How many times did you have to apply before getting a job? How many places did you have to interview with first?

I’m wondering how long it’s actually going to take to get a job. I moved from a small town with no jobs outside of the service industry to a larger city in a new state (SLC). I’m blessed to actually have a phone interview in the morning with the CTO of a small SaaS company located here. But the job hunt is killing me.

I’ve been applying to everything I think I could be qualified for- not just those where I check all of the boxes. I’m doing the usual Indeed/LinkedIn/ type of sites, as well as reaching out to nearby companies directly. I consider tomorrow’s interview my first real one, because I’ve found that most jobs posted are posted by recruiters who are wasting my time, promising a lot and then ghosting me after telling me they’ll get back to me with a start date. Hell, at this point I’ve even been applying to call centers and tech support positions, and even minimum wage service jobs in the meantime.

Every time I find a job that I’m remotely qualified for, I apply immediately, but apparently so does everyone else. The company I applied for last week, that I’m interviewing for tomorrow, only had 4 applicants that week. The average number of applicants I see is somewhere between 60-100 for every opening, even the developer job I applied to that paid $12/hr had 120 applicants

I don’t have a degree in anything, which doesn’t help me, certainly. I’ve been trying to demonstrate that I’m not just someone who only picked up coding a few months ago by writing stuff on HackerNoon that delves into much harder stuff, like Assembly, security, encryption and shellcoding. Over the last year and a half, when I have been interviewed, I’ve always been told it was my security related stuff in my github that caught their attention. I’ve been building more stuff for my portfolio, and it’s expanded in the last year, which has helped a bit, but I’m not sure it’s been enough.

I’ve recently found a MeetUp page for developers here, and I’m going to try to find a way to go to meetups and network. It just seems like the barrier to entry is really, really high, because there’s TONS of people trying to get into the industry, while all the demand is for those who already have developer experience.

So those of you who actually got a job, how long did it take? What did you have to do?

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What on earth does the job description look like for a $12/hr developer job in Salt Lake City? In San Jose, you can start off at $16/hr at In-N-Out Burger with full insurance and 401K.

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I’d try and move to the best developer market you can find (idk too much about SLC’s market or really the American market).

I’m based in Vancouver, Canada and it took about 1-2 months to get offers. Interviews were the next week after applying but it depends how fast their HR process is.

I wouldn’t really shoot for volume - I’d try and get my resume and portfolio as clean as possible and target positions.

There was a lot of talk about the value of the experience you will gain, both as a developer and working closely with a team who has started and built several companies from the ground up. The guy has an MBA and also runs a multi-million dollar M&A firm.

Sounds like he just wants something for nothing.

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Probably, but at least I’d have professional developer experience and be able to get in to a much, much better job a year or 2 down the line.

I also would wonder why that is when other jobs have many more applicants, I would ask myself why more people don’t want to work there.

Would you mind elaborating on this? To help us all out that are applying for jobs based on your experience.

I also would wonder why that is when other jobs have many more applicants, I would ask myself why more people don’t want to work there.

It’s a small SaaS company that only advertised on, which doesn’t have nearly the volume of applicants that LinkedIn and Indeed and the like have. It also doesn’t have the highest salary, but it’s good for a junior developer. Most jobs I see advertised on there are for startups, but are looking for senior-level experience.

Would you mind elaborating on this? To help us all out that are applying for jobs based on your experience.

In addition to Python and JavaScript, the next language I’m familiar and comfortable with is Assembly. Not nearly enough to land a job writing/maintaining old legacy systems written in Asm, but enough to understand how to make exploits. The only reason I learned or understand Assembly is because I learned a lot about exploit development, fuzzing compiled programs, finding buffer and heap overflow vulnerabilities, and exploiting them. When you’re exploiting a buffer overflow, you need to inject something called shellcode- which is literally the binary representation of the code you want to execute, as understood by the processor, not by humans. For a simple example, if you wanted to spawn a shell, you just need to execute Execve with proper arguments pointing to /bin/sh, meaning you’d need to push /bin/sh onto the stack, store that address in a register, push additional arguments onto the stack, store those into the register, store the syscall number for execve in a specific register, and perform an interrupt.

The script I had that caught the most attention was an execve shellcode generating script, where you could tell it “I want to generate a shellcode to run the terminal command /bin/ls when I feed it to this vulnerable program”, and it would return \x31\xc0\x50\x68\x6e\x2f\x73\x68\x68\x2f\x2f\x62\x69\x89\xe3\x50\x89\xe2\x53\x89\xe1\xb0\x0b\xcd\x80.

I also have an article on HackerNoon that works with assembly and machine code, kind of. It takes compiled programs, takes them apart and parses them into their component parts (a lot like readelf), and lets you modify them and backdoor them: Pwning Binaries with Surgeon: A Primer for Offensive Security Professionals

ultimately the decision is yours as to whether you want to work at a start up or if you are okay with waiting it out until a better offer shows up.

I’d say if it was the only offer I had I would just take it for the experience like 6 months to a year and then switch. Unless you have strong suspicions that the position isn’t a great position and you aren’t going to learn much.

I’d say if it was the only offer I had I would just take it for the experience like 6 months to a year and then switch. Unless you have strong suspicions that the position isn’t a great position and you aren’t going to learn much.

I’m just trying to secure the offer, and in my experience, it’s just really, really hard to even get there. I’ll do whatever I have to right now, and anything that will have me writing code will be what I’m going to do for the next year or three. As long as I can actually start getting experience, I’ll take any developer job.

The job hunt is absolutely insane. It is indeed a very discouraging experience and it’ll probably put doubts in your head. I think we all go through that before getting that first job.

It is tough to get that first job with no previous experience or any formal education, but it’s not impossible and many people (including myself) have done it, and so can you. You just need to grind, be patient and work really hard. A few advices:

Polish your resume. I followed this guide and I got more responses than with my previous resume, you need to use a lot of key words to beat the screening tools most companies use to filter applicants. Read the job description carefully and try to match as many keywords as possible, otherwise there’s a good chance no human is going to read your resume.

Build a portfolio. With no credentials or whatsoever this is the only way you can show people what you can do. Make sure you portfolio is well designed and that it looks professional, when people look at your portfolio they shouldn’t be able to tell that you are a junior developer or someone who just learned how to code 3 months ago. Do not add calculators or todo apps in your portfolio, those are projects beginners do and you are not a beginner (remember, that’s what you want to sell). Build projects that look real, like an e-commerce site, or a restaurant webapp where the client can make http requests to edit the content of the site, things like that. Just make sure that whatever you build, it looks good. I see many people who are starting out who don’t put too much effort in the design and that is a big mistake, if something doesn’t seem professional, nobody is gonna look at your code (especially recruiters).

Put yourself out there. There’s a bit of luck involved in getting your first job, but you need to create as many opportunities as you can to rely less on luck. Join communities, many people have gotten their first job because they posted their portfolio or a project on Reddit, I know someone who did it that way. I myself got my first job through a developers group on Facebook, I posted my portfolio asking for feedback, someone saw it and offered me a job.

Hope this helps.


This is going to vary so much by location, individual, and year.
My background is different, but some parts of the job hunt experience are pretty universal (I wrote about my most recent one here anyway, at the request of a few former community members.)

When I was working on getting my first full-time developer job, it was about 5 months between my first interview and accepting an offer. That was after 3 years of groundwork. My last job hunt was about two months of intense work, but some of my (generally more experienced) coworkers who got laid off at the same time took the better part of a year to find new jobs.

It really varies from individual to individual. But the saying about how the first time is the hardest, worst or most trying definitely applies to development work. I would say don’t be discouraged but also be very practical. Take another job that you definitely can get, yes even in retail, but keep passionate about development.

Keep grinding and you may luck out with a job that offers on the job experience so you don’t have to be a perfect coder, and a salary about minimum wage. But again, keep reminding yourself the first time is the hardest because it is. It may feel like hollow comfort at times, but the more times you hear it from the community the more times it will sink in and you will keep pushing and realize there truly IS NOTHING wrong with you.

Ariel also offers valuable insight in regards to how others may have difficulty finding new jobs. In general the more passionate you are about development the easier it will come by as it will simply show in your work.

If you’re doing it for the money what is already a grind will drag on longer.

  1. Recruiter approached me before I graduated and I got a job

It took me a long time to get a job that focused only on coding. Basically, I started as a business analyst requiring only Excel and kept looking for work that required more coding and technical skills. The hardest job to get was my first job as a business analyst, 9 interviews and countless applications. Each job afterwards was easier only due to the fact that each job was a slight variation on the previous one, but more technical. My last job was pretty technical, but didn’t involve enough coding for me (ETL engineer). Took me around 5 years before I landed a pure coding job and I’m still interested in moving onto different type of job maybe data scientist/machine learning engineer long term. Currently writing a lot of devops and infrastructure automation code. I started with political science degree and currently working on a masters in CS/analytics. Would be easier if my bachelor was in CS for sure.

The salary range in London for a junior developer seems to fluctuate quite a bit depending on what industry for example with investment banks you’ll be looking at anywhere between £40 - £60k. However most the other industries in London, UK look to be driving down salaries for devs, especially junior devs. I’ve seen ads for jr developers that start at £25k which is very underwhelming.

Where are all you guys from? what is the market condition where your based and as a Londoner who is keen to relocate where would you guys recommend for better job prospects and higher paying salaries?


I think junior dev positions outside of the large tech companies and to a lesser degree large cities generally don’t pay well. It’s 2-3 years afterwards when you become a standard engineer or senior engineer when the salaries really start standing out. Juniors I’ve seen paid in Boston, USA: $50k-$100k with most being around $60k-$80k would be my guess. Senior salary is easily double that if not triple with RSUs. I’d argue that the Senior/Lead is significantly more productive compared to payment multiple.

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