Entry level dev jobs in London, UK?

Hi guys!

I would appreciate if anyone from London, UK could give me some advice on the following.

I’m a 26 years old female living in London, currently looking for my first job in web development. I’m completely self-taught. I’ve been learning to code since January (most of this time full time). My current list of technologies includes HTML/CSS, JavaScript, React JS, PHP and MySQL. I do have a portfolio (with live demos and code), projects on GitHub, up to date cv, cover letter and what not…

There are tons of jobs being advertised, some of them claiming they are for the entry level/graduate positions. However, once I send my cv/portfolio I get through to a recruiter who only seems to care about one question only: Have you got any commercial experience in this role? As I say “no, but I have…” they don’t even want to hear what else I have to say. Needless to say I never hear anything back.

I did receive quite a few phone calls from recruiters and it always goes according to the same scenario: they are interested, they compliment my portfolio, but as they hear “no working experience” they are gone. Right now my cv/portfolio doesn’t even make it past recruiters stage as they simply wouldn’t send it to any potential employer. How to exit this vicious circle?

I would love to hear from anyone in London who recently went through the same process of finding their first dev job (without a CS degree/Bootcamp and/or relevant work experience).

  • Has anyone actually found a job through Indeed/Reed/CV Library/Glassdoor etc?
  • How long did it take you to hear back/secure an interview?
  • If found through recruiters, maybe someone can suggest a particular recruitment agency?

Even better, maybe someone knows a website/resource where companies post job openings directly? (I just couldn’t find anything relevant in London…) So far even LinkedIn seems to be spammed by yet another recruitment agency.

Any advice would be appreciated,

Thank you!!


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Hi Kate,

I’m based in Gloucestershire now, but hopefully I can help you out. A bit about my background: I did a History degree, worked in Universities in London for over a decade, had two children and decided to switch careers. I was a stay-at-home mum and started coding part time at the end of 2017. I did self paced courses with no bootcamp or STEM background. I completed the first three FCC certifications (upto the algorithms) and started freelancing part time towards the end of 2018. I wrote an article about this: https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/how-i-went-from-stay-at-home-mum-to-front-end-web-developer-39724046692a/

I started applying for jobs a few weeks ago and got my first job offer this week for a Javascript Front End Developer role. I got this job through Reed and via a recruitment agency. The response was very fast. However, I’ve bypassed the agencies and I’ve applied directly to companies. I’m onto the final stage of the interview process with another company for a Front End Dev role.

I don’t have the magic recipe for getting a job but hopefully some of the following advice will help you on your journey.

  1. Firstly, you’re doing all the right things: portfolio, cv, side projects, GitHub etc. Keep on working on that.
  2. How did you get my “commercial experience”? You don’t need to work for a company to get commercial experience. Start freelancing and offering your services now. I get many questions on how I land clients. My first client was my sister in law. She just started a new nail salon business, so I pitched to her that I can build her website. Offered a pay-what-you-want-model since she was about to be my first client. From her point her view, she had nothing to lose and I got to work on an actual commercial website. It was a simple static brochure site using HTML/CSS/JS. I would suggest taking something simple to start off with. From there I approached local businesses and the feedback I got was they wanted site which they could easily update. So I did research and found that WordPress was perfect for this. So I created a WordPress portfolio. I also have a personal portfolio to showcase side projects. I freelanced as a WordPress Dev whilst continuing my FCC studies. Utilise your contacts, put yourself out there. When I started applying for jobs, the recruiters saw my freelancing experience as “commercial experience” so I overcame that boundary and they put me forward for jobs.
  3. Go to conferences and meetups. It’s great to network. I haven’t managed to do meetups (would love to) but with my children this tends to be difficult. But I’ve managed to go to a few conferences. I would suggest the Women of Silicon roundabout conference. They had loads of companies looking to recruit and you can speak to someone directly. Bypass the recruitment agencies and actually talk to the tech companies recruiting.
  4. Have a good online presence. The Director who offered me the job said that one thing he was impressed by was my positive online presence. I write articles where I can. I write on my own blog, FCC News and dev.to. Document your journey.
  5. If you can, do the #100DaysOfCode challenge on Twitter. I have “met” so many motivated aspiring developers on Twitter. I get to see how others are progressing in their journeys and share advice. Also more experienced developers often comment and offer advice, which is fantastic from a learning perspective. Follow other devs from a range of backgrounds.
  6. This is advice I got my husband who’s in the tech industry. A lot of companies don’t advertise their junior developer roles. This is a useful article: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/now-hiring-how-to-find-companies-that-are-hiring-2060660. They are usually inundated with prospective candidates so approach the companies yourself. This might not yield immediate results, but they’ll have your details on file and touch base with them every now and again. I read this article which has some very good tips: https://blog.usejournal.com/how-i-got-7-job-offers-in-8-weeks-part-1-please-interview-me-21e6f4ded106
  7. A good tip that I got about my CV was changing it from a two page to one page CV. List your technical skills and dev projects you worked on first. If recruiters are really interested, they’ll go to your LinkedIn profile for more details.
  8. Go to recruitment fairs for tech jobs. There’s a good one happening in London in November, apply for a place: https://www.siliconmilkroundabout.com/?utm_source=mailc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nov19_appn_appnow3&utm_content=smr
  9. Finally and probably the most important: don’t underestimate yourself. You know more than you think. Don’t talk yourself down, be positive about what you can do and what you have achieved.

I’ve got some more tips but I think this answer is becoming unruly!

Good luck and I hope this helps you on your journey. It’s hard but keep going!



Hi @kate_g93, welcome to the community!

I can’t add much to @asianvader’s advice, and my own experience is from an Australian perspective so it might not apply completely to your local market, but I wanted to emphasise some of the points above.

The key thing is to try to side step recruiters and advertised jobs all together. As you’ve already identified, sending out your 0-experience resume and trying to convince recruiters to fight for you is super hard.

Tapping in to the hidden job market is how you find opportunities that are more likely to be open to taking you on - especially if you can talk to them in person before they even see a resume.

So one of the greatest tools at you disposal is meetups - that’s how I landed my job with no experience.

I talked about this recently on the freeCodeCamp podcast: https://podcast.freecodecamp.org/ep-83-from-high-school-english-teacher-to-software-engineer-at-a-machine-learning-company

Good luck with the search, and feel free to share an anonymised version of your resume or your portfolio if you’d like an extra pair of eyes on it.


Go to indeed and other recruiter sites. Network. Use Reddit. Join more forums, also if you navigate through codepen.io they have job postings specifically tailored to what your projects or pens have been. Goodluck to you!

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Hi Phoebe, thank you so so much for your advice and sharing your personal experience! :slightly_smiling_face:

Your story is truly inspiring! I’ve also read your article and must say I really admire people like you who are not afraid to change their lives and follow their passion. I’m so happy to hear that your hard work has paid off and that you received an offer! That’s awesome! Also best of luck for the other interview that’s currently in progress!

I really appreciate that you took time to share these points and links - some really great advice in there. Fingers crossed, hopefully something good will come my way very soon :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hi @JacksonBates, thank you for sharing this! I agree, it sounds like applying to companies directly is a better strategy at this stage. Phoebe shared a link to the event happening in London, I am going to get my ticket and attend it. Thanks as well for sharing the podcast, I am going to listen to it right now! I love hearing these stories, they are helping me to stay motived :slightly_smiling_face:

Hi @JHienz , that’s interesting to know about job postings on codepen.io - I’ll definitely check it out! Thank you!

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You’re welcome! Good luck to you!

Hi Kate, you are most welcome! Thanks for your kind words. If you do need any other advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch directly.

Good luck!