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How I land my first software engineer job as a self-taught developer ?

tris909 profile image Tran Minh Tri Updated on ・6 min read

After 1 year and 2 months, I have landed my first job as a developer by just sitting at home and learning how to code on my own.

Hi everyone, I am Tri Tran - a self-taught developer. Today I will share how I did it, some tips to help you land your first job as a FullStack developer without a degree or any relevant experience.

Background Story :

So back then, I am 19 years old. I moved to Australia in 2019 and lived in a small town called Bowen where there are no dev jobs / no University and Colleges. Basically no nothing.

Cause my temporary visa only allows me to work and study but doesn't allow me to get a loan for university or college and I am 19 years old. It pushes me into a situation where I can't do anything and the only job I can do is McDonald's for a living and I did.

At this point in my life, I feel really messed up. Everything is wrong and I have this hopeless feeling where I don't know what to do or even how to do it. That moment when you realize there little to nothing you can do to change your life, you realize to achieve what normal people here in Australia achieve like going to university and get a degree to get a basic job. It will cost you 5-6 years and possibly a 70-80k in-depth tuition fee.

I see myself in the worst state of my life :

  • Being broke ( I can't even have money to re-locate even if I land the developer job ). Now you may blame me for not going to work but Bowen is so small that the only place that you can apply for is McDonald's (Literally) and I did go to work there but they don't even allow you to work full-time even if I want to simply because they need a person to fill in the gap.
  • No background or a degree: I can't afford it in any way. Trying to teach yourself at home and compete with people who have a degree and maybe commercial experience is harder than anything else.
  • No Industry Experience.
  • Living in a rural area where there are no dev jobs. There are many jobs that required you to go to the office. If you live outside of the city where the office is based, you won't even be considered at all.
  • Doing all of this stuff in the second language.

Depress

Now all of these are crazy hard for me to getting the job but I haven't talked about my personal problems in life.

Believe me, I don't want to tell you how bad the situation is just to turn myself to become a hero of some kind. I am depressed and I have people who are ready to blame me for that. What I am trying to highlight here is that I believe you too can become a Software Developer if you are not in a situation as bad as me.

So at this point, I decided to step up my game and this is where the journey starts.

I studied like crazy. Doing everything I could to get ahead of myself. Failed hundred of times.

After 400+ applications, 10+ interviews, and endless hours of learning how to code. I have landed the job as a FullStack Developer and set myself to the first step of success in life.

The interview was nearly 3 hours. I have 2 separated ZOOM interviews with the Head of Engineering of the company and Lead Developer and everything went well. Originally, the CEO is looking for someone who has mid-senior experience. But after the interview, they like me so much that open a junior job exclusively for me and it turns out to be the happiest day of my life.

Happy

My advice to help you land your first job as a developer

So I will share with everybody things that will definitely help you on your journey regardless of your situation :

Being disciplined:

You have to put down at least 7-8 hours EVERY SINGLE DAY. Now a lot of people may have a degree, they may have a network to help them land their first job but a lot of folks out there have nothing and it's okay. This is why you need that time to work on yourself to separate yourself from anyone else.

Knowing what you need to know and find a good resource:

Before deciding on what to learn. Looking into what jobs you want to apply for and take note that what skills keep popping up all the time. Then go to Udemy just buy the best course related to that skills and start studying. That is as simple as that. You don't need to follow any road map whatsoever don't confuse yourself when you first starting out because these days we just have too many technologies.

Applying for jobs in the early state:

Job hunting is tired and even worse for someone who trying to land their first job as a developer. Originally, If you are someone who is kinda normal right? no degree - no exp - no nothing. You want to put yourself out there as soon as possible. You may fail and that is okay, that is where you learn from and know where you need to improve. You may never know what you may achieve if you never do it.

Understand the market and know your situation :

This sounds harsh but hears me out. I see a lot of people are rushing way too fast. They are spending a lot so they are in debt of college or university. They even pay more for Bootcamp and then feel desperate when they don't see the result after 3-6 months. In reality, that should be how it is. People coming from all backgrounds and there are people with many privileges: people can go to university their family pays for it, people live in the biggest city where all the jobs around, people have been coding since they are 14 and there are so many more. Don't compare yourself to others, compare yourself to you yesterday. Give yourself time to fail and learn.

The current job market is SATURATED with junior developer like you and me. Literally, I have the ZOOM interview with one of the companies I have applied for, and one day I open my Gmail to see that job has more than 100 applications for a single platform. And you will see this job on so many platforms. So there will be a few hundred people for a single job and this is real. So even if you fail, you should know that it is okay and usually that is should how it is.

Having skills but also make yourself stand out:

If you don't have a Github account full of contributions.
If you don't have a beautiful portfolio.
If you don't have a resume that has all the skills listed in the job requirements.
If you don't build a personal project that unique and big and aligned with the company tech stacks.

Most likely you will fail and never get a callback even if you have a degree. This field is competitive as hell and Coding Bootcamps are rising like fungus. To be able to make yourself stands out as a junior developer. Knowing the skills is not enough. You have to have all the things above.

Never Give Up.

This is the most important thing. You will fail hard, you will want to give up on coding. It will happen. The thing is how quickly can you come back to the game.

  • People around you don't believe in you?
    It's okay. You can believe in yourself.

  • Your situation is dire?
    It's okay. Work harder.

No matters what you are doing just don't give up. Eventually, you will be able to do it. It is the mindset that helps you grow. Knowing that it's okay as long as you try and believe in yourself.

My Portfolio and Resume that helps me to land my job :

Enough for advice, I know you guys need to see a real resume and real portfolio that helps me land my first job. That would be so much better than just words. So here it is :

This is my portfolio link : Tri Tran

This is my resume :
MyResume

Alright guys, Thank you for reading. I just want to write my first blog and share my story on how I land my first job. Also give out some advice for someone who is trying to land one. That's it.

--Peace--

Discussion (4)

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aviiwithu profile image
Avinash Kr

Thanks for motivating me, I find myself in a better situation than you were.
I am going through your projects and I hope they will answer many questions I have related to react.

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tris909 profile image
Tran Minh Tri Author

If you want to become React developer I recommend you to study React really hard. I have been involved in the codebase for 2 days built by React and I have to say. Company Codebase is way more complicated than React application built on Udemy :(

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tonydanza00 profile image
Tony Edgal

Interesting piece, goodluck on your job, I'm teaching myself programming, and you're right, code bootcamps are spreading like wide fire everywhere, thanks for the advice.

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tris909 profile image
Tran Minh Tri Author

Good luck to you too. Don't give up and Keep applying for 4-5 jobs every day. Try to land the job and then get paid while you are learning and working at the same time. That's the way to go.

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