Tips for getting out of a rut

I like to think I have skills but I’m terrified of being under-qualified and stop myself from even thinking about applying. I’ve been stuck for the last few years with only an associate’s degree and certifications to prove I actually know something. My dad really wants me to get out there and actually start working. I am pretty sure I know at least entry level Typescript, C#, Java, React, and database management but when I see a job posting I panic. It’s a lot easier to try to experiment by adding pull requests on GitHub but I doubt that will actually get me anywhere though.

Just remember, you lose 100% of the chances you don’t take. It is OK if you are underqualified and don’t get the job. Just like coding, practice and you will become better at it. Also, remember to customize your resume to the job description. If you have experience with the technology they are looking for, make certain it is listed on your resume in a visible location. If you don’t have all of the experience they’re looking for it is OK to still apply. Companies are looking for potential just as much as experience. Many companies have a referral program that will pay employees for leads. Referrals typically get reviewed first and have a higher likelihood of getting an interview. If you know someone at the company, ask them to refer you for the role. If you don’t know anyone, try to meet another developer via LinkedIn. Many people are more than open to referring someone they don’t know well. It is a win/win for everyone.

Do you apply to the job anyways? Odds are you’ll have to apply to a multitude of jobs to even get an interview. Rejection is part of the process, it might feel, like a big deal, but it isn’t.

Another way to look at it is every job you apply to should be a learning experience. If things go sideways, or no ways, try to learn what you can for it and apply again. There’s no shortage of jobs to apply to, so don’t feel bad for not getting an interview, or job offer for every job you’re applying to.

Ultimately during the process you should be able to get feedback on what employers expect from you. So you’ll go from “pretty sure about knowing” to knowing if you really do have what it takes to get the job. Of course this means asking for feedback at every stage of the process and facing “failure” for not getting a job, or even a response.

Just keep in mind, it’s a learning experience, and that getting rejected is all part of it. Most job searches take months, and there are plenty of people who apply to hundreds of jobs before getting hired. Hopefully it wont take that long, but it might, regardless just aim to get feedback during the process, and use that to improve for the next one.

Good luck, keep learning, keep building :+1:


I’m too scared to. I need to get off my butt and actually apply. But I’m worried that A) The company may not be legitimate B) It may not be an LGTBQ+ inclusive work environment C) That I may not have all the skills required for the job.

Do some basic background checks on any company you apply for. Fake job posts do exist, but just do your due diligence. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. You might really want a job, but you really don’t want to get scammed.

Some clear signs you can use to verify are email addresses. Getting an email from an official domain which you can cross reference should help you verify.

Most companies (at least in the US) are legally bound by anti-discrimination laws. That said, company culture might be something you are looking for where some companies are “more inclusive”. I’d do some research on any company to see.

This might be the one area where you have the most control and impact on the situation. If you find you don’t have the skills required for the job, then get that feedback on how to improve and go out and try to improve in that area.

Ultimately if you apply to job X one month, and a few months down the line you apply again to the same sort of position you’d want to be in a better/improved spot from the last time.

I’d start applying to anything. The worst that could happen is actually nothing, where you get ghosted and don’t even get rejected, your application just sits in limbo forever.

If anything getting used to the process of applying to jobs is part of the process. Heck apply to jobs way out of your league if you’re concerned about other parts of the process. Getting some “early rejections” out of the way might help break the ice.

Want to apply to a Staff engineer position at Google making 300k a year that requires 20+ years of experience? Sure!!! going through the process might help you get used to the application process with near guarantees you wont get further in the process (unless you really are that qualified!)

Good luck, keep learning keep building :+1:

Thank you. I’m concerned about laws that may or may not exist that protect heavily discriminated Americans. As someone that possibly is (and is way too panicked to explore it further) a member of that discriminated community ; it’s a very relevant issue for me.

I’d suggest finding the strength to look into it more if its a very relevant issue for you. Knowing is better than not knowing, as otherwise you might otherwise you might fall prey to “fear itself”, rather than the actual problem as presented. Or its possible you have less to than initially though to worry about.

For complete reference, here’s the link I was referring to early about anti-discriminations laws:

Going back to what I said earlier though, if this is one aspect of what’s “holding you back” there is also less you can do about this than other aspects you could be concerned about. You could try to take the hesitancy and general “fear” and “put it to work” by investing it into your skills. Again, your skills are what matter the most, and ultimately what will decide if you get the job or not. Its the one part of the equation you have the most control over, compared to external factors like work environments.

Finally, discrimination does not magically disappear due to laws, the same way all kinds of illegal activity still happens, even though its illegal. That said, tech is a rather inclusive and open-minded profession compared to others. Lots of people in tech grew up around computers for one reason or another, and some of those reasons lean into more “non-traditional backgrounds”.

There is also the nature of tech aiming to be as inclusive, and expansive for everyone. From a sheer business perspective, if what you build is built in mind for everyone, you will do better than if you build something with a single perspective in mind.

Hi @a2937 !

I was in a similar position to you before I applied to the job I have now.
I kept thinking I had to keep studying until I am 100% ready.
Fear is normal when you pursuing your first job.
But the reality is that you will never be 100% ready.
There will be things you will have to learn on the job by working on a large codebase.
But you will learn so much on the job and grow a lot as a software developer.

It is important to remember that most candidates will never meet 100% of the requirements on the job postings.
If you have some of the requirements, then I would suggest applying and seeing what happens.

I would suggest reaching out to engineers that work at the company.
You can reach out on linkedin or twitter and ask for a quick coffee chat.
If you are able to find previous employees that worked at that company, that is even better because they are probably going to be more honest with you since they no longer work for the company.

I talked with 6 or 7 current and former developers to get a sense of what the company was like before I applied.

I also reached out to my developer network to learn about companies to avoid.

You can also read reviews on glassdoor to check which companies are legit or not.

That is a risk.
If you have a developer network to reach out to, you can learn about job leads through there and learn about healthy companies to work for.

Good companies understand what it means to hire a junior.
If they see potential, then they will be willing to take a chance on you where you can learn on the job.
Good companies will provide mentorship and guidance because they are investing in the long term.

Hope that helps!


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