I may never get a developer job

This thread was originally posted by another user, but they have asked that they have it deleted. I think the thread is worth keeping, so I have merged the replies and posts here and tried to remove the references to the original user.

Here is the original statement:

This isn’t a pleasant post. It’s a collection of random thoughts which have been troubling me. It gets hopeless in places. Please don’t read if you’re triggered by that kind of thing.

I’ve been learning web development for about 2 years now while in school. Recently I’ve come to the point where I need to get a real job to pay the bills. Although I’ve sent a lot of applications, I haven’t gotten any interviews. Just mild attention from faceless recruiters. I don’t think my portfolio is that bad; I have some paid development experience. But I’m in a huge city where junior devs are a dime a dozen. There’s absolutely no reason for a company to waste money on me when there are plenty of other qualified people desperate for jobs.

I’ve struggled with depression, anxiety, and non-existent self esteem for a long time and I feel that, even if I were to get an interview, I would screw it up immensely. For as long as I’ve been learning JavaScript and Node.js, I still couldn’t explain why Node would be used in a project over some other backend, or why MongoDB would be used over SQL. I can only say that I use those things because they’re easy and I understand them. I probably also wouldn’t be able to explain basic features of JS on the spot if it came to that. I’ve watched interview practice videos, but coming up with those answers in a pressure situation seems an impossible task.

PHP feels like a “dirty” language to me, so I’ve ignored it and gone full-steam into JS. But I’ve encountered a lot of negativity about JS on the internet, such as this thread. I’ve seen many who are experienced in professional development crap all over the language like it’s an underachieving child and argue about technical aspects that I have no idea about. Reading things like that there and elsewhere has really caused me to question whether I’m betting my livelihood on a reject language, one that’s likely to make me a laughing stock if I ever mention it among seasoned developers.

So, as I said, this is mostly to record my own thoughts. I’m not looking for advice. But perhaps others will relate to this and it may bring some peace to know someone else feels the same way.

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My message turned out to be longer than expected…

I feel the same completely and at this point I’m quite certain I’ll never get a developer job as well so I can relate. I thought about posting something like this a few days ago but just figured people would complain. I guess that’s why your username is throwaway.

I’ve been learning it a little more than 2 years and every project I’ve done I go above and beyond the basic requirements and it never seems good enough. I live in a small town of ~4000 people and I can guarantee you there’s no developer jobs here or anywhere around here. The closest city with a population of more than 50,000 is a 4h car drive away and even there I know there’s no dev jobs. I absolutely have to relocate which I’m more than happy to do. Companies don’t even give me interviews so imagine if I get one and tell them I need relocation assistance, don’t think they will do that for someone who never had a dev job before. And relocation assistance is something I absolutely need because I don’t even have enough money in my bank to buy a Big Mac (literally). So now I’m trying to find a job here in my town which as you can imagine, is no easy task seeing as there’s nothing here.

It’s also very frustrating that job sites such as linkedin and stackoverflow when you filter for junior roles 80% of them have senior in the job title and the other 20% still requests 3+ years of experience. And other sites like the job section of codefights, hired, etc… won’t even let me see available jobs because they think I don’t have enough experience. The closest I ever came to an interview was this company in Germany I found on AngleList, they sent me a take home project. I was supposed consume their API and display 10 apartment listings from it on a page styled according to the design they gave me. So what do I do? I do exactly that but instead of just the first 10 apartment listings, I implement pagination so we can see every single apartment listings and cache each page you visit so that when you return to the page you don’t need to load everything again. What did they have to say about that? Nothing. No feedback about it. No emails. Nothing.

I already quit coding twice, next time will probably be for good.


Oh yeah, that one drives me crazy. I think they just check every box because they think they’ll reach more people. I wish the sites would police this better, it makes it so hard to find what you’re looking for.

I also wish more sites allowed you to set a MAX wage - I like to target low paying jobs, figuring I’ll have a better shot. Angellist is good for that.

As to the meat of the posts … Yeah, it’s a long haul. It’s a marathon. It’s like the old saying someone who succeeds is just someone who tried one more time than they failed. Most people have tried and failed an equal number of times.

In the mean time, I’d just suggest getting work, any work. Freelance. Volunteer. Look at local nonprofits. If you see one with a crappy site, offer to redo it. Apply for jobs outside your area. Start your own company. Build sites.

It’s not going to be easy. Some people get lucky. I guess we didn’t. We’re going to have to work for it an persevere.

[Original User],

I am an established developer who was checking out this site before recommending it to some friends who want to learn to code.

I decided to check out the forums and saw this post. I wanted to address a few things you mentioned.

Back when I started over 12 years ago I had just shut down my PC repair shop. I was having terrible anxiety attacks from burn out. Back then there were far fewer remote opportunities than there are today. However, I knew at that point in my life I could not work in an office.

I began searching and found a company based in New Mexico (I live in Michigan) and began to work for them remotely.

So distance is no hindrance. As long as you have a fast internet connection you can live anywhere and work.

The biggest problem I am seeing from both of you is confidence. No mind you when I started my confidence in myself was shattered due to my failed business. However, I had to find a way to keep a roof over my head and put food on the table so I forced myself to do it.

I want to be 100% clear there is no luck to any of it. It is all about hard work and confidence.

First off ignore the requirements the job lists completely when it comes to experience and education. Just apply to the job, be honest and show off personal projects you have been working on!

I want you both too watch this video from Eli the computer Guy about experience.

his point is that if you don’t apply only you are to blame. He also explains why many times the requirements are ridiculous.

Second have some personal projects or freelance projects you contribute too that you can show off. I know when hiring freelancers myself now I care more about projects they have worked on than the experience they claim to have.

I am not going to spend time following up with previous employers and education. I am going to look at what code you have done.

I am checking GitHub for your username
I am checking StackOverflow to see how active you are on there.

I want to see your personal website to see if you put any effort into it.

I want a description of a cool project you have worked on and you telling me what you did, what challenges you encountered, and how you overcame those.

Just remember you guys can do it!


Yeah, that struck me as “off” too, but I’m guessing that that’s just part of his shtick, going for shock value. I’m guessing that if we watched a bunch of his videos, that we’d see that that’s just his persona and his audience expects that. It is a bit of a shock if you’re dropped into it though.

I got over that fast. My main complaint was that it took him 15 minutes to explain something that should have take 3 - with overly ornate and Byzantine explanations.

But his idea that “the requirements are just a wish list” is something I’ve heard before. Basically I’m sending out resumes to anything where I even meet half of the requirements, unless they explicitly make it clear that something is a real requirement. (Sometimes in ads they will add extra emphasis to certain requirements.)

It seems like you’re in a very negative headspace, and I imagine that’s only compounding your issue.

If you’ve been studying for two years and you’re upset because you couldn’t explain it in an interview, that’s probably the first place you could work to build your confidence. Why not actually go and learn the things that you are clearly articulating are the problems with you in a hypothetical interview.

It seems like more effort into learning the things you know are holding you back rather than thinking of yourself as vulnerable would do a lot more good.

We all get down on ourselves, have our own insecurities and self-doubt, but the only way you’re going to feel better is if you overcome your perceived short-comings and prove your doubtful wrong.

If web development or programming or whatever you’re trying to get a job doing is something you love and want to pursue don’t let your mind creep in and hurt the progression you’ve made this far.

The community here is usually pretty good about sharing resources, answering questions, getting advice, so I would say whatever you think your problem is, rather than venting maybe try to see if anyone has had the same problem and what that actual solution was.

Wish you the best of luck in overcoming these issues, don’t forget it’s natural and we all go through it so to speak in our own way.

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I have also been learning to code for about 2 years. I started with one of those “Learn Java in 21 days” books. Right around the time I found this site I enrolled in an online university for a degree in computer science.
In that time I have managed to learn Python and a bit of Ruby, and continue to work with Java while working around 46-52 hours a week as a truck driver.
I am not looking for an entry level dev job. I’m 49 and don’t have the desire to give up the 57k I make a year for yet another new career starting at the bottom, only now facing the scenario where 90% of applicants will be younger and better educated and more qualified. That’s not what motivated me to learn coding.
I was inspired by a developer in Vietnam named Dong Nguyen. While working for game dev company dotGEARS, he.created a game in 3 days called Flappy Bird. He gave it away in the app stores and monetized it with a single non intrusive banner ad across the top of the screen. It went viral and at the height of it’s popularity generated $50,000 a DAY in ad revenue…
I spent my life making other people money, this is what motivates me. I see coding as the chance to break out of the rut. I don’t make much progress on FCC because I spend a great deal of time with my online classes (one at a time except for this term where I am taking 2). I won’t graduate until I am 56… don’t care, it’s a bucket list thing that will have a total cost of around $4,300 for a BS in comp sci from the University of the People. I also spend more time in Android Studio than I do in the JS console. I am learning full stack because I want to be able to. Eventually promote whatever apps I come up with and to handle things like online leaderboards. I am not rushing things, would rather do it right than rushed (like Microsoft and the non stop patches to products released before they were stable).
I am not a fan of JS and noSQL databases, I would rather Rails and Postgres for the back end. I will continue to learn it though, because you become a better mechanic with each new tool you add to the toolbox.
At the end of the day, I do enjoy coding. I like solving problems, just not in JS… I know thatvI need to get over it. My algorithm challenges that Inhave passed were first solved in Python, because that is the first language that ‘clicked’ for me. Even Java after 2 years is getting better, but I still find myself solving problems in Python first, it’s like my version of pseudocode.
I definitely hear you about all this time with JS, if browsers could use Python instead of JS for the front end, I would probably have my front end projects done!
Good luck and don’t give up. If I did want to do dev work, I would be looking at remote jobs. That type of work has certainly come a long way over the past few years.


Yea Eli is Eli. He is not very PC, however, he does have a ton of experience and great advice if you can get past his bluntness.

I agree with you for those new to the field it is not obvious at all that many job postings are just completely unrealistic. That is a problem in the industry overall.

That is an understatement… In one of his videos which I will not link someone asked a question about how a Junior Level Developer was fired for destroying a production database.

Eli went off on a very very foul mouthed rant about the type of person the CTO was to try to blame it on this junior developer when it was obviously his fault.

If your interested the video is hilarious and called “Junior Developer DESTROYS Production Database”

His basic personality is bluntness and some shock value, however, he does normally direct his irritation with people where it belongs. Like in that case going off about how worthless the CTO was and supporting the Junior Developer.

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Yeah, it just seems like he’s trying to get himself noticed. In a growing sea of blogs and videos, how do you get attention? One way is to “push the boundaries”. If you look at TV or listen to the radio, that is what people want. But it can be a shock in this context, where you expect dispassionate information and he launches into the childish name calling. In another context it might be funny, but in this one it just seemed “off” to me. But I bet other people love it.

A lot of useful info in here already. With the risk of repeating some stuff people already added I’d just like to share a bit of my experience in the job search/ tech world. I don’t know how much of it will be applicable since I’ve only looked-for work in the US, but I think some of this might be useful regardless of where you are in the world.

In my 7 years of work I’ve switched careers about 3 times, and each time it has been a painful, time consuming process. I would send out close to 100 resumes’ along with personalized cover letters targeting positions in different areas and I would get a first interview from maybe 5-7 companies. Out of those first interviews I’d maybe get 2 in person interviews. I was rejected because someone else had a few more months of experience using Salesforce, I was rejected because the company ran out of budget and decided not to hire a new person and I’ve been rejected because I couldn’t start right away.

It’s tough and you will get rejected because of reasons outside of your control. It’s easy to take these rejections personally and feel like you’re never going to get a job, but unfortunately that’s how the market works, you can be a great candidate do everything right and still not get in.

It’s unfair, and ultimately all you can do is stack the deck in your favor.

What do I mean by this? Steven already mentioned working on personal projects, here is how I approached that. I knew my resume was not looking impressive, I had mostly sales support experience, but wanted an IT administrator role. No one was going to hire me to do that based on my previous job so I spent a year setting up a website and accepting short stories. It was very time consuming, and it cost me some money at first but eventually I figured a way to put ads on the site and make up for the token amounts of money I was paying authors.

A year later my resume had “FlashScribe e-zine Co-founder” under experience. Sure, it was a terrible, poorly managed Wordpress site but every single person that interviewed me asked what that was about and I could tell them how I decided to store all the stories in a database and how I was managing my payment system and how I tried out different newsletter formats to boost click-through rates. I didn’t know all the details about how you should configure a database schema, but at least I showed I was passionate about tech and was looking to always learn and try new things. Sure, I still had to send out dozens of resumes, but now I had a year experience in a tech position administrating a website.

You could put together an app or a game and publish it on mobile or create a chrome extension or start a Youtube series about your journey learning to code. You probably won’t get a lot of views or downloads, but your resume can have 1 year experience as a game developer or tech blogger. Jennifer Dewalt decided to build 180 websites in 180 days and her story was picked up by large publications.

Sure, it will take time and effort and it will be tough, you will still get rejections but it will be much easier to get your foot in the door if you can answer an interview question with something like: “Oh I used CSS flexbox on this website for my favorite soccer team. Here you can pull it up and see how I handled mobile responsiveness and how I’m pulling the most recent scores in.”

Of course, at the end of the day it’s your call if the effort and time to do these things is worth it. No one can guarantee that building a dozen personal projects will get you a dream job and if you know for sure that a different career will bring you more happiness or stable employment there is no shame in just keeping programming as a hobby. Be honest with yourself and realistic, but also know that you can get a job as a developer if you really want it and work towards it, just try to figure out ways to stand out from the other candidates.


Do feel free to ignore this sort of toxic negativity. If someone is actually important in their field, they don’t take time out of their day to crap on a language or platform. I mean, just about every developer will complain about something at some point, but an entire blog full of hate speaks more about the author than the topic. The same goes for any seasoned devs who would bully you for the language you program in (though it’s worth mentioning that most everyone you’ll meet will be nicer than you expect). Don’t give anyone like this a second thought. Instead, give your time to thoughtful, intelligent programmers like Kyle Simpson, Mattias Johansson and Eric Elliot. In the end, what matters isn’t what some childish prick with a blog or a Quora account says, but the skills that companies hire for, and since we’re clearly seeing a future in JavaScript[1][2][3], it’d be prudent for you to focus a good chunk of your learning with it.

Sure there is. It’s not as though hiring managers have some magic yard stick that can determine a person’s level of qualification. Getting a job is largely a numbers game, but you can tweak your presentation to give yourself a much better chance at success. I know you said you weren’t here for advice, but too bad. Here’s what has helped me lately:

  • Get on pramp.com. Practice being in an intimidating, interview-like setting. Fail miserably if you are so inclined (I know I was).
  • Try to team up with someone you know or someone here in the community. Have them read through your resume, offer critiques, and practice behavioral interview questions. Do the same for them. Search the internet for what interviewers want to hear. You have low self-esteem (as do I), so don’t count on your perception of yourself. Build a statistical model of what a candidate who is vaguely like you should say about themselves and parrot it.
  • Get a copy of Cracking the Coding Interview. I’ve been shilling this book out a lot lately, and for good reason. There’s some great advice on what to put in your resume and how to present yourself. Hackerrank.com is another great resource, and Gayle Laakmann McDowell has some videos on there explaining CS fundamentals. I reluctantly recommend GeeksForGeeks - it’s a great resource with a silly name and hideous coat of paint.
  • Read YDKJS (free) by the aforementioned Kyle Simpson. This will shore up your JavaScript domain knowledge.
  • Of course, have your portfolio built up and highlight your favorite projects in your resume. This should be easy if you’ve gotten a few certs here.

You can get a programmer job. This isn’t blind positivity, it’s reality. The trick is just knowing what a company wants and tailoring your presentation to match.



First of all, i’m sorry about this moment you are going through, and first thing i would suggest is to visit a psychologist if you haven’t already. There’s no shame about it, i’ve gone many times and i don’t even have any mental illness. We all should go to a psychologist.

Now, i understand the pressure. We could think that those lot of posts about getting a full-time job as a web dev in 4-12 months of learning code from the beginning are really encouraging and motivating. And they totally are! I love them, they give me the life. But at the same time, there are a lot of pressure about it. Sometimes you see one’s portfolio and you notice that you actually share the same skills and you think, so why am i not landing that job? But there’s more than skills. I think that my linkedin profile is crappy, i couldn’t say i have a portfolio apart from some pens on code pen and some other things. So i know it’s in a huge part my fault.

Oh, a little bit of background about myself. I have 6 months now learning web development. I’ve always loved computers, but first time i tried to learn code, like 2 years ago, it just wasn’t my moment. Now it’s totally my moment! But the thing is, i started learning web dev because i’m from Venezuela, and situation is just getting worse and worse each day, literally. And earning some dollars, really any amount is just great, i can have some economical stability with something like $20 a month. So being a freelancer is just ok for me for now. But, i haven’t got any freelance job (as a web developer), just yet. That’s alright, i’ll get those eventually :slight_smile:

So, maybe you can check what you are not doing right. Check theodinproject.com and don’t necessarily follow the whole curriculum, just try to create those projects as best as you can, so you fill your portfolio. And, one think i noticed i was hugely missing was some CSS skills, so i’m improving those, and i feel good. People sometimes will be more interested in some better designed projects. You don’t have to be a designer! Just you know, some CSS :wink: (Just a suggestion).

I’ve seen that people hugely recommend writing about what you are doing and learning. Maybe some articles on Medium about what you’ve learnt. You don’t know how valuable it could be for someone else just starting, or in your same situation.

Now, in regards to the technologies you’ve learned, or the JavaScript full stack. You’ll totally find a lot of hate on JavaScript, complains that i don’t even understand when i enjoy how JavaScript can abstract some tasks and make them so elegant. Like using forEach, map, filter and reduce. Those solutions are so neat!

Furthermore, yes, there is hate for JavaScript, but haven’t you noticed how just almost every web dev position requires you to know JavaScript and its shinny frameworks to some extent? What some cool kids say about JS doesn’t really matter if JavaScript is pretty much the predominant language in the web. Plus, languages are tools, just tools. What really matter is your knowledge, you can learn a language in a few days. But if your concern is no finding jobs because of your stack, well, i don’t think so, JS is hugely in demand.

And about using node and noSQL databases over another language/framework and SQL database. I don’t really have idea, we’ll eventually learn it, but if those technologies are allowing you to complete the task you have to complete, then it’s fine. But i do understand if you would like to change to other technologies.

PHP can be messy, but the Laravel framework looks nice. And there are plenty of jobs with PHP, maybe they pay a little bit less, which in my case in Venezuela is not a problem as i mentioned, but i don’t know what is your situation.

In any case, don’t let the decision of the technologies you are using affect you so much. And this is something i’m struggling with myself! Not only the technologies, but the role. It was going great with learning full-stack web development and suddenly i got interested in Web Design, and that’s nice but it’s also terrible! Because i should get web dev jobs soon.

I apologize if i was rude at any point of this message, and i also apologize for the length of it. I just don’t want anyone to feel bad, or incapable, and even less to be depressed.

Reinforce your basics, look what you are lacking, evaluate if it is really necessary to learn another language, maybe get some freelance jobs. And keep learning, always keep learning.

I hope this can help you in any way.

Good luck, and have a great day!


I read your post and a few things jumped out at me:

For as long as I’ve been learning JavaScript and Node.js, I still couldn’t explain why Node would be used in a project over some other backend, or why MongoDB would be used over SQL. […]
I probably also wouldn’t be able to explain basic features of JS on the spot if it came to that.

I think answering these questions should become your next project, and it probably will be a research project. These are actually very good questions, each without easy or obvious answers. But making yourself research them will help give you more of a breadth of knowledge regarding where these fit in the whole development ecosystem. (Here are a few hints to help get you started: If I was managing a backend project, the first language I’d consider would be the one the most devs already knew, or the one most similar to one they knew, due to cost to ramp up. SQL = “very” structured data. NoSQL = more freeform data. Each has pros and cons.)

I’ve seen many who are experienced in professional development crap all over the language like it’s an underachieving child and argue about technical aspects that I have no idea about. Reading things like that there and elsewhere has really caused me to question whether I’m betting my livelihood on a reject language, one that’s likely to make me a laughing stock if I ever mention it among seasoned developers.

Most developers have a favorite language, and everything else is crap. It’s just what you are familiar with. Java devs think C# sucks, C++ devs think C sucks, Assembly programmers think everyone else sucks, etc. Each programming language is a tool. It’s more important to know what your tool is used for, what it’s good at, and what it isn’t good at. And be willing to admit it.

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Hi, I’m just passing by just to let you know that you’re not alone. I’m currently unemployed and my savings is going down the drain every second. In case you go homeless too I hope we meet in the streets. :slight_smile:

Kidding aside, tbh I’m also doubting my language of choice and just like you I ignored php and many other langs just cause I didn’t like the syntax and went full JS. (I came from java background) Although that may be bad, I think it would be nice to focus on one language first since every language has a lot of similarities anyway what’s important is the fundamentals and best practices.

Anyways, best of luck and hope we both get the job we want.

Just gotta push through… My only income for two years came from survey websites like mturk… I live in an area where there are no dev jobs… I have depression, anxiety, debt is mounting and can’t get a real job for this reason or that… Thing’s weren’t great, and they still aren’t… But, I started learning code in September… from html => css => php => javascript => solidity => node.js (now learning). I am not claiming to know everything about them all but I can work around in all of these languages now. Whether they are cool or w/e is said online is irrelevant; They’re all a set of tools to get a job done.

So, I like cryptocurrency stuff - it makes sense to work with something you like, right?

I’ve built a crypto-related blog after learning PHP & MySQL that now brings me income… I’ve also launched a URL shortener service that is advertised on the blog… Then I also have crypto faucet websites that I will soon add more functionality (games, etc)… I know the basics of Solidity & can launch tokens on the ethereum network, and I am working on a decentralized exchange AND a simulated exchange website for people to “play trade” crypto. All these sites get / will get ad revenue money, the blog gets emails from companies wanting to advertise on it… It’s not as much as a real job will bring me, but it’s not bad at all right now…and even if the crypto bubble bursts tomorrow I can still show everything I’ve built in my portfolio, giving me a better chance to get a job or get the freelance client.


If you can’t get a dev job for whatever reason then you should try to tap into your entrepreneurial side and create your own job. Find your thing and find out how to make money with it with the skills you have and the resources you have available to you.

Good Luck!


PHP is a great way to break into the industry. 70% of all websites still use PHP. So, they always need PHP developers to fix stuff.
Focus on one language and envelop it. All other languages are relatively the same.

Dam what a great video :slight_smile:

@StevenDStanton, @iamknox, @PortableStick, and others, I’ve edited/deleted parts of your posts that had references to the original user, as they wanted to be deleted from the thread.

Since this thread no longer involves the original user, I am closing it up. If you want to continue conversation anyway, let me know and I will re-open. Thank you!