Job positions to increase chances of landing a 'Jr' role?

Hi, all. My coding journey started at a bootcamp in 2017. I can’t seem to get a job. Any advice on job titles to apply to increase my chances of getting that ‘Jr’ position?

Can you check out my portfolio site and give me some pointers?

Portfolio

Crap I just started a bootcamp! Just kidding I feel good about it. I think the trick is hard work and building stuff to show people you know what you’re doing.

Your portfolio site isn’t terrible, but it’s not exactly ideal. Unless your goal is in UI/UX/design, I’d suggest dialing down on visual effects and focusing on making a clean & simple design. I’d further suggest not using JavaScript on your site, just make it plain HTML and CSS. Your projects can use JS, but your site shouldn’t.

It seems to be pretty obvious that you’re “designing” your projects to an extent, but I’d recommend not doing that unless your goal is to be a designer. Make all of your designs as simple & clean as possible—making obvious attempts at design, particularly when your designs aren’t very good, could be potential turn-offs for employers who are looking for a developer. Basically it needs to be obvious from a quick glance at your portfolio site if you’re a designer or developer (although some people do have talent for both).

About your projects specifically, from a brief look they all look like either some type of game or “toy” app. If you want your projects to impress potential employers, they should address a business problem. That means no “toy” apps and definitely no game-type stuff. Make things like an e-commerce shopping cart, or a basic multi-user CRUD app. Make an SPA and PWA. Make things that consume from popular APIs.

Also, only list the skills that you’re most comfortable with and can easily answer questions about in an interview. No offense intended, but if you consider yourself a junior developer, I highly doubt you know React and Angular equally well, and Node.js and Rails equally well. In fact, I’d be willing to bet you know React better than Angular based on the skills listed, so take off Angular.

That said, your job search strategy in general matters a ton. Don’t be only blindly applying online, it’s the least effective way of actually landing a job. Get out and meet other developers at local tech meetups, and attend career fairs, hiring events, and hackathons. Network as much as possible, and try to find other people to code with, either in-person or through GitHub.

And contribute to open source repos on GitHub. Creating your own projects from scratch is all well and good, and you should definitely know how to do that, but in the real world, especially for junior dev roles, you’ll inevitably be working on an existing codebase through a platform like GitHub, Bitbucket, or GitLab. Your GitHub activity doesn’t show any evidence that you know how to code with other developers, so I’d suggest to start establishing a track record.

Lastly, always assume that your LinkedIn profile and resume will be reviewed by recruiters and HR more often than anything else when you’re applying to jobs. Not as many people will be checking either your portfolio site or your GitHub, even though you should continue to maintain those. You didn’t provide your resume, which is probably the most critical part in getting past online applications, so you need to make sure it’s the best that it can be.

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I am not a professional programmer and in similar situation to OP.

Thank you @astv99 for the good advice, but I will have to disagree with the first part:

You do touch on it later, but the portfolio is 100% key IMO. (and i could be wrong).

I don’t know the hiring process, but IF i were a recruiter for a programming I’d click the first click I saw in the resume. Not sure I’d even read the rest, if the site looks pretty/professional i’d put it into the maybe pile. My 5 seconds of ‘view time’ would be the portfolio website and it’s ‘home page’ (how it loads, no scroll)

But that again is just my 2 cents.

The rest of your advice seems great. And thank you for sharing!

@astv99 - thank you for your long response, man. First off, I didn’t realize I was putting in time ‘designing’ my projects, but now that you’ve mentioned it, I have to admit it’s true. I will take your recommendation about not putting unnecessary effort into this aspect of a project.

I am not satisfied with my portfolio site. Always felt it was too busy, but I kept piling more 'design stuff on it to ‘fix’ it… I guess it shows. I’m not going to revamp the site just yet. One, because I feel bad about the time I put into it. Two, like you said, not many hiring people look at my portfolio. Maybe by the end of March, I will take the plunge and just do it, scrap it all.

Someone also told me to build projects that solve a ‘business problem’. I will take this to heart for the next project I work on. Thank you.

On that whole not including technologies I’m not comfortable with… it’s so conflicting. Jobs list so many things. I want to at least show I’d been exposed to this or that. I will look into ways to include, but not highlight, stuff I don’t know well.

I’m horrible at networking. I go through phases of attending and not attending meetups. They take a lot of my energy and sometimes after a session I question its usefulness (for me). I’m now in the phase of going to them again :man_shrugging:

Thanks, man, I appreciate your response. Any good open source projects you’d recommend junior folks check out?

@DavidEspinoza - sorry, I didnt mean to discourage people. I really enjoyed the bootcamp experience. I’m positive it works out for many people… just not yet for me, I guess. Good luck!

@pjonp - you brought up some good points. I don’t know who is right, maybe there is room for both views to be right. My take home from this thread is to put serious effort in building projects that solve ‘business problems’ and possibly contribute to open source projects. Good luck on your journey.

You don’t need to show that you’ve been exposed to everything, and it’s often better to show that you know more about a few things. Angular in particular is often used with the Microsoft stack (C#/.NET, SQL Server, etc), so if you’re not familiar with that stack, I’d recommend not listing it. React and Rails, on the other hand, are often used together, so if you have that knowledge, I’d suggest building full-stack apps with Rails & React.

Your primary goal in networking should be two-fold: getting to know other developers (i.e., connecting with your local tech community) and finding ways to apply to jobs in-person (through recruiters and HR). If you’re in the Seattle area, I’d imagine this should be easy to do considering the proliferation of companies like Amazon and Microsoft in the area. In fact, if you’re looking to work at either of those companies, I’d be willing to bet they host tons of events that should be easy to find, and I’d bet they have intern opportunities as well. When you don’t have experience, you have to look for the easiest ways to get in, and if I were you, I’d be looking to meet & connect with developers who actually work at Amazon and/or Microsoft. To those companies’ HR departments you’re just another applicant, but if you can find a developer who works at either company that could vouch for you down the line, that could potentially help you a ton to get in.

As far as contributing to open source, these links should get you started:
https://www.firsttimersonly.com/

Applying to job titles isn’t the issue here …

What’s your resume looking like these days? With a 2-3 year employment gap I think employers are generally a bit weary of hiring a bootcamp grad with that large of a gap.

I’ll be really honest here and I think other people on FCC would agree that your portfolio website needs a major overhaul.

  1. What’s with the 2000’s style stars flying around on the screen? Have you ever seen this on any major website? If Amazon/Facebook/Any major website doesn’t use it don’t use it.
  2. The overall design of the website doesn’t make sense, don’t code your own portfolio website from scratch. Take inspiration from other portfolios and take theirs / their best ideas.
  3. Skill section was mentioned already
  4. The projects you have built - was this from the bootcamp? What’s with the kids theme for half the projects? Are you applying to toys r us? Contributing to open source might be more useful here.
  5. Your projects GitHub files … why did you not use the git ignore? Some of your projects are saving crash logs

Considering the cost of opportunity you might have to take a close look at whether you really want to continue with this.

What exactly are you implying here?

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With anything there is an opportunity cost to it. He could be working to pursue a different credential/ work in another field and find an easier path to employment (his end goal)

He is pursuing web dev and has been pursuing it for over 2-3 years and has been unsuccessful in finding his career in it. Of course we can all promote the same positive affirmations that the person should continue on trying to find a job in web dev. My opinion is that web dev much like cooking is a skill and not everyone is meant to be a professional at it.

I definitely couldn’t be a professional cook. If I went to culinary school and couldn’t find a job as a junior chef for 2-3 years I’d probably wonder if maybe I should be switching my career at that point.

He seems skilled enough that he can probably find employment but again 2-3 year employment gap is hard to overcome for anyone in any field.

Just 2 cents.

Since we have no idea what type of searching/applying for positions the user has tried, I think it is a bit premature to make such a suggestion. I just really do not believe we have enough information about the user’s job search process to make such an assessment.

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@astv99 Thank you. I spent some time looking at repos via your link’s link - https://up-for-grabs.net/. Come to think of it, this might be the first time I actually looked at this length through open source projects. The TeacherFund_Next project seems appealing. I want to explore more of it.

@veilance The crash logs going through in my commits were just carelessness on my part. Many projects I built where not part of the bootcamp. I really appreciate your comment ‘He seems skilled enough that he can probably find employment’. I go back and forth between wondering if I’m cut it for this or not, these kind of words help. Thank you.

@RandellDawson I try a mixture of things- Indeed, LinkedIn, Craigslist, networking. I looked into places like Upwork, but haven’t submitted proposals. People say it’s a numbers a game, maybe by some metrics I just havent been doing my due diligent at pushing myself out there more. I don’t know. Thank you for suggesting there might not be enough info about me to make certain assessments. @veilance has some points and so do you.

my opinion was that the user should take a second to consider his options and see if this is still the correct path for the user to take

the user said he tried 2-3 years of applying and was seeking advice I merely gave an opinion on it

Hey there @safiyc.

I just joined the community and this is my first response. Ok, so quick thing about me so you can decide what to do with a stranger’s advice: I’ve been in SW for 10 years and I job hop a lot. I mentor devs on the side on getting their careers started and getting promoted.

So what is my advice in this space? I’ll focus on a few elements to start.

First, I want you to apply to at least 3 jobs a week. Apply to anything related to your field that doesn’t have the word Senior in it. There are no standard titles in our field, so if you’re limiting yourself to the word junior or entry you are missing on every company who just doesn’t label that. I also want you to apply all the time so you can dial in your resume, portfolio, and other things. You need feedback to find out what is working and isn’t.

Second, your resume is still required for every job you apply to, but your portfolio isn’t. I know this is nuts since everyone screams about portfolios. The reality is they won’t look at your portfolio if your resume is garbage. You have 60-90 seconds with a resume to earn the click to your portfolio and convince them to call you. Your resume needs to match keywords in the posting (And you have to back it up) and you need to move your experience items to be outcome focused instead of task focused.

Third, your portfolio has to be something that a more senior peer saw they would find no problems. Your portfolio has to show people the good things you can do without any bad. No javascript warnings, semantic html, clean css. Even if your portfolio gets less flashy, focus on getting the few things right. Same with GitHub. Move your incomplete projects to private and put a few up there that you’re fine with an employer judging you on.

Last, fifty-two percent of all jobs are filled through referral. If you haven’t exhausted your network, start reaching out. LinkedIn and Glassdoor are useful here. Get them your resume and portfolio and have them put it in. Don’t feel ashamed to do this, many companies offer a referral bonus.

This is my very condensed advice. There’s a lot more detail here, but this is part of the curriculum I use with my mentees. They typically get a job in six months or less.

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