I accepted an offer a few weeks ago and I’m starting a job on Monday as a Software Developer, mostly back-end, for medium-sized financial firm in Iowa. Here’s an overview of my history and experience:
I messed around with HTML as a teenager in the late 90’s but didn’t pursue it.
I studied liberal arts in college and worked as a small-time journalist and page designer.
In 2010, I volunteered to build a web site for free for a non-profit. It looked good.
In 2012, I was doing freelance IT work and a client needed help with a web site. It built it the wrong way but it looked good.
I then worked support and sales for a web host company before taking an IT support position with a large employer.
I took night classes at a community college for 2 years in software development and earned Java and .NET certificates. Meanwhile I worked up to a senior position in support and snagged a couple of very minor development duties. I also made HUGE contributions to my division in the company. These were good talking points in interviews.
After the certificates, I didn’t feel ready so I took online tutorials and built practice projects for over a year. I’ve also been doing freelance web and software development during that year. I have 3 subscription clients.
I applied to 12 positions since March and put a lot of effort into each application, screening and interview. I got 5 interviews, including a couple of big names in the area. The first 4 rejected me and i had follow-up discussions with two of them. One said it was close but they needed someone with a lot of experience.
My first white boarding was a disaster and I messed up the SQL joins. My first coding test was also pretty ugly because they wanted TDD but they were friendly about it. By the fifth interview i was more relaxed, my white boarding was correct (they asked for a switch case example in c#) and I almost passed the coding challenges. The challenges took two hours and had three problems to solve.
I got a good vibe from them and 4 days later, i had a follow-up with a vice president. He asked me how much I waned in compensation. I gave a number and the next day they gave me an offer with that amount. I gave my two weeks with the current employer and I start on Monday.
I feel like i took longer than I could have to get to this point but i have a kids. I’m also nervous because I’m leaving a good job in support but I liked the team members i met so I’m excited. If anyone has questions about the interviews, I’d be happy to answer them.