Looking for Your First Dev Role: Advice for Young Devs by a Young Dev

Victoria Fluharty on May 23, 2019

As a junior developer searching for my first position over the last 57 days, I have learned a few things I would love to share with others who are ... [Read Full]
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Wow those are really good points that you discussed about. I was also searching for a job over 2 years. I was very sad and depressed. I didn't want to do anything. My mind was totally blank. Then my cousin had a ukulele. I used hear him play it. I got an interest towards it. I learnt how to play the ukulele and got myself out of my depressed mode. Sometimes you have something right in front of your eyes that you don't see. Because we always see the future and not the present.


I had same issue. One reason I never really went into depression was my lovely wife and my new born. I was close many times. What made it worse were few interviews where I scaled through about 5 rounds. They even contacted my reference and all that, just to hear they went with a more experienced guy. Why make me go through all those steps.

What I did eventually is join a really fast growing startup in a completely non-technical role. Build useful web app for the whole team within my role. Got noticed.Starts getting better from there. Location is also really important.Where I am based competition is fierce and inmigration laws makes it easy to just hire experienced guy from abroad.


Thank you so much for sharing your own personal experience! It is amazing that sometimes the thing we needed the most had been right in front of our face the whole time. I am so happy that you found a way to take the darkness and turn it into a bright light.


No problem i just want to show other job seekers who are going through a tough time to keep their motivation up always. Failure is what makes us great.

Ok, well, I can agree with this one now! Well said.


We don't always see the beautiful and bright future ahead because we are blinded by the darkness of the present, as much as we want to look forward to the future.


You have raised awesome points! I was also stuck in job searching situation until 2 months ago. For me, these things helped me alot:

  • preparing for interviews every time I got a call from company: I started reading interview preparing books & commonly asked technical questions over the internet. I made hand written notes about all the stuff that I've either practiced in actual projects or knew only theoretically. After every interview, I would update my notes in case I was asked about something new.
  • Having regular followups with companies: This is something that I got to learn to learn from my sister. Companies on frequent basis get tonnes of resumes specially during summers. It's really hard for them to check everyones' CV. I had this rule that if a company XYZ doesn't reply within 7-10 days, I will either email or call them ask them about my application's status.
  • Updating status on Google Sheets: One of mates made Google sheet in which he entered names of every company he applied and a one liner about his interview experience. He then shared this sheet with rest of his peers.
  • Linkedin profile: Linkedin is like a solid rocket booster which can propel you to the moon. However, just like tailoring resume for job is search is essential, having solid Linkedin profile is also important.
  • Networking: Having friends who're already working in the industry can give insights which is can'you can't find. This includes enviroment of companies, how they filter out candidates, interview prep, average pay scale etc. They can even refer you in their company if they've worked with you before. Having someone to refer you works more efficiently than your standard approach.

The whole process was really tiring TBH. Rejection after rejections, HRs not responding on time, preparing those same questions again and again was making me frustrated. But here's the catch: Everyone who's at the same level as you is goind throught the same phase. The will to face all the failures is most crucial aspect of this. Keeping your sanity is more important than all of this in my opinion.

Everyone has his/her time of success. Waiting for the moment is worth keep working moment.

P.S: If someone needs those programming books, I've "Cracking the Coding Interview" & "Programming Interview Exposed" in PDF format. I can email these files easily.


Thank you so much for adding a few extra pointers!!! I think that your point about following up is a great one. I sometimes have a hard time getting past the idea that I may be bothering them, but that's silly. Also, I'd love a PDF version of Cracking the Coding Interview. :)


Here's the pdf cracking_the_coding_interview_pdf_...

Keeping regular followups is indeed hard. But it also shows that you as candidate are really interested in them. Also you need to move on to other companies if you know that the one where you've already applied isn't interested in calling. In my opinion, it is their responsibility to send candidates a proper follow up response (whether they're rejecting you or keeping you on hold). If they're not doing it than candidates have right to ask themselves.

In my comment, I forgot to mention 2 other points

  • Always study the company profile before going for an interview. Read about their product(s)/services, core values. Ask interviewer(s) about their daily office routine, challenges that they face in technical and communication terms etc. These kinds of post interview conversations prove your interest and individual curiosity.

  • Give them a thank you card at the end of an interview as a gesture of appreciation.

Thank you so much for adding to this discussion!!!


@mizra I would love a copy of the Google job tracking sheet as well as the programming interview books.


here you go:


Job Tracking Sheet

About the tracking sheet, companies which are mentioned in it are all local. However, you can easily get the idea how companies engage with candidates during hiring process.

Thanks @Mizra super helpful. I hope to return the favor one day. When in Atlanta drop in for coffee. Cheers

Let me know if there are any Software Engineering spots opened in Atlanta.

Sure thing. You should join the tech404 slack group and Code for Atlanta slack group. Lots of job posting in both groups.


Number 4 should be highlighted. I am at my second company and my 5th project right now and I think I never ticked even half of the requirements. I was always just like "seems interesting, let's do this" and it worked out just fine.

You usually can't tick everything. I never met a guy who could. It is impossible, but if you are able to learn on the go your fine. There is even a term and study about that. JIT learning (Just In Time learning).


Awesome post :)

Sadly I am currently on item 6.

Recently I applied for a new job. I got accepted by a company but I had to refuse it because the company was not quite what I was looking for.

I made a big mistake in this process, when this company accepted me I canceled all other interviews... >_<

Now I feel really down with my decisions and need to get motivation to keep coding.


Don't worry, everything happens for a reason. You will find a position that is great for you and you'll look back and realize things had to happen this way for everything to fall into place. Stay positive.


Thanks for sharing. This is a great article. As someone who is just starting out in my webdev journey, this is an article I'll come back to. I'm almost 3 months into learning front-end as a self-taught developer with 0 experience. It's challenging but I can't wait to get to where you are now! Good luck!


Thank you so much! Good luck on your journey and enjoy every bit of it. Learning to code has been one of the best experiences of my life.


Lovely article.

I am just at the start of this process. Honest interviews are so important. Interviewing is a two way process.

Regarding interview questions. There is a video called fizz buzzkill where experienced devs show that even they get stumped at some questions.

Some interviews will go well, some will go not so well. In which case, it was not meant to be.


I'll have to check fizz buzzkill, I had never heard of it. Thank you for the new resource!!! Good luck to you with your job hunt.


So wish I would have seen this sooner. I've been on the hunt for a developer role for months now, to the point I picked up a call center tech support job in the meantime (which I don't enjoy but money for bills and living.) It's been rough, especially hitting rejection after rejection, I've found myself losing focus and lacking making time to practice and keep my skills up. Was fully convinced that getting ANYTHING to get me out of my cave would help bring it back but...it's just eating up more time and energy. Life. Either way, thank you for this inspirational post.


I hope that these tips will help you gain your drive and focus back. Sometimes you just need to take baby steps and start by coding 5-10 min a day and slowly increase it from there as you see fit for how much free time you have. Even if it is only a tiny fraction of your day, you are still making progress. Stay positive. I have another post where I discuss how/why I feel overwhelmed dealing with searching for a job alongside my anxiety/depression. You can check that out here. I wish you the best of luck looking for a dev role.


Thank you. I should probably consider trying to stick to smaller amounts like that to build a better habit first. I tend to go all in and get really in to something, spending 3-4 hours a day for a good week or so on it, then everything just dies off again for a while until I find something else that's exciting or I want to learn how to do. Terrible practice to be honest! I'll definitely check out the other post as well. Thanks again!


I agree with your points, I got my first dev job before I even went to university.my the first job was as a trainee, but during in my time there, I was able to learn some much about what companies look for in developers and software engineers. I had very little to no real word experience with software development at the time, most of the code I had written had been for high school or purely to learn about a language, not production ready stuff.
But in my interview, I was able to show my willingness to learn and work to gain the skills needed. I did leave the job to earn a degree, so now at university, I spend my free time playing with and writing code. I am even making a personal website, still needs a lot of work though.


Thank you so much for sharing. Your personal site looks great so far. Good luck on finishing it, as well as university.


I have over three years of experience across all languages as a hobby, and I would still consider myself a junior. Just wanted to leave that there. There's never a point where you know everything you need to answer most questions.


All extremely good points Victoria. A new job search can be so difficult and frustrating sometimes. Protecting your mental health I think is the one that people tend to dismiss. Which is probably the most crucial one because if you are mentally drained its going to show in your work, and you interviews. Thanks for this post its GREAT!


My very first job that I got right out of school was a senior job. I had to learn a lot and fast but I worked there for 2 years.
In places where the worker shortage is greater, you can get jobs where you don't meet the requirements but the company is ready to teach you.

Great article !


Thank you so much for these tips! I'm about to start considering applying for roles and have definitely been put off by the requirements. The 3+ years of experience for junior dev roles is everywhere (and actually in many other industries too), and it's incredibly demotivating. But it's good to see so many people saying you should just apply anyway - and that you've experienced companies giving you the chance to take on internship roles!


Great sharing, I'm currently looking for my first internship.

It's hard to keep being motivated when you apply for multiple jobs but no response. Plus if you know some of your friends have secured a placement for internship.

But what can I say is be patient, your time will come. I'm still in the process so thank you for this.


Thank you for this. I'm hoping I'll be at a similar point next Autumn/Fall. But I'm currently looking for something non-coding at the minute. It's good to hear how similar the experience is.


Thank you for this! As someone who's looking for internships, this was very helpful, especially keeping track of all the positions you've applied to


You're very welcome! One thing I did forget to mention is that I often even copy and paste the job descriptions into local files on my computer, that way if the link doesn't work after a while, I can still refer back to it.


Thanks for the great post! This would be an awesome fit for the #firstyearincode tag, if you'd like to add it.


Thanks for sharing your experiences and tips! This definitely hits home for me.


I haven't started mine yet but I should remind me by reading this again once I start it. Thank you so much for useful tips.


Thank You For Pointing those things out
even though i'm still studying
but your post helped alot konwing the struggle of being a junior DEV


Thanks for this, as someone looking for a job,it's great to know that I'm not alone in the struggle, and that, like you, I can succeed someday.
I'll be sure to follow those tips!


Good luck on your job search!! I'm so happy that I was able to help you feel less alone.

  1. I’m so sorry you have had to deal with so many hardships while looking for a job. This is definitely a safe place to express those difficulties, as a lot of us have been in similar situations. Maybe next time we just use a little less vulgarity (foul language)?

  2. I used the term “young devs” to refer to the level of experience, not actual age. I’m 26 years old and would be entering my 6th year in my old profession if I had chosen to stay with it. I consider myself a “young dev” because I’m a year into coding and looking for my first position. This post was intended to be advice for ALL other devs who are looking to break into their first role. It was not to discriminate against age in any way.

  3. I used the tag #womenintech because I am a female in tech. I am a woman in tech expressing my personal experiences, I have the right to use the tag. I also wanted to reach other females as well who are in my position. It wasn’t to exclude men, as I also used other hashtags that do not favor any gender at all. I also never specifically mention any gender in my post. I do apologize though if I offended you by using that hashtag.

  4. I wish you the best of luck looking for a job. It sounds like you are pretty amazing by just the fact that you’ve gotten so many interviews with the big tech companies. Don’t give up. Something will come your way and it’ll be great.


I am kind of embarrassed at how "unchained" my reply to your post was, please forgive me but somehow it touched on something in me. Thank you for your reply as well, your words mean more than I can express here.

Though, on a more light-hearted note, I may consider using #menintech sarcastically online now to further the discussion XD I've always wanted more #womenintech, if only to finally have a fellow nerd to chat with stuff I care about with

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