What i am doing wrong as jun. Dev in UK?

Hi everyone!

At this point it feels impossible to get a junior dev position in UK without commercial experience or degree.

I am learning mobile development for 2 years now. Coming from engineering working in oil&gas. Started by codeacdemy course for full stack mobile dev and continued myself with React Native. Implemented Firebase as database + backend + auth and SqLite as local database. Currently pubslished my first big project, smartBasket, kind of a grocery list for families, where ine user can create a basket and the pther access and see all products and tick them off as he does shopping.

I realised that i feel really tempting back end and started second project with Node.js + express + mongoDb.

I am applying for junior jobs as Node.js dev and React Native dev, about 90% of application of mine are through LinkedIn. I have applied to at least 150 jobs, and some of them dont even reply, the rest say that i dont suit them. Only had 1 interview and the interview realised that he company looking for React dev, not React Native.

At this point I am so loooooost, i just cant even land an interview, it seems impossible to do it in the Uk.

To be honest, i prefer become a back end dev more that React Native, but i just dont understand how to land a job. Maybe i need to learn some other back end techniques and languages? Maybe it is worth to learn .Net + C sharp and it will give more chances to land something?

I dont know, just because i really enjoy coding and development, spend every single spare minute into learning and developing. This became my only hobby. Maybe i am just to old to start it at age of 27. But just really want to follow my dream but it is not happening.

Please, i would be grateful for any advice. Should i start learning something different in backend, or continue with node, or keep trying to land a job as React Native ? Is it even possible as a jun?

Much appreciate your time!

Hi @adikbsw, first off 27 is not even close to being to old. I must preface that I’m still new to programming and not currently a developer. However, I attached a few helpful links. I have read many articles on your plight as it was a concern of mine as well and perhaps see a couple of missing keys for you that others have pointed out that worked for them.

1.) Network: Talk to anyone and everyone you know or don’t know about programming.

2.) Hackathons: where you meet like minded and works with point 1. Gives you more experience and with a deadline, all the while working in a team environment.

3.) Contribute to Open Source Projects.

4.) Volunteer to work for a Non-Profit Organization to build them a web site or work on their web site or in your case offer mobile. Of course it would give you an opportunity to learn a new language or skill if they require something you have not done. This would lead to personal and professional growth, which would make you more valuable and gives you real world experience working for a company.

5.) Build a website displaying your portfolio. (you may have already, I didn’t see you mention)

6.) Brand yourself. Start a Youtube channel about your journey. Write a blog.

Hope this might help.
Thanks,
Hal Jordan

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HI @adikbsw !

Welcome to the forum!

Honestly that might be part of the issue.
Linkedin has that easy apply button but everyone uses that same button so there will be a flood of applicants.
The market for junior developers is really competitive and there are so many trying to get their first jobs.

For Linkedin, you need to have a good linkedin profile. You also need to know how to connect with others on linkedin for potential job opportunities.

Linkedin is where hiring managers and recruiters hang out.
If you have a strong profile, then it will make it is easier for recruiters to find you.
Watch this series by Danny Thompson so you will know how linkedin can help you land a job.

Junior developers all around the world are feeling this.
There is a huge influx of juniors trying to get that first job.

That is why it is really important that you do other things besides just hitting that apply button.
Honestly, your best chance of success is knowing how to network and having someone on the inside of that company fighting for you.
That is what happened in my situation and a lot of developers I know.
I just started a new job and I was able to get an interview because I knew a few developers at the company including the CEO.
When I applied, I let the CEO know that I had applied and within a week I had gone through the behaviour interview and was just assigned the take home assignment.
I was able to move through the process pretty quickly because I knew people at the company.
If I hadn’t done that, it probably would have been weeks before I heard anything. If I heard back at all.

Now I get to work with a developer at a cool company and I still get to be staff author for freeCodeCamp. I am immensely grateful for my community for that.

That is why it is so important to build a community of developers and interact with them regularly.
When it comes time to apply for jobs, your community can advocate for you and let you know of opportunities at their current jobs.

I think you should watch Leon’s video on how to land a junior dev job.
He gives practical advice on how to land that first job.

Hope that helps! :grinning:

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There is a glut of juniors, because there isn’t really a barrier to entry, so anyone can say “I’ve learned to do x or y development”.

For an employer, sorting that pile is quite difficult. A degree may make sorting much easier. Relevant experience definitely makes sorting much easier.

Degree doesn’t have to be in CS. IME what the degree is doesn’t make a huge difference as long as it is relateable (engineering, sciences, maths, languages, design, etc etc). Relevant experience is, if anything, more valuable (obviously depends on sector). Do bear in mind that a degree is effectively (not identically, but roughly) someone working full time for 3-4 years in a subject area.

First job is often very difficult to get, subsequent jobs are normally relatively easy to get. What specific languages/frameworks you know isn’t terribly important ouside of very specialised areas. For example, I work with RN as part of my job and neither I nor any of the other developers who contribute to the RN applications had ever worked with RN before, and only two had worked with React (one being me).

However

These are normally pretty different roles: GUI developer vs. [normally] API developer. Even at really small companies, it makes sense to split that work between different developers, because there are a very different set of constraints for each.

So what @jwilkins.oboe says is really important. Just going to things like meetups is really important, actually talking to physical people. And re the applications, 150 over what period of time? Because if it’s a short period of time, I have questions re how you’re finding that many junior positions in a given geographic area, but anyway. It sounds scattershot – I can remember doing this myself, and that approach doesn’t work very well.

Questions re this: how long in engineering, when did you do degree, why do you want to take what looks very much like a big step down (financially if nothing else). Because if an applicant has “engineer” on their CV, then IME they’re going up to the top of the pile to have a closer look at every time – that’s normally relevant experience. So question then becomes what are doing that then bumps you down the pile?

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Thanks a lot for your reply.
I read all comments, just people mentioning the relationship above, that seems sooo unfair in terms of equal opportunities. Surely this cannot be a thing, at least in UK. Each company needs to present proves of giving equal opportunities to candidates applying to a position and saying that “know him personally” could affect company in a really bad way.

In terms of my motivation of downgrading, it is due to the fact that i found that coding/programming is a massive passion of mine and i would really love to spend all my time in it. Also it will give me an opportunity to work from home to be closer to my wife. But the first point is much greater.

I guess you are right and maybe probably is in my CV.

Relative fact that being RN dev and backend dev is two different things, i do understand that but just at this point i am using RN to learn new skills even as a front end for learning Node.js, so if there is an opportunity to start as RN dev i would happily take it. But yes, my main aim is the backend development.

That’s not quite what people are saying here.

There’s a reason why every single company asks employees if they know anyone who might fill a role when they’re looking to hire. And why a very large % of companies offer bonuses for recommendations. Hiring is really hard.

A CV is just a piece of paper with a list of basic stuff, there’s no subtleties. And even if someone gets past the instant judgement that’s made on the CV and reaches interview stage, an interview is one of the most stressful situations you can put someone in.

So yes, companies have to open up opportunities. But if someone from a company is at, for example, a meetup, they’re often there because they want to go somewhere to talk about programming, or listen to people talk about programming. It’s basically a non-stressful social situation.

You still have to apply to a job if you had a conversation with someone who said they were hiring. But what would have been a cursory inspection of the CV by a recruiter would now be by someone who can fill in some of the bits you’ve missed out/forgotten/thought weren’t important/etc. So, for example instead of “oh this just looks like a hobbyist applying”, it’s “oh, well actually I talked to them last week and they’re trying to get their first job: they’ve missed out a load of interesting and relevant stuff that they should have included in the CV, just bring them in for interview and ask them about x, y and z instead of chucking it in the discard pile”.

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Thanks for your reply. I appreciate your explanation and in that way it make a better sense.

However, then i struggle to understand how do i have to make those links for people from dev. environment? Surely just being in a reddit thread and constantly chatting is not enough (btw it is what i am doing). I am also in a telegram group with 25.000 devs, chatting for a year and half. But it all seems much different from the prespective that you explained.

Seems like i need to get link with recruiters more than devs, but no idea how😂

Cheerz for your time tho

Well, you can start by going through the resources found in this thread :grinning:
You can also participate more in meetups and on twitter.
There is a lot of activity online to network, you just have to know where to look.