I was filled with both dread and excitement. Dread because I knew
looking for a new job would be difficult and excitement for what the
future would hold. I applied to over 100 jobs before I landed my current
gig. Some of these were through connections but most were through job
Here is what I learned while I was on the job hunt:
- Nobody wants a Jr Django/Python Developer. If you are not a senior or mid-level developer don’t even bother applying.
- Jr Developer positions are few and far between. If you are lucky to find one, so have a few hundred other Jr Developers (competition is fierce ).
- ( Utah residents listen up! ) Utah County has a lot of web developer positions. 🙂 However the pay is extremely low. Like $12/hr low( yes I have actually seen this at a few companies) especially for those who are inexperienced. What a travesty eh? Well not really. You see this works out great for college students ( UVU and BYU … ever heard of these schools? ) because they actually get to work in their field while going to school and they don’t necessarily have families or mortgages to worry about. So it is a win win for the company and the college student. However I’m not a college student. I’m a 30 year old trying to make a career change.
- Despite what some people will tell you it’s pretty much an industry standard to keep your resume to one page. If you are a grad from a bootcamp and you have no actual coding experience then it should absolutely be one page. No one cares how awesome you were in your past life prior to coding. Let that shine in the interview 😉
- Going to meetups/user groups, networking, and having friends in the industry will definitely open doors for you. However in order to walk through those doors you still need to know how to code. Most companies aren’t hiring for potential. They are hiring for talent.
- It is critical to know general programming concepts. For example, you need to know what an object is, what data structures are, and how to work with arrays. You don’t need to know this just to be impressive in an interview. You need to know this in order to be a productive member of your new team. This how real life developers/programmers communicate. They speak Computer Science. (This wasn’t one of the many things I learned duringthe job hunt. It was more of an on the job kind of a’ha! moment. However due to recent conversations with new bootcamp grads, I think this is very important to realize during the job hunt).
- Apply for those jobs you know you are qualified for or that you really really really want. A statistic from a Hewlett Packard internal report says, “Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.” To my fellow females out there if you meet at least 60% of the qualifications then definitely apply for that position. Some advice out on the interwebs will say to apply to any and every tech job you see. You will hear things like, ‘Companies don’t know what they want, apply anyways’ . This may be true. However we do know what they want. They want talent not potential. Don’t do it. Just don’t. It’s a waste of time for you that can end up being demoralizing in the long run.
- Don’t be picky. Just because you learned a certain language or framework doesn’t mean you should restrict yourself to those positions. Despite what other developers are saying nothing is wrong with PHP and WordPress. It’s very popular and a lot of businesses use it. So consider it to be a very advantageous language and framework to learn.
- Money isn’t everything. Sorry to break this to you but you are probably not going to land a job that pays 100k or even 70k for that matter. Nor should you consider taking a job that will pay you that much in the first place. Why? Let’s see, if a company is dumb enough to blow 70k on an inexperienced developer what does that say about the longevity of the company or your career? To me it says you can plan on being let go. The company won’t be able to afford it in the long run. I’ve seen it happen. So if you are serious about your craft and truly want to become the best, consider mentorship over money.
- Don’t lie on your resume or embellish in your interview. Just don’t do it. You will be found out and you will be let go. In some industries embellishing your abilities is ok. ( Whatever gets you the job right?) However the tech field is not one of those industries.