Hired as a front end dev

Last month I was hired and started a position as a front end developer. This came after a year of self study and training-no boot camp or other formal training. I have been meaning to write this post for a while, but thanks to being employed full time at a new job I haven’t gotten around to it before now.

I don’t want to write a long post, as I think there is plenty of great advice on the forum, but would rather just share what I think are the most important lessons I learned.

Give it time

I originally thought I would get a job after 3 months, then after 6, but it took me a little more than a year. Don’t expect instant results, this process is going to take time. I eventually ended up working a couple of hourly jobs at 55 hours/week to make ends meet while I studied.

Stick with things

It’s really easy to want to jump from language to language, or course to course, or from one meetup group to another. Really make it a goal to finish what you start, and choose the courses/sites/group that you really like and stick with them.

Make projects or find some and contribute

By all means, you need to write your own code! Pick a project and jump in and make it! Don’t worry if it’s been done a million times or you think it’s not that fancy. Just build stuff. Alternately, find ongoing projects and contribute to them. I worked with a friend on his personal project and ended up with the front end of a web app that I had written completely in React. I also attended a meetup every week and contributed to an open source project. These were the two biggest examples I used when interviewing.

Network!

I signed up for all the job sites like Dice, Monster, Career Builder, etc… and I also talked to many recruiters, but I was referred to the job I got by a friend. I wasn’t even really applying for jobs when I interviewed. Make connections in your local developer community, be curious and interested, and be someone that others want to work with. When they have an opening, they will think of people who they want to be in the room with them every day. This matters as much as your knowledge. Show that you are self-motivated and resourceful, and that you are willing to take feedback.

Best of luck, just keep learning, writing code, and be persistent!

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great to hear that robgaston. Tell me how did the interview go. I read many cases, that people without CS degree get hired mostly to small companies, where they were interwied fot the position by comapany developers. Trying to go to big company and talking to HR people is much less successful. What you think?

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Congrats! And thanks for the advice.

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Congrats!

Make projects or find some and contribute
Network!

Great advice, especially these!

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@SimonB87 the company I am with now has almost 5,000 employees and it is a tech company. I had a phone screen, then a technical interview, and then was made the offer. All the interviews were with developers. Ultimately I got my foot in the door because a friend got hired first, and he referred me.

If you are going for your first job, I wouldn’t rule anything out and would go for any opportunity that you are willing to take. I’ve had so many people tell me that the first job is the hardest to get.

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I’m curious if your prior vocation/occupation was tech related as well. I’m trying to discern if that value-add might interest a company where they may tap into your experience from before.

Also, in either of those other couple hourly jobs - if they weren’t relevant to tech (e.g. bussing tables, landscaping, w/e) - did you include them in your work history on your resume?

I’m an older mainframe developer (SAP ABAP) having problems re-securing a job after a workforce reduction just over a year ago; partially myself to blame after not specializing and not getting SAP certifications (pricey),

Finally - your post was inspirational after so much recent disappointment and my one year layoff anniversary passing. IThank you for eventually getting around to it.

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Congrats on landing your first developer job!

My current situation is similar to your. Solid practical advice especially the networking aspect. :slight_smile:

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How do you feel about sharing info on pay? Is there anywhere to get anonymous info on pay in these fields I wonder?

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Well done mate. Great post. I’m just starting out myself and have set a year target. I think I have finally learned to focus. Where did you get your ideas for mini projects and exercises to reinforce the concepts that you were learning along the way?
Thanks Rob

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@DigiMarketer best of luck, you can do it!

I followed the FCC curriculum all the way through the front end, and then I did most of the React projects except for maybe one.

To supplement my learning, I bought some courses through Udemy and did Pluralsight a little bit too. Building projects through those courses helped me learn to code better. The one thing I would have changed was to start building my own projects earlier. You learn so much more by doing that, it’s just a lot harder than following a course or example.

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I just googled “Web Developer Pay” and quite a few links come up.

If you really want to be specific, my advice would be to go to Glassdoor and find job postings for the kind of job you want to get that are in your geographic area. Or find companies close to you that employ developers in the role you are seeking. There is an area on Glassdoor for salary under each company, and people working at the company can voluntarily go on there and anonymously post a salary for their role. That’s the most accurate way I know to figure it out.

@RichO-freelance I had worked in education, non-profit, retail, and food. None of the jobs were tech specific, although i was able to point to a few minor things I had that to do were web and tech related.

What was emphasized to me in all of the interviews I was doing is that my breadth of experience was of interest. They all wanted to hire someone who had some people skills and was capable of interacting with the range of people that they may encounter.

For several months before I got hired, I was helping out a couple friends of mine in their businesses. One was a bakery and the other was a local market. I did not list them on my resume since they really weren’t relevant. I did not hide them either-the jobs came up in my interviews and it did not hold me back. They were more concerned with figuring out if I was a good fit for their company/team.

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Thanks, @robgaston1, for taking the time to respond with detail - just the feedback i was looking for. Best of Fortune with the new position!

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Well done good to hear good work pays off.

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Congratulations on getting hired! This is great advice for someone like me who is probably going to take a little longer to get that first dev job.

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Thanks! Yeah I was super-ambitious at first but I wasn’t really doing a great job of networking. Eventually I realized that was the most important thing for me to do. Just give it time and be persistent!

Everyone always says the first job is the hardest to get…

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Congrats and thanks for sharing some insight with us!

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Congrats on the recent hire. I hope it is still going well. Thanks for the advice.

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Congrats! And thanks for sharing the great advice! :pray: :sparkles:

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It’s going very well! Thanks much!

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