Ask an IT Recruiter!

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I am in exactly the same position. I mean, I guess working in IT recruitment may give me a head start since I know how projects work, how people recruit etc. but I am also coming into it from a non IT background.

There are so many stories on the internet about people transitioning from another line of work to IT development - it is more possible than ever, and there is a real shortage of expertise in web development that will only increase.

I’m not a fan of using too many inspirational quotes as I feel that if they are overused they kind of lose their potency (the amount you see on LinkedIn is infuriating), but I really subscribe to one of Henry Ford’s:

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t - you’re right.”

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Hi Coyr,

There are so many variables that exist for salary ranges and the skills that are currently in demand - it varies between, countries, cities and market trends.

The best way to work out where to place yourself in the market is to go on an IT job board that advertises positions in areas that you want to work. See what sort of salaries people are paying, how much experience you require etc. If you don’t have any experience yet, be prepared to take an internship or low paying job to gain experience - gaining experience is so much more important than making money whilst you are starting out. Earning a decent pay-check will come with the more experience you have in your IT field.

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Let’s use a couple of Junior Front End Web Developer job adverts I have just found at random (a quick search shows there are 350+ in London at the moment):

Advert 1 (junior):


front end (HTML, CSS, Javascript, working knowledge of PHP)
working knowledge in Adobe software – Photoshop, Illustrator
good interpersonal and communication skills
create clean, organised code
understanding of industry tools, products and CMS platforms, including Wordpress
ability to communicate clearly with clients and non-technical staff
highly motivated and able to work independently and as part of a team
knowledge of hosting and support services
be adaptable and able to pick up new techniques

educated to degree level or equivalent
CSS pre-processors (LESS, SCSS)
server management
good eye for design
experience using IDE (net beans)
experience in Magento

Advert 2 (junior):

Skills and experience required:

A strong understanding of HTML5, CSS, SASS, LESS
Wordpress experience and knowledge
Experience of building cross-browser and cross-platform compatible solutions, including cross-browser testing
Good design skills and appreciation
Attention to detail and an understanding of user experience (UX)
mobile first, responsive
Useful but non-essential skills:

Experience of AngularJS
UX analysis and design
Scrum / Agile

Advert 3 (senior - £75k):

Necessary Skill

In-depth experience in XHTML/HTML5


JavaScript frameworks (React)

Experience in TDD, Agile and XP

Responsive web development and mobile web experience

eCommerce experience in retail or betting companies



As you can see, some of the skills vary, but the most common skills for a Front End Dev are usually the same: HTML, CSS, Javascript - the fundamentals.

One thing to point out is that you will never get the perfect person for an IT Developer job. No one has all of the skills required for a particular role, but as long as you have the main areas of experience you can learn the rest. But I would advise to learn those skills, as well as doing a course that covers some backend tech & frameworks (Angular, React and Nodejs are popular at the moment I think) and you will be fine.


Hi Steve,

I really liked your portfolio. Just to clarify, I’m sure that you are aware that with nearly a years experience of Javascript developing and a tech background you’d easily be able to land a perm job right?

To answer your question, I think it doesn’t matter what sort of company it is, the principles for finding work are the same. Get your CV and portfolio out there and to the right people. Always follow up with a call to positions you apply for too. If you are using your own server you also clearly know some back end which always helps.

If I was you, I’d apply for the more junior contract roles (where are you based by the way?) and get some experience. After 2-3 years of contracting as a front end dev, you can look at £300 p/d in London for sure.


Heres my linkedin:

and here is my resume:

what do you think, what should I improve(what can i improve…)?

Thanks in advance.

I am in no way an expert on resumes, but I think the standard is to keep it at 1 page. Also if you have relevant experience, it’s key to list that at the top. I did a lot of digging on how to format resumes and the best I have come across so far is this article from Quincy:ésumé-that-employers-will-actually-read-fd7757740802

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Thanks for the very useful response. I’m in New Jersey, with easy access to New York City.

Would “junior contract role” be the appropriate phrase to use to specify what I am looking for? Are there other “buzz phrases” which might be useful?


Hey Joe,

Thanks for this informative thread, it is so helpful to have someone on the other side :slight_smile: . I am on the verge of looking for freelance clients but am also hunting for a Web Dev related job and am very interested to know what you, as a recruiter in the EU, would make of my Portfolio and CV.

I wish you all the best with your new career direction (it is on of the most exciting fields to be working in at the moment so congrats!)

Hi Jethro,

I think that your portfolio is great! How long have you been studying for? I think you are definitely ready to find work given what you have made so far.

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The main thing to focus on is your portfolio and the projects you have completed! Just make sure you keep your CV non cluttered and focus on mentioning the technologies that you have used. Looks good to me though!

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I would just say that you are looking for Front End freelance/contract positions, using X, Y, Z technologies (whatever you want to work with and have experience with!

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Hey! That’s good to hear!! I’ve been studying for a year and a half, mainly for my own small businesses, but I took a liking to web development and just recently finished the fronted developer certificate so that’s the direction I’m headed.

All the best with your coding plans!

Hi Jethro,

Out of interest, where did you host your twocan English learning site? That looked really good. And for your portfolio page, did you use Github pages? I am probably going to do the same but it is quite confusing (at least to me) to use Github pages - did you design your portfolio page or did you use one of their templates?

I’m sure you’ll find a job in no time and be well on your way!

Hey Joe! That site is what really got me into web development. I am hosting it with Hostgator, it costs me about $11 a month and I can host unlimited domain names on there, set up mail routing, MySQL database etc etc… highly recommended if you just want to get something out there!

As for my portfolio, it is just made up of HTML, CSS and a bit of JavaScript, no server side databases or languages like PHP… so I didn’t need a hosting account.

Honestly I still have a lot to learn about GIT and have never collaborated with a team that uses it. I have just used it to upload files to GitHub so far. Setting up a GitHub page was actually dead easy.

I simply made a new repository which has to be the same name as your github username. Then I build the site off-line, index.html, css/style.css, js/app.js and then I committed the entire folder to that repository.

GIT still confuses me, I am going through this course which is actually pretty brilliant: and there are a few others on udacity too - brilliant learning resource.

As for the site itself, normally I would build it with bootstrap, but these days I prefer to just use these three key technologies: SCSS and FlexBox and Media Queries. I use flexbox to throw up a simple grid, I build everything using SCSS which compiles to CSS (I compile it using the koala-app) and just a couple of media queries to make things responsive.

Bootstrap is great for getting started quick, but I prefer to just set things up from scratch using SCSS, my brain likes it better. You can see how I split up my SCSS files into neat chunks and then use the Koala-app to compress them into one main.css file.

As for the JavaScript, this series of videos had the single biggest impact on my coding skills.

That’s sort of my frontend development work flow at the moment.

Hi Joe! I am a Web Developer who is coming from other careers before this one, like some of the others who have posted. I went to a Boot Camp at Montana Code School and I’ve been looking for my first Junior Web Developer job since I got out last December. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of need for Junior Web Developers where I live and I’ve been hoping to find a remote job. What are the chances I can get one with limited experience? Also, I would appreciate your feedback on my website and LinkedIn page if you don’t mind.


Kevin Grastorf

This is my portfolio thus far: I definitely have more to learn, but how close am I to getting where I need to be to start applying for work? I also have an IT degree from 2006, though I’m not sure how relevant that would be at this point.

Hi Joe!

I’d love to get some feedback. Do recruiters often follow through to check the portfolio & github pages? Or does everything revolve around the resume to grab their attention?

I’m looking & applying on a daily basis for jobs in my area, but it’s hard knowing what’s working & what’s not sometimes. Feedback is hard to come by!

Here’s a link to my portfolio, if anyone has any ideas for it i’d love to hear them!


Its a really nice portfolio, for me on mobile, your name goes out of the screen.

Thanks, fixed!

Incidentally, just found out that refreshing the cache for a mobile site isn’t as straight forward as I would have thought. For a quick fix, you can open the site in incognito mode, which should trigger the css file to reload.

Learning something every day!

Hi Joe,

Actually i’m in the process of making a similar move myself. I have many years of software/solution sales experience and want to cross the floor into the dev side of things for much the same reasons as you, I want a lot more variety and creative-intellectual satisfaction. The other point being that I.T. sales is becoming an ever more pushy/aggressive environment and I simply don’t want to become that kind of person.

Can I ask which technologies did you study to get your FE dev role ? How long did you study these for before getting paid work ?

Hope it’s all progressing well for you ! TIA