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.
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!