I have kind of a silly question about the actual application process itself

OK - so looking at self-taught devs who have applied for jobs, I often see something like this:

I applied for 15-20 jobs, got 2 or 3 callbacks…

…and so on.

I’ve just now begun the job search. I spent some time filling out my linkedIn profile, fixing up my resume and uploading it, and I’ve just been looking around on their job postings.

LinkedIn makes it really easy to apply for jobs if they are through their board. Indeed.com has a similar thing going. I was able to apply for 5 jobs in the course of about an hour, and setting up my LinkedIn probably took another hour.

In short, it seemed really, really easy to apply for those 5. It seems like 15 could be done in a day.

So I’m wondering… am I doing something wrong, or are most people just not applying for very many jobs? I want to apply for as many jobs as possible. The number 500 comes to mind. Maybe more. I’m ready. And I want to do this correctly as possible. I’m coming from another field where I had a job via an internship, so this is my first time doing something like that.

The only thing I can think of is that I’m applying for jobs anywhere in the country - relocation is not an issue for me. That being said, a couple of those jobs I applied for WERE local.

I think most self-taught developers who go on to get jobs send in applications that are highly geared towards that company which often takes a good chunk of time.

From what I read and hear, sending in a bunch of applications to a companies HR department or recruiter without a traditional background isn’t the way to go.

Networking and highly configured applications to companies you actually want to work for, seem like the current trend.

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Well, I haven’t read that because I’ve never seen people say much about the details of what they are doing, just ‘I applied for this.’ Do you have a source or any resources on this subject?

EDIT: I am or course doing research on my own, I just want to make sure I’m using the best of my time. Doing a more detailed application is better - I’m just not sure the best way about this. Unfortunately, the practical nature of applying for jobs is something I have felt lost on. I feel as though all of my applications are just being instantly discarded, so… anything to favor a better chance.


Have you done any searches on the actual website here? There are an incredible amount of posts about this topic where they give you the exact process they went through and what they would suggest. Look up the Viking Code School on youtube they talk about this a lot. There is free code camp on youtube that talks about this some. Search for getting a developer job with a nontraditional background.

It is for most people. If that isn’t an issue at all, you can do what you’re doing and [putting aside skills] shouldn’t have too much of an issue getting a job (however, obviously without demonstrable skills it becomes harder). I’m not sure how you could actually afford it (money or time-wise) if you applied all over the country and were to be accepted for interview at more than one place, but anyway

I have looked through this forum, as I mentioned - what I usually get back is just as I said. I will check out what you have mentioned. Thank you for the suggestion, iamknox. But again, yes, as stated - most success stories tend to gloss over - somewhat understandably - this aspect if you have not noticed it.

I don’t know how you usually get back no one talking about what they did other than I applied but here are links from this website like I’ve suggested about people going into detail about their job search.

https://forum.freecodecamp.org/t/no-zero-days-my-roadmap-from-javascript-noob-to-full-stack-developer-in-12-months/?source_topic_id=165085 https://forum.freecodecamp.org/t/got-a-frontend-developer-job/?source_topic_id=165085

(this one the person responds with details about six posts from the top.)


(first and the last post on this one are detailed.)

These are from the first page of the getting a developer job category and they give a lot more detail than you mentioned about only apply. Good luck on the job hunt and hope you find something awesome.

I thank you for taking the time to link all of those. In fact, I’ve actually read most of them. A lot of those folks had impressive experience and credentials outside of their work, and I’d wager that played a big part in their placement. Hedge fund managers, international super models - not so applicable for me! So you’ll have to excuse me if I am guilty of a bit of skimming. But, I could be very, very wrong. Hopefully I am. Let me just say, I’m looking for something relatable to my situation.

That being said - these posts still only very, very, lightly touch on the actual nitty gritty of the application process. No mention really of cover letters, references - did they need them? More details! (Although - I do see that one person did get hired via Indeed, mixed responses! So it seems this process is largely an individual thing.) By and large these posts are about the studying process, their FCC timelines, and their previous lives.
Did they follow up? Perhaps we are reading with different things in mind, and that’s OK!

I’m going to have to research these more in depth, because these posts so far have been inadequate for what I’m looking for. I should emphasize that what I’m talking about - this is more a soft skill that is beyond programming/coding, so perhaps it would be best to look for tips on that specifically, but I wondered if there were any rules of thumb. As an example most previous jobs have been heavy on providing references - so far not one application has mentioned prior references.

Let me also be clear that I am just beginning my search and have very little point of reference for the hiring/application process for web developers. It’s jarring to me. But that’s OK! I will, again, be giving this topic it’s due diligence - just thought the Free Code Camp family would be a good starting point.

I agree all of those things need to be taken into account so looking for one resource that is going to have everything is somewhat misguided. Just because one person was a supermodel doesn’t give that person any more leverage in displaying they know how to code then you do. To look for your exact situation will take a while. You should learn to abstract from other people experiences who have accomplished what you are looking for. In one of my earlier responses, I said to look up Viking Code School on youtube. I’ll link to it here because they talk a lot about someone with a non-traditional background and the things those people encounter.

(link to video)

This video is very long but if you’re more interested in soft skills and not code I think it’s suited towards that.

(link to search)

Well, I am obviously not looking for just one resource. This is just the dipping of the toe into the pool to check how cold the water is.

And I appreciate what you are saying, but in response to your last post - I am going to have to object a little bit to something you said there - I never made any correlation between being a super model and coding ability. Never even implied it. I felt that you, perhaps unintentionally spun it a little that way, and that’s OK, but it was not my intention at all. Let me state that in no uncertain terms. Maybe I was just misreading the way you put it, that’s certainly possible.

On that point, I was speaking in reference to employers looking more favorably upon an impressive past career than say - a former Wendy’s manager (which is honestly, probably a pretty tough job!). In fact I did mention hedge fund manager - which also probably looks pretty darn impressive on a resume. Keep in mind, if you can’t get the interview, you may not be able to prove yourself. There are a lot of variables there. I think this is a given, no? We can pretend that stuff like this doesn’t matter - but employees do filter on things as arbitrary (not to diminish the achievement here) as the degree so I think it’s not unreasonable to raise the point beforehand.

Again, I really do appreciate you taking the time to respond. But I wanted to be clear on that former point. And as I stated I am going to be giving this topic it’s own time - along with resumes, cover letters, and interviews, as is deserved. It is always good to brush up on these things. Thanks!

I was more responding to you thinking there situation didn’t apply to you. As far as I know, one
can have an impressive career in any industry but if you can’t program it doesn’t really matter, I would think.

This is why I pointed you to the video about nontraditional background because landing an interview is all of our concerns in that camp.

I was more responding to you thinking there situation didn’t apply to you. As far as I know, one
can have an impressive career in any industry but if you can’t program it doesn’t really matter, I would think.

That is the hope, isn’t it? There are definitely reports indicating this is possible. But hopefully you can see clearly why I would state this. Trying to be realistic here. Although perhaps some bit of good old fashioned delusion is healthy for the confidence! I’ll have to check out that video when I’m not in a public space, thanks.

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I’m not sure what you mean by the second statement. Are you thinking of a scenario like where the guy has two dates to prom and has to go back and forth between the two?

I don’t think the above scenario will be likely, simply because I’m expecting to have little response. Not trying to put myself down, but largely my thinking this way is because of the sheer amount of competition. I’m crossing my fingers for the possibility of remote interviews, but - eh, one can dream.

When talking about relocation, I largely mean I have no ties to a particular area. And personally, I’ve actually lived in my car for a time. On one hand, it is kind it’s a bit underrated. On the other hand, I do not recommend this, and hope to never do it again, but when you want something, you want something. :grin:

I’ve structured my financial situation around the possibility of relocation.

We will see!

Well, kinda: if you get an interview at one end of the country how do you deal another interview at the other end of the country within a few days/weeks/etc? It’s just logistics, I don’t think it needs an analogy.

YMMV on this, but if say you were hiring someone, you’re generally going to want to meet them in person; it’s easier to judge if you’re going to be able to work with someone [for possibly years] if you can talk to them face-to-face.

So your approach will probably work, it’ll just take a long time. You need feedback, and you need to act on that feedback. So if you send off ten, twenty applications, you then need to wait. If there is no response, you need to find out why and make adjustments before you make another round of applications. I was a designer originally. I made a few online things (mainly work for friends/friends of friends), did a tiny bit of freelance web work (mainly design side), then sold that as me being a web designer/developer with a bit of experience. Kept getting feedback and seeing where I needed to improve and amended my CV, and worked on improving skills I thought I was short on (JavaScript for example). It is important to note again that this took a long time.

Basic web stuff - HTML/CSS/basic JS - it’s not hard. Programming overall isn’t that difficult, it just takes a certain mindset. If you can demonstrate that you have learnt the basics, and that you are willing and able to learn more, then some prospective employer will take a chance that you probably can learn more. 90% of what you do will likely be basic stuff from a programming perspective anyway. You just need to sell yourself: it is a business transaction, you need to persuade someone that you are worth spending money on. A degree helps - particularly for entry level, where a recruiter has to filter a load of applications. A degree or equivalent experience signals you can see something complex through to completion over a period of time. It also signals you’re at least semi smart, though that depends on degree (business-related degree - not so much, PHD for entry-level position - far too much). After first job (outside of sectors that require degrees), stops mattering much at all.

First and foremost. Quantity does not guarantee success.

Most people who apply for jobs look for specific indicators they are qualified for, such as, junior developer, inexperienced ok, a beginning knowledge of these languages, 1 year university, intern. etc. Which narrows the job field they are applying, considerably.

If you just completed Free Code Camp and that is all, you have no other experience or education, you should not be applying for developer positions, only junior positions. If somehow you do get a job as an intermediate developer, it is very possible the company which hires you, expects you to be a lot farther along than you are. You could get the ax relatively quickly after your hired if this is the case.

So, with that said, most people pinpoint 5-10 companies they really want to be hired with which have junior or intern positions open. They spend all their energies creating a perfect resume, a perfect cover letter and a perfect profile specific to that company. In other words, they make it personal. Just generating a resume and a canned cover letter, with very little difference in them and submitting to 500 companies is exactly like playing the lottery. To me it is really a waste of time.

Case in point. The response I received just last week from a company I sent a resume through that I found on Indeed:

“It looks like you have very relevant experience to our needs and your cover letter was thoughtfully put together. Thank you for that.”

If I had not spent the time to tailor my cover letter and my resume for this specific position, I highly doubt I would have even received a response.

One way or another, they are going to test you. cPanel sent me a dev test, which I passed with flying colors, using recursion, bitwise operations, ternary operators, but I failed miserably on the in person interview when they asked me about specific technical questions relating to the language constructs. The language in question is Perl, and I was not versed well enough in Perl to give enough correct answers. So I was removed from the pool of applicants, even after I passed the dev tests, the first interview, etc.

Most companies have a 4-6 step interview process. The current company I am courting, I have a screen share with there lead dev tomorrow. The initial phone interview went well, now they want to see if I can back up what I said on the phone.

It is very easy to get initial responses from companies. It is very hard to get actually hired. I receive initial responses almost 100% of the jobs I apply for, yet somewhere through the interview process I fail 80% of the time. You should concentrate on applying for specific companies which have specific needs, specific to your talents.

Just my two cents.

Hope all the best for you.


If you write a custom cover letter for the job you’re applying for, that takes significantly more time. To know how to target that cover letter, you need to spend time reading about and researching the specific company, so that’s an increased time expenditure as well.

Another aspect is that Linkedin and Indeed listings are pretty low quality, in my experience. So rather than applying for 25 low quality listings, I’d rather search better job boards, read about the companies, and apply at places that 1.) have a better chance of being a good fit and 2.) are the kinds of companies that don’t list on LinkedIn/ Indeed (higher quality companies that have no shortage of applicants because they’re actually decent places to work).

Hello. Thank you for the responses. I actually do have two degrees but they are in unrelated fields, but I’ve been listing them anyway. I am only applying for junior positions. I’ll have to check out the other job boards. Any recommendations?

So far I’ve only had one response with 7 jobs applied. It was a quick dismissal. The others have not acknowledged my applications, although it is the holiday period.

Well, I would feel lucky to get one interview. So juggling two is something I haven’t considered. I would certainly try to do it to the best of my ability.

So far I’ve had no response. So I don’t know how to get feedback down that road. I suppose I could post my resume for review somewhere. None of my applications have had a spot for a cover letter.

(And everything can use an analogy.)