Three months into a job search, some thoughts


I had some bad experience with a startup not offering pay. It was m only time but organization was poor and no pay offered little commitment. My policy now leans more toward money. If money is involved, it’s going to demand more effort and quality. That is just how the world works. You have to pay for what you want. But hey if a startup is serious and really well organized, I’m sure they can make it without money too, that was just my experience.



Consider taking contract (temp) jobs. Very often a 3 or 6 month contract will be extended, and very often it opens the door to staying on as a permanent employee.

Yeah. I’ve considered that. It’s tough because my wife and I depend on the meager income I currently make, especially as my wife’s hours got cut back this year. My wife and I agreed that if I got offered a contract of at least 6 months, then it would be worth the risk. We’re not dying, but without my income we would be. I’m not in a position to take big risks.

Would you be willing to travel or relocate for a job?

I could do it if paid enough. It would be tough being away from my wife, but it would have to make enough money to replace the meager salary at my current job and make enough to cover those new living expenses, so my salary demands would be even higher. That, and I imagine they would be hesitant to hire me without meeting me in person, so I’ve kind of ignored this. But maybe you’re right. I have looked at a few jobs in Sacramento and Stockton (90 minute drive) thinking I could rent a commuter room during the week, but those didn’t pan out. Not yet, anyway.

I’ve gotten jobs in one state through recruiters in another state.

Yeah, I have no problem with that. I’ve gotten calls from recruiters from all over the country. (Although, it is a bit odd that they all have Indian accents. Not that that bothers be in any way, just that it’s odd that of the dozen recruiters that have contacted me by phone or email, every one of them was Indian.)

As much as I dislike posting my personal and professional info on LinkedIn, it is a place where recruiters search for job candidates.

Yup, doing Linkedin.

…but you can also get paid for your work through places like upwork.com2, freelancer.com1, etc. Even if the pay is low at first, …

Yeah, I’m not averse to that. I intend to dive into this over the summer break when I have some time. My frustration is that most of the ads I’ve seen are along the lines of “I need a web site, how much will it cost.” And people actually bid on this.


I had some bad experience with a startup not offering pay.

Yeah, I get the whole “we’re bootstrapping so we don’t have a lot of money”, but I can’t help you much if I’m homeless. Again, I don’t mind low pay, but I need some pay to pay the rent.


The first one was an insane React/Redux app with over 100 components. It was way above my pay grade, but it was an interesting look at that kind of app and really drove home my need to get better at CSS.

I had a similar experience to this when I tried to get some volunteering experience. The project was a pretty complex website with a very long user input form and a dashboard so that admins could edit the site data online. Behind it was a giant Angular project with about 40,000 lines of code. Some of the html templates were over a 1000 lines.

Even if you can understand the code, working with a big project like that is pretty daunting - particularly when you haven’t been involved in building it (Christ, even my own projects confuse me after a few months).


I got one offer from a startup. They needed someone with Node/Express/Mongo for their backend. They wanted 15 hours/week with no pay, but equity

I don’t know where you’re at right now / what you’re doing, but this would’ve been a great learning experience if you had the time.


Yeah, I wasn’t ready to tie myself down right away with something like that. 15 hours a week would have been pretty much all of my free time. I figured if I got something like that so fast, it wouldn’t be hard to find another one. I figure there are more than a few people that want free labor. I may end up doing something like that eventually, but wanted to try a few other options first.


@ksjazzguitar, about the Indian recruiters, there are of course many valid Indian recruiters at valid American companies. There are also Indian recruiters in India using American phone numbers and working for agencies (American or otherwise) that mainly recruit people to work for a low wage.

Check the website of the agency any recruiter is from, along with reviews of that agency. Sometimes, a number of recruiters will contact you about the same job. You’ll want to choose a solid agency, a good recruiter (one who knows his job and is responsible about following up, and a good account exec (the person who represents you to the client company).

Regarding long-distance interviews, these are less likely because you’d be a junior coder, but it’s very common to do face-to-face interviews on the phone/computer via Skype. I’ve also been hired over the phone with no in-person interview on at least three occasions (but I was experienced - this was for software testing, not coding).

All this assumes the offer would be for a standard market rate of pay. You shouldn’t have to accept low pay just to break into this field. Your decision to accept a contract if it’s at least six months long is reasonable. Just be aware that the employer can break the contract before then for any number of reasons (not getting the budget they expected, scrapping the project, another coder returning from a leave of absence, etc.)

If you do get an offer for a three-month contract that looks good every way but timewise, you might see if you could get a leave of absence from your regular job, so that you could take the contract and then return to your job.


Yeah, but I assume that about any job. Any job change is a gamble. I always assume I can be let go at any point.

It would be nice, but not really an option. I am an independent contractor teaching music lessons. Kids form a bond with their teacher so these places don’t like big disruptions. Anything more than a month and it will just be easier for them to keep the new guy that isn’t looking for an exit strategy.

However, I might be able to cut back on my days if I got a part time offer.


I’ve had the same experience on your point 1. That’s why I’ve decided not to give my phone number to ANY recruitment cosultant/agency. I just share a resume version without my phone number, just my email. If I like what I read I reply and if it continues to sound good, then I’d call them.
I find most of these guys are highly incompetent; they don’t read your email/linkedin and they just throw anything at you so they can get a commission. It’s like a bait on a fisherman’s hook, just throw it in and see what happens.
On getting extra training to build up some confidence, try I can’t emphasize enough how useful and thorough this course is. It helps you plug the holes in your knowledge of JS fundamentals and builds on newly acquired skills by building an app that gets more and more complex. Go ahead and have a look. If only i knew about this course i wouldn’t have wasted so much time in abstract books and code challenges; had i known about this course, i would’ve stayed more focused on what really matters when you start coding, namely, understand the fundamentals using just vanilla stuff. That foundation is so important when you want to move on to libraries and frameworks. If you’re not solid on proper understanding of programming and want to learn say node or apply for a proper job, then this flaw in your knowledge will comeback and bite your backside. Armed with this knowledge you can go ahead and “build something” as some people blindly advise.