Are you considering starting your career as a developer? Are you looking to break into the field but not sure where or how to start? Both entry-level and junior positions fall under the status of “having less than two years of work experience” in the field. However, the difference lies in the training required.
Entry-level positions require more explicit instructions, everything needs to be checked and there usually is no analysis responsibility. A junior requires less explicit instruction and checking with minor design and analysis responsibilities. As a junior, it can be challenging to land your first job and get that experience on our CV, however it’s not impossible.
We have compiled a list of essential tips to guide you in what you may need to land the job.
1. Build a Portfolio Site
A portfolio of your work will be one of the first requests a hiring manager will have when considering you for a junior developer position. Your website should reflect your skills, creativity and personal brand. Making it stand out from the rest will be your golden ticket, therefore make sure your coding is correct, operational and impressive. Your site can include any projects you did for companies or clients that you are proud of as well as showcase an array of designs indicative of your skill level and brand.
2. Find Freelance Projects
If you have the motivation to build a portfolio site, but you don’t have enough projects to showcase, seek out freelance opportunities. This will help you establish yourself as a growing developer, and give you the opportunity to gain experience for a full-time entry level position, while supporting your bank account on the side. Freelance projects can be small or big, for example – re-doing the navigation for a website, creating an HTML newsletter or simply upgrading a website’s design features. If no one bites, offer pro bono services to get going and start bulking up your portfolio. Doing so will definitely boost your CV.
3. Participate in Hackathons
Hackathons have become regular events in every developer’s day timer. They are a fun and exciting way to meet new people who share your passions and interests while finding solutions to real life challenges. Not to mention, this is a great channel to learn from others, test and improve your coding skills and even stand a chance to win prizes. Hackathons exhibit your strength in teamwork environments and passion for the field. It’s that extra step that will make you standout.
4. Network with Other Web Developers
Hackathons are not the only place you can meet people. Attending networking events, MeetUps or conferences that discuss web development are a perfect source to speak to potential employers, contacts, companies who match your intentions. There are countless meetups for developers in almost every city, you can even set one up yourself! Networking does not only have to be face-to-face, find tech communities online and join the conversations. The next person you meet may lead you to your dream job, just where you want to be.
5. Keep up to date with the industry
The world of web development and tech is constantly evolving, it is in your interest and responsibility to keep up to date. Showing potential employers that you are in the loop with the latest tech news or developments, shows your genuine interest in the field and can be a helpful asset to set you apart from the rest. You can find industry news on news forums, LinkedIn, tech websites, community pages and more.
6. Put Your Code on GitHub
As a developer, you should be well acquainted with GitHub, an industry-standard for version control. Many companies want you to have hands-on experience with the site before continuing the hiring process. Create your own Github account and use it as a repository for your projects to showcase your understanding and skills of the site. Make regular contributions so potential employers know that you’re constantly improving your coding skills and that you have the ability to easily integrate into their coding team.
7. Get involved in an Open Source Project
8. Learn New, Relevant Skills
9. Refine Your Resume
Sometimes, a portfolio is not quite enough. Potential employers will require you to submit a CV alongside. Your CV must be as polished as your portfolio as it is a platform to reflect your core skills, employment history and tech-related experience, strengths and achievements. It’s important that your CV is clean, easy to read, professional and up-to-date so that potential employers instantly pick up on your capabilities and potential.
10. Start Your Job Hunt
Now that you feel you are armed with all the relevant skills, experience and an impressive portfolio to show-off – how do you start your job search? Web development is an extremely broad field, and there are so many various avenues you can pursue. You need to consider where your interests lie and what you’re looking for so as to streamline your search and avoid getting overwhelmed by the task.
The first step in doing this is tailoring what your existing skills are and what your goals are; at the same thinking about (not limited to) the type of company, industry, technology and teams you would like to join. This isn’t an invitation to be picky, but visualizing where you would like to see yourself is a helpful tool in your job search. There are many websites where you can start your search as LinkedIn, Facebook, Glassdoor, Indeed, Github, and more. Remember, you can also use your contacts, speak to friends in the companies you want to work in, and don’t forget about those you met at networking events that may be able to help.
It can be daunting taking the first steps into entering a new career path, but with determination, practice and constant improvements, you will become a strong candidate in the eyes of potential and future employers.
If you are interested in becoming a Web Developer check out our Web Development course (you’ll learn the essential skills employers need).