Build more portfolio projects or do unpaid internships/volunteer work?

Hi devs!

I have been learning code since late 2017, but wasn’t really able to give it my all. Due to this pandemic, I was able to focus and finally started building some full stack applications. I know I’m not past beyond the beginner stage, but I feel like I would learn more if I was in a more real-work environment - where I would collab with other devs, and discuss problems with them.

These past months, I have watched YT videos from people like Joshua Fluke, to get advice on applying for web development jobs. They would always say “apply to everything, even those that aren’t JR level” or “apply to everything even if you don’t know their tech stack, but emphasize you’re willing to learn”. So, I did. Last month, for 2 weeks (?), I applied to like 40 jobs, and got an interview with one, but unfortunately, they were looking for a PHP developer (I’m a MERN developer, btw). I tried to tell the Interviewer that I’m willing to learn PHP, but she didn’t care at all. Then, I concluded something might be wrong with either my skills or resume.

So, I spent the next days trying to tinker my portfolio and resume. I have removed my “Work Experience” section, as I only have 1 year worth of freelancing as a Research writer, and it’s totally unrelated to web dev. Now my resume look like this (I have one with two-columns, but ATS don’t really recognize the format):

So, I have like 6 full stack projects (including my portfolio site, and I think they really are pretty functional), and two projects with just frontend stuff. Here’s my portfolio, btw: , I might get some good advices too.

I’m not really sure where to go from here. Right now, I’m trying my luck on unpaid internships, and volunteering for non-profit organizations, just for the sake of gaining “work experience” (But it’s pretty tough too, most are looking for experienced developers). I am also thinking of building another full-stack e-commerce application to further showcase my skills (this one’s gonna take time, and I’m not sure if it’s worth it, at this point, considering with what I already have and my goals).

So to sum it up, I want to build another fullstack application, but I’m afraid I’ll just get stuck on this cycle. Should I just keep trying my luck on internships or volunteering to gain experience? And if so, could you give any tips on how I should go about finding them online? (There’s pretty much little-to-nothing at my city).

It’s quite a mess, but I hope you could help me out a little bit. Thank you!

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Hey @cyrilcabo!

I know that Josh talks a lot about this on his channel but in my personal opinion you should apply within reason. For example, if there is a job out there where you have a lot of the qualifications but maybe there are a couple of libraries or frameworks that you haven’t worked with they might take a chance on you if you are really strong overall. But when it comes to a job like a PHP developer and you have never written a line of code in PHP in your life then the chances of you getting that job are pretty slim.

I am a beginner as well but I can’t imagine a company waiting for you to learn PHP before you could even start the job when they could just hire someone else. It would be different if you were already working at that company and they asked you to learn a new language.

There is a lot of competition for entry level jobs so it is not uncommon for it to take a while until you get that first job. I would also imagine that things are especially weird during covid times.

I think you just need to be patient and keep applying.

Hope that helps!

Happy coding!

Yes, though I enjoy most of his videos, I take Joshua’s advice with a grain of salt. And I would never apply for a PHP developer position again, I looked like a fool in front of the interviewer (Though, in my defense, in their job posting, they only mentioned “Web Developer”). Anyway, thank you for your insight! Maybe I’ll just keep on networking and applying for jobs.

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Also if you want more people to review your resume and portfolio you could try creating a new post to look something like this.

Topic title: Am I job ready? Please look at resume and portfolio

Hey there!

I am currently applying for full stack jobs but haven’t had much luck. I want to know if my resume and portfolio are job ready.

Here is a link to my resume (link)
Here is a link to my portfolio (link)


You could try that approach and see if more people will respond to your post and give you feed back on your work.

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or you could change the title of this thread

Hey kabayan. You should check OLX.PH / Carousel you can post or get some gigs on that site or you can offer it for free just for experience. And you should stop watching Joshua Fluke LOL sometimes he sound so bitter and toxic. I was a big fan of him but I am getting tired/annoyed watching him whine or complain about things.

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I just checked OLX.PH, I thought it was gone for good. But, I think I will give it a try. I’m in desperate need for experience. Thanks for the recommendation!

By any chance, have you tried offering your services there? How was it?