Data from 95 Job Applications (Entry Level)

Hey everyone,

Over the last two months I have been applying to jobs, current count is 95 applications. I thought it is a good moment to pause and reflect. For the moment, here is a sankeygraph showing the applications I did over time, what type of applications they were, and the result. I may do some more thorough digging through the data soon, not sure yet.

You can look over my portfolio at to get an idea of my background. All the jobs I applied for requested 3 years of experience or less and ranged from a part time job at 24k/yr to 120k year at a wide variety of companies. I found jobs on Stack Overflow Jobs, Angellist, various job boards such as weworkremotely, and searching through the website of countless organizations and institutions I am myself familiar with.

The two coding challenges I received dealt with knowledge outside of my own scope. One dealt with a custom binary encoding (a take home that requested no communication with other developers), another had trivia about programming languages which I don’t have experience in (such as what does a particular method in Java do).

The additional test was one of indeeds behavioral/error finding tests, though I only completed that today.

Any questions or comments are welcome.


This is great and very insightful .
From your analysis, what was the singular most reoccurring requirement of companies ?
and how many work from home offers did you get?
thanks again for this analysis. It means a lot to a newbie hoping to break into the job market.
I wish you good luck as you continue your search

Looks like there are a couple points to point out right here:

  1. Maybe you’re not applying for the right job. Because there’s a lot of people who just want you to do what they want you to do, a.k.a engineer job. So in that type you don’t have to brainstorm, think ,design or solve problems.
  2. I think probably a lot of companies are looking for more than just that I listed above, which requires a bit of problem solving mindset. This is both easy, and not so easy. The easy part is that this is universal and not language dependent, so once you hone it, you can use it anywhere. The not so nice part is you might have to start over with algorithms, which might not be of your interest. It takes time to digest logic and algos too.

Nevertheless I hope you find it better on your job hunting. I have less deep knowledge than you in specific fields I believe, so I am also actively looking for a job where people can make most out of me and also earn me a living, for the time being.

You know, list of requirements would have been a great datapoint to collect! Unfortunately I did not. I will definitely start collecting a list of hard requirements and preferred requirements listed going forward.

The majority of these applications are for remote jobs. I live in a small city of around 20k-30k people. There are plenty of factory jobs, but I have been looking under every rock (online) and havn’t found a single listing for a javascript developer here, but I would prefer to work around here and get to know people in the area. I applied around the state, see the category “Home State”, those jobs were around 1-4 hours drive away, the further ones I was hoping would be willing to work with me remotely due to the virus.

To clarify, none of the jobs have offered me a job yet. Although just this morning, the last job I applied to did reach out and request an interview.

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Hi, thanks for your comments. Here is my response to your points.

  1. I have applied to most all entry level jobs with the following filter:
  • It lists a central technology I know; Nodejs, Javascript, ES6+, HTML, CSS, Electron
  • I feel confident I can do the job, and learn the tools quickly as far as I can tell from the description. So I didn’t apply to anything requiring like C or C++. Though I am studying Rust and really enjoying it.
  • Doesn’t ask for more than 3 years of experience.
  • If they speak too strongly about a Bachelors degree or require a higher degree I skip it. (if it is just listed I plainly I apply)
  1. I couldn’t say for sure why so few are replying. I have adjusted a few things along the way, but I imagine an very large number of people are applying for these jobs.

However, I do not plan to go back and study directly for job preparation. At this point I feel confident I can learn in practice any technology, and there are too many useful things to build. For example, in the app stores, there are a ton of basic programs that don’t have a free app, that is well made and ad-free. Despite how simple the business logic is and low maintenance the software would be. I would be much happier addressing this problem with my time than studying for quizzes. On the job there will be time to study the specific mathematical or logic solutions that are needed.

If I am not able to get a job within the near future I’d like to work on building useful software. I think it’s more meaningful job preparation and better use of my own time.

Thanks for the well wishes. I’m also sure you will find success as you make effort, its a good use of your capabilities.

“…make ye a mighty effort, and choose for yourselves a noble goal.”

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From my own point of view, the Coding space is deeply tied and correlated to Economic expansion and growth (basic websites are required by new customers aka companies that just started ), with current Pandemic, where the Economy is in Recession, it almost seems suicidal to open a new company, and the current companies seems to be cutting budgets that they percieve as superfluous, mainly Advertisements and Marketing expenses (which are other two branches deeply tied with Coding) . I wish you the best of the Lucks out there, while I percieve the Coding market being fiercly competed right now, I feel that the Cloud Administrator/Architect is the only Tech role that it is being favoured by current remote working / Home offices practicing in the whole World, maybe it would be a good idea to consider an eventual switch to another IT related role?

Thanks for the well wishes. You will, I am sure, make progress as you have been striving.

I couldn’t say for sure. I feel confident in the usefulness of the skills I have been learning, because they solve my own problems, at my current part time job, and in my personal life. That makes me not as concerned with whether I should focus on this or that.

Now, certainly the needs of an organization that would be in the position to hire me may be different from my own, but underneath will be those fundamental capabilities that are developed in action, study, and reflection. Working well with others, applying knowledge and experience to a situation to create the appropriate solution, listening and looking and many more.

Iterations of identifying problems and searching for relevant tools and solving them lead to a natural expansion of knowledge, practical experience, vision and understanding. This has been at the heart of any meaningful progress I have made as a software engineer as of yet.

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