mumbai (Aptech). This course lead to a fortuitous interview call in a dotcom, they had just moved their offices to Mumbai.
They needed Perl & MySQL developers neither of which I knew at that time, but had some knowledge of Linux which they were using on the server side. Being right out of college, I joined them for next to nothing. And in the interview both me and a friend who had gone together presented a confident facade, which I guess helped to land us our first break.
During this stint I was fortunate to have a great group of techies around me, nearly all freshers who were very hungry to learn. We regularly used to have 12-14 hour days with no complaints, looking back I think I learnt most of my coding/logic building skills in that 2.5 year stint.
Keep the faith, present a confident (yet ready to learn and share) attitude. Good luck & god speed!
Somehow, 'quick apply' on LinkedIn worked for me.
As other devs, mine was accidental too. I was studying a CS degree in university, when at middle year I started to feel down, and exhausted about some classes. The university has a job portal where startups/small companies search for partials works.
I applied to only one, their description of project was good and match my favourite skills. 2 weeks later I forgot about all of this, and the next day I received a call from them
About 5 years ago, a friend texted me to see if I knew someone with basic HTML/CSS skills, and also good hardware knowledge. I had them, so I applied for the job and landed it. Since I also had taken a few programming classes in college, about a couple years later I helped fixing bugs on a old .NET/C# internal application, and wrote another one on my own.
From there on, I took several good JS courses in Udemy. About a month later, I applied for a job with a local startup that was looking for junior JS devs. Because of the courses and training I took, my experience was way higher than what they needed, so they hired me for a jr/mid position (obviously these "jr", "jr/mid", "mid", and "senior" positions depend from company to company). So the feedback from that first interview somehow helped me take necessary actions, and land that job. The startup didn't quite worked out, so after a couple of months I left, pretty burned out and frustrated. About a month later, my current employer contacted and hired me.
For me, the whole initial job hunting process was emotionally hard and heart-breaking and I had the same doubts you may be having now. What I learned is that those feelings came from the fact that this is what I really loved, and my strategy was to use whatever feedback I was provided to improve my skills. Sometimes I applied to a job with skills I didn't had that strong, so what I did was to study and learn more about them.
If you really feel like you love coding, don't give up, use any feedback to better yourself, and have lots of patience. You'll eventually land something good enough, maybe totally unexpected.
This is my story:
While I was still in school (Secondary school) year 2 of 4ca.
One day I was leaving the school when I noticed a job ad on schools info board and took a quick pick of it. Later that day I had a talk with my mother about it (since I was still a minor at that time) and if I should apply or not, as I have been "coding" for about 2 years now (just messing around with a lot of stuff and learning new things, nothing professional).
So we decided that I should send an email with my CV and see what happens. Tomorrow I received a response and an invite for an interview. I stayed at that company for about 3 years before landing my second first real job. As this was more me learning new things and experiencing how to actually do a proper projects and what goes into them.
I found it in the newspaper. I had actually interviewed for the same, or a similar position, and had not been offered the position, about a year before.
I started learning how to code at the age of twelve, my father bought me a book called something like "Visual Basic 6 Reference Manual".
Later on i attended to a technical highschool specialized in computers and there i studied C, C#, SQL. When i graduated i started working repairing computers. When i started to feel pissed off with the PC technician job i started to look for programming jobs in local job looking web pages from my country.
I applied for a job on an insurance systems company, they required no coding experience and offered a 1 month training course. If you pass the exam, you get the job. The course consisted in VB6 and SQL training, since i already had that skills passing the exam was easy.
Basically i was blessed in the sense that at 12 years old i already knew that i wanted to be a coder.
Later VB6 started to feel boring since it's legacy tech and one year on it i already knew the whole full language since it's pretty small.
An ex co-worker recommended me on an start-up where he was working at the time and there i made the jump from client-server apps to web development and that's it.
I guess it is a mix of luck and good timing (having the right skills of course).
Keep searching, you will get your job !
Hardwork learning the right technologies and having a very article CV
I got my first Dev job through IT support. I have a Comp Sci degree but I didn't network at all in Uni and I didn't try very hard after graduating. I landed the IT support role at a ~1500 person tech company through a friend who said that there was the potential for developer mentorship (never really happened, turns out Devs are busy people).
What I did get was a fair amount of free time between calls to learn Powershell and c# and automate a bunch of stuff. This got noticed and eventually I was offered the role of "DevOps Engineer" in a newly formed team focussed on Employee Experience. This was basically a fullstack JS dev but also kinda support too, which was a great learning opportunity.
My advice would be if you can't find a Dev job directly, look for something tangentially related at a company who's culture might facilitate internal promotion. Something where you can keep your skills fresh by using them. I found having a lot of real world problems that I could apply programming to was much more motivating than working on random personal projects that I was never invested in completing.
I graduated with a Computer Science degree in December 2001. It was shortly after 9/11, and there was some kind of weird IT panic going on. People were firing IT staff - or so it seemed. I had no idea why. Something something redirecting money to security.
After 2 months of searching and finding nothing near me (remote wasn't really a thing back then) I took a job a half hour away in a call center for dialup tech support. I felt defeated and like the work wasn't what i wanted, or even what i was good at.
About 3 weeks into the job, the CTO, who I went to high school with, mentioned that they wanted me to write them a web application, so I did (I'd never written a web application - I'd written a few web sites (on geocities), but I knew nothing of database connections or anything of the sort). After that they moved me to their development team permanently.
I wasn't paid enough for my work, they didn't bother to change my pay from the call center, and it took them about 3 years to get me up to what would have been an okay salary for a 24 year old back then, but I don't think that's super common - they just kinda sucked :D
I went to a presentation senior year of college, someone from the company I would eventually work for was talking about the value of networking.
He said he had some jobs available, I went up to shake his hand afterward, then we exchanged emails and the rest is history.
So basically, networking. I never really went looking for a job in development, it had been a hobby until then. Trying to find a career in chemical engineering that I could legitimately enjoy wasn't turning out great, so taking a chance on that kind of pivot was both spur-of-the-moment and also completely logical.
While I studied at university, I attended some local user groups, a Linux one in my case. Some work experience turned into a "proper" project, and that year-or-so on my CV looked great to my first employer, whom I found simply by job websites.
As a graduate, I was seen to have the right mindset to identify and learn things rather than already possess the skills, so the employer felt confident I would be able to do the job.
A desperate enough startup
my boss emailed me through my portfolio
I had a degree in game development but it was quite hard to find a job in that field where I live (Saudi Arabia) back then. I began looking for mobile app development jobs and had quite a difficult time finding any openings online. I had to rely on word of mouth and kept asking people I knew until I heard of a company that was searching for mobile devs. They asked to see some code I had written in the past (I was fine with it), I was working on a Unity game with a friend and I showed them its code. They liked it and I landed the job. I pretty much learned native iOS development on the job.
The salary was quite bad, it wasn't a healthy place to work at but I had an awesome manager and it introduced me to some awesome people and was the start of my professional network here, which was and still is the key to landing me awesome jobs.