Tips for getting that first developer job

When searching for developer jobs, I am finding that every job posting I come across requires at least 1 year (usually more) of developer work experience.
How does one get that first job without prior (professional) dev experience? It feel like a Catch-22.

I would love to hear stories, tips, recommendations.



Hello Anders,

I am currently doing an internship as a Front-End developer in a cloud marketplace company. I would like to share a few tips with you.

If you are looking for a developer job and you have no work experience, aim for front-end development.
As you get more experience, you can move to other fields such as backend, QA, full stack, etc.

To get that job, you will need to have a strong resume. You can improve your resume by doing projects, joining societies, doing hackathons, etc.

As for the essantial skills to have for front-end:

  • basics: html/css/javascript/jquery/bootstrap
  • other: git, bash

when you learn the basics pick a javascript framework:

  • angular 2, react, etc.
  • learn how to build apps that use apis, are tested (mocha, chai, etc).

My current task at my internship is to do a FAQs for the marketplace using react.

I cannot show you the code, for privacy reasons, but my boilerplate looks like this:

Mistakes I made:
Once, I got my internship, I realized that all my projects were extremely basic.I used to purchase classes on udemy, and watch tutorials on youtube. This is misleading, as most of them are extremely outdated.

The best way to learn is to get your hands dirty, go on github, fork stuff and play with the code. FreeCodeCamp is not bad.


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You gave some good advice for getting the first job. So, how did you get your internship?

Great, so one suggestion is to start with an internship which makes a lot of sense. Excellent advice!

Yes, how did you land your internship? Is it paid/unpaid?

I am studying Software Engineering COOP in University, and doing 3 internships is a requirement of my program. The COOP office has a massive job bank and all the companies that hire a coop student get 24% tax return on my salary and my supervisors’s. Seems easy right?

Wrong, I applied to around 90 jobs and only got 3 interviews. My resume was really poor, only had 3 basic projects poorly coded and only knew basic java, html, css, javascript, php, bootstrap and jquery. For my interviews what I did was talked about my projects and that lasted like 20 minutes.

I am currently a second 2nd year student and I will be looking for another internship this summer. I will be competing against all the students from 4 different universities to get an internship this summer. The competition is fierce, so I plan on doing 3 full stack projects, finish freecodecamp, doing 2 hackathons, getting more into open source, and learning a few programming languages/frameworks to get at least some interviews.

If are not a student
Perhaps you are working full time or other reason,yes it is harder to get a job but not impossible. Just improve your resume and apply to TONS of jobs online. Good luck.

Thanks for this. I am actually a high school student, so, I have to try to squeeze in just 2 hours a night for programming, but this was helpful.

One route is to get a job at a software company in some other capacity and be the guy/gal who people throw things at when they know they need to get done and done right. At first, you’re going to be the person doing all the crap work.

Slowly, as your co-workers and boss start to know that they can rely upon you, start being a squeaky wheel about wanting to get your hands on the code. When they have a new gee-whiz type idea that isn’t quite deserving of dev time yet, be the person to raise your hand to do the skunkworks.

In review meetings or weekly catch-ups, straight up tell them your goal is to be a dev. A lot of companies take straight-talk like that very seriously and will do whatever they can to help you get there. Worst case scenario, they don’t try to help out or take you seriously and you know that this isn’t a company where you want to spend a lot of time.

I know a few people who have taken that route and are getting their foot in the dev door, myself included. At this point, I’d list my position as part-customer support/part-web designer/part front-end dev. As time goes on, I am shifting more and more to the dev end of that spectrum.

At some point, I’ll be able to list 1 year of web dev experience without ever having to have “gotten that first job”.

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