I split this story into sections in case you just want to skip to how I got the job.
I came into my undergrad as undecided. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to study nor what career I wanted to be in. By my second year I had to choose something, so I went with a B.S. in mathematics (I always enjoyed math it in high school). I didn’t know where this would take me because I did not want to go into research or be a teacher, and I wasn’t comfortable with depending on my math skills solely in my job. One of the requirements for my degree was to take an intro class in Computer Science. The first language I learned was Visual Basic. To this day I have no knowledge of that language, but that one class motivated me to try the next upper level course which introduced Java. With my interest in math and algorithms, I was intrigued by how programming worked.
Fast forward now into my fourth year of college (it took me 5 years to finish school). I decided to graduate with a B.A. in Mathematics and a B.S. in Computer Science. I’m embarrassed to say that with my decision to get a developer job, I had little to no side projects of my own to show for it. I took a class with HTML, CSS, and JS, in a previous semester which I enjoyed immensely. I think it was because I enjoy art and I found ways to develop my own designs through programming.
A program called A100 by Independent Software came to my school once and spoke of their initiative to ready programmers for jobs (this was in my fourth year).
I waited until the following summer to go for it and I got in. I was the only woman with 20 something men (who were awesome by the way). I learned the necessary tools that current employers were looking for in their developers. This program also had many partner companies that we were encouraged to apply to.
The getting the job part:
At the end of the program, we had to present what each of us worked on in our groups. This not only showed potential employers what we were capable of but also how we felt when presenting to a group of people. On our graduation day (of the program, not school), one of the heads of a partner company approached me and invited me to come by the company. I was ecstatic. Since then, I have been in contact with the company and am now set up to be an intern this summer. I am excited but also suffering from imposter syndrome. Currently, I am trying to work on my own projects and learn Angular.js through Code School.
I still have a lot to learn. I will always have a lot to learn. I am willing to sit down and understand concepts, tools, frameworks that could help me develop into a more experienced programmer. That’s all I can really do, isn’t it?
Oh, and be a nice person.
I wish you all the best of luck in your own developer jobs!