Recent CS graduate needing advice on finding my first junior developer job. Getting desperate and discouraged

Hi all,

I’ve been worrying a lot lately. I graduated with a BS in CS this past December and since then I’ve been applying to some jobs. No one has called or contacted me and its been four months since graduating. Is there something I’m doing wrong? College doesn’t teach you a thing about how to find a job in the computer science field after graduating and I am struggling. There isn’t that many entry-level position postings compared to the non-entry-level positions. If I do find entry-level positions, they ask for so much to know in different technologies that wasn’t taught at my school. Nevertheless, I apply to the entry-level/jr postings that I find and just wait for no one to contact me later on. As the time to start paying off my student loans gets closer, I am stressing out. I went into the field because of my interest in programming and technology and thought that since programmers are always needed in any field that it wouldn’t be that hard to get a job. I was wrong. I just want to start my real career. I just want any entry-level position in CS. I want to start building my life instead of staying in my side-job in fast food. I guess my question now is if there is any advice/motivation that anyone has regarding finding an entry-level job in the CS field? I definitely need it…

Getting your foot into the door is very challenging indeed.

I would look at articles under this category.

There are hundreds of them sharing experiences on how they got their first jobs. You will find them helpful :slight_smile:

Job hunting is definitely really difficult – in my experience and those I’ve spoken to, finding that first job is the hardest. Some advice:

  1. If looking outside of the area you currently live in is an option – definitely go for it, some cities have way more job openings especially at entry level, than others.
  2. Network! Many people don’t like networking (honestly I don’t know anyone who really does) but I think that at a certain point it becomes necessary when you’re trying to do anything and everything to get a job. Go to local meetups and talk to people – someone just might be hiring!
  3. Work on side projects – you mentioned you’ve already got a side job so this may or may not be feasible. There’s a lot of tutorials and other kinds of (free) resources out there to help you get started
  4. Contact your school’s career development office (or if there’s one in the computer science dept, contact them) – they may have resources like an alumni network you haven’t tapped into yet.
  5. Keep practicing for interviews – go through books like Cracking the Coding Interview and do problems on Leetcode
  6. Take care of yourself! Make sure that you give yourself all the tools you need to do all of the above and present your best self at interviews

Good luck in your search!

The only additional advice I would offer besides what is already written in several Getting a Developer Job stories, is that your university probably has a career center and they are probably still willing to help you even after you have graduated. These services are extremely helpful resources.

Remember rule of thumb: apply for any job in which you qualify for 60% or more of the qualifications. That’s it, 60%. Most job postings don’t really need all they are posting for.

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My advice is short, but not exactly simple.
Apply, Network, and keep learning

Apply to more jobs, even jobs you aren’t qualified for. If you apply to 500 jobs in a month, and only 1% of those go thru to interviews you still get 5 interviews in a month!. Expand your search to any programming work, anywhere. Don’t apply to 5 places and say “oh thats all I can do” apply to 50 and say “thats not enough!”. The shotgun effect can only help you :smiley: Obviously you will get rejected doing this, but the key is being able to find out why if you can. If your not qualified in X, then maybe you should go learn more about it, or do more projects using it. The goal is to find out why your not qualified, less so of just magically finding a job you fit perfectly.

Network unfortunately the best place and time to network is at college. You can debate the usefulness of what you learn at school but you can’t debate the facilities they provide. Most universities offer job fairs, networking events, clubs and any number of other opportunities to network with your peers and employers. Now since your out of school, you might still be able to get into some of these events as an alumni, so keep an eye out. Otherwise, go to meetups, job fairs at other colleges, any tech job fairs nearby, tech conferences, anything you can with a stack of resumes and your best clothes. You never know who you will meet and what you will find If anything you will at least get more experience on what you need to learn to get qualified.

Keep learning during this whole process, there’s almost more to learn and anything you find from applying and networking should feed directly into what you keep learning. You might of learned Java at school and nothing else, but Javascript is the most popular language out there, and there are tons of web development jobs, maybe learn Javascript on the side (this is just an example, a mostly true one, but an example non-theless). Maybe all the jobs near where you want to work are all for Python, or C#, you can learn more about what you need to know from searching it up and feeling out the job market. Don’t assume you already know what you need to know (school gives you some stuff, but its never “reactive” to the actual job market, its the core knowledge)

Finally, I wanted to give a quick summary of my story. I got OK grades from an OK school. The two things I focused on during my time at college was, networking and learning about the job market and getting those skills ASAP. I was given 2 semesters on Java and that’s it in terms of programming. I knew that wasn’t enough and went out and learned Python in my spare time to get a different view of programming. Near the end of my college career I applied to internships and networked myself during my internship to not only get an extension, but impressed enough people to get hired. I mainly did this thru seeking knowledge and lets be serious dumb luck. I was fortunate in a number of ways, but I know the idea that graduating college and grabbing a job with no work is just not true. You still gotta work to find that job, fight for the job, and grind to be able to get the job. Most of the people I graduated with didn’t get a Software Engineering job out of college because they did just that, which is basically nothing but get a piece of paper saying you got a degree.

Keep applying, keep networking, keep learning, grinding and fighting for that job. Getting out of college is just the start, college should give you a good base set of knowledge but it doesn’t give you much more, you gotta keep improving to get where you need to go

Goodluck :smiley:

Common situation. Everyone needs professionals with five years of experience. And the requirements for beginners are such that I began to doubt in my skills and knowledge. I even wanted to change my profession and go to work as a salesman. But my teacher recommended attaching a cover letter to my CV. And who would have thought that it would work. I was hired as an assistant programmer. I would like to start working as a programmer, but I understand that I still don’t have enough skills.