33 yo, no professional experience in Web Development, no luck w/ applying for jobs

So I’ve posted before about my struggle in landing my first Web Dev job (no patient to rehash it all here, but my post history has the details and there are no more than a few posts so far).

Advice that I see here on FCC forum and elsewhere say conflicting things. On the one hand I should just apply anyway, even when a particular job is “senior” level and has a smorgasbord of requirements listed. But this invariably just gets me rejections.

I hear that I shouldn’t lie, and just be humble: To just tell prospective employers “yeah, I have no actual experience in this field, but have been studying it a lot and have skills to show and am willing to learn blah blah blah”. But this doesn’t work.

I’ve put “Web Developer: December 2018 - present” (or other starting dates), just so that I’m not dismissed out-of-hand, but then when I do get the rare response from recruiters, they ask specific questions, and I end up waffling when trying to substantiate questions about my job “experience”, and they tell me sorry the client employer wants this expert level of (fill in the blank- Angular, Node, whatever), and that I’m not qualified. So, just now I took that “job” off my past employment on my LinkedIn profile (just look up my name if you’re wanting to see it).

I’m currently taking the FCC curriculum but I can’t wait till I’m absolutely done with it over a year from now if I’m lucky. I know I’m skilled enough to at least get an entry-level web dev job, but I’m just going to continue to get dismissed out-of-hand by anywhere I apply to.

My website is just my CodePen, randykomforty.info. A lot of it’s rough around the edges but it’s stuff I made myself from scratch, stuff I’m proud of, stuff that’s interesting, stuff that shows an above-mediocre skill level wrt my coding ability. It’s not much but it’s all I’ve got, and I can’t expect it to be dazzling and perfect prior to getting my -FIRST- web dev job. That’s absolutely ridiculous.

I’m not expecting to get a job from complaining about it either. I want to get a job based on my own merits.

I know no one owes me a job and I’m saying this up front to dismiss any inevitable “no one owes you a job” reply here (just in case).


Your website “randykomforty.info” is just a redirect to your CodePen? I’d say that’s one thing you should change asap—create a website on that domain, instead of having it redirect to your CodePen.

It’s hard to provide specific advice without also seeing your resume, but I’m going to assume that you have work experience in another area?

Regardless, a brief scan of your CodePen doesn’t do a whole lot of favors for you—most of the people who use CodePen regularly are extremely talented at creating amazing effects, animations, and other visual stuff. CodePen is really more of a visual showcase for creative & artistic front-end devs than anything else—if you haven’t yet, you should hit CodePen’s main page to see the kind of stuff that most people are creating on there. Your pens really don’t seem to be the kind of thing that belongs on CodePen, as most of them could stand to benefit from some design improvement and aren’t very visual in nature either—CodePen is really more of a “whizbang visual/ graphics” repository than anything else.

If you’re applying for front-end developer positions, I’d recommend moving all of your stuff currently on CodePen to a more appropriate platform like either GitHub Pages or surge.sh. If you have any full-stack projects, put them on Heroku or Netlify. If you don’t already have a GitHub and LinkedIn profile, create those and fill them out.

Finally I’d say a key project to complete is a visually-amazing website or web app—i.e., something with a design & UI that will impress the average person. Way more people care about design & UI than your code (particularly companies and recruiters), which is why you have to focus on that. Ideally make a few of these websites/web apps. You can “create” your own work experience by offering to re-design the website that someone else might have. For your first website, this might have to be for free, but no one will have to know that—as long as you’re creating websites that look good and gaining experience, that could be what gets you in the door somewhere.

But you definitely have to get off CodePen—your work on there isn’t doing you any favors and belongs elsewhere. Plus if you’re a serious job applicant, most companies/recruiters expect to see both a LinkedIn and GitHub link, neither of which you’ve provided.


You’ve learned a lot and have a grasp of JavaScript. That’s good.

However, I don’t think developing on Codepen is going to give you enough experience, but maybe you’ll get lucky. You need Github, git, and to develop something locally. No job is going to work out of Codepen, and the way Codepen sets things up misses a lot of the big picture.

I would recommend downloading a text editor, remaking one of your projects locally, pushing it to Github as you work, and then deploy it to Github pages.

I don’t think you are ready. But you have done well establishing a base of JavaScript.

Hmmm… that doesn’t sound right. You could go apply for a junior web developer job even if you don’t meet all the listed criteria and give it a shot. But “senior” level is a whole lot of different animal. Nope, you won’t get that “senior” job. Junior Dev? Better chances. Internship? Better chances.

Look, it’s a numbers game. Say the hit rate is 1% (or maybe even less), you’d need to apply to lots of job just to hit that 1% number. Some people found a job after applying to 300 or more. But you just need (1) yes… just one YES.

Okay, here’s the bad news… there is never being “DONE” with learning web development. This is a field where the finish line is constantly moving. There is no DONE. You learn everyday. Been doing this profesionally for close to 2 decades now and I’m not DONE learning.

Sorry, it’s not ridiculous and this will not impress employers. It doesn’t even demonstrate you can deploy a website on it’s own domain. And your portfolio is a codepen site? Bite the bullet, register your own domain name for $10, and host it somewhere (free hosting for static sites). Move your code to Github.com and that’s where you show your code.

Continually update and improve your projects. You gotta come close to perfect and dazzling! You’re trying to impress employers! Lots of details to learn even here… colors, font, design.

Tell you what, if you can demonstrate great graphics design, have that eye for design, plus some coding chops… that will be very attractive to employers, esp. web agencies. vs. someone that’s just a coder.

Also, please note, I don’t mean to say, explicitly, “you are not ready.” I mean moreso, “from what you’ve given me to look at, you may not be ready, or you may be ready.” And that “may not” is probably what recruiters/hr are seeing as well.

Consider that the jobs you’re finding. I assume they’re just Indeed/job board jobs which probably get 100+ applicants and not direct references from people familiar with your work/abilities. I apply to that job with a self-hosted portfolio, mock-ups of websites I’ve made which are also self-hosted or at least heroku/github pages/etc. My projects are the exact same as yours, but I’ve got a Github full of push/pull history, and everything has been deployed to a website, not just a coding sandbox. As well, my portfolio has its own landing page where I can reiterate my story (not available on your codepen) and describe my projects (not available on codepen).

Who would you choose between these two hypothetical candidates with exact same projects?

Github isn’t tough to work with, but maybe a bit intimidating at first (this career path always will have new things to learn, so you’re constantly trying something that you’re just like, “Man, maybe I’ll learn that later…you know…when I’m ‘ready’”). Find a good tutorial on medium or Youtube video. You can handle it. Same with github pages.