Hello guys, I got first web dev job this January 2019 . I start in March. I would like to inspire you all and elaborate a little bit on the topic.
I started 2 years ago learning code during evening aside my part time job and writing a PhD in economics. During the latter part of 2018 I was had a big coding projects in JS and PHP at both of my job and at the university.
Since fall 2018 I felt I already know a lot, damn I was coding for 2 years for 2 to 6 hours a day! :-). Still there was this nagging feeling, I don’t know a lot and I need to learn a lot more to be useful as a person, who has a coding job. I mostly followed tutorials and when I was coding on my own, there were bugs all the time and I need stackoverflow as a help on the side. Passing a technical interview to get a job seemed like a big hurdle.
Then I thought, I don’t really know, how an interview even goes. So I told myself, I will just try a few and don’t make a big fuss out of it. I put my mind into frame, I need to test the market in order to know, how to improve the next time.
In December 2018 I posted few CV (I was tuning out my CV for 2 weeks to make it exactly as I needed, I also consulted my CV with my friends - one professional coder other is an HR) on indeed.com in my local area. All the jobs were junior and they did not required a CS degree.
One company decline, because they already had a candidate. The next two wanted me for the interview. In both cases on the phone we just talked for 5 minutes about the job itself and in what I generally code. No tricky technical questions. At the interview I came in prepared (motivated to show interest in the company and I wrote like 2 pages of question I need answers to).
In both cases there was a manager, who codes, present along with a HR. We mostly talked about the job itself, company and generally my coding skills. I had quite extent portfolio with (too many) projects, and I showed them quickly few of my projects mostly related to the position.
There was no technical interview, only for the first position they asked me to try to do a React.JS front end web app for displaying and marking messages. So I got a 6 hour tutorial, which I went through during Christmas and posted my result back to them – still the app just did only the raw required functionalities, in detail I think I only fulfilled 50 % of all the functionalities. I was finishing my PhD on the side, so I really had no extra time to do it properly.
For the second position I did learn they use a Less CSS compiler, so I found a 2 hour tutorial and did a demo site in Less, which I showed the manager, I know LESS. He was really pleased. This position was exactly related to the project I did an my job – building a member portal in PHP+JS for displaying data in charts and tables. At the interview we spoke about the company plans to upgrade the technology set, the managers was thinking they might use React.js, I suggested Vue.js might be better, since the data animation works better in Vue.js. After the interview I did send the manager a link for a presentation on Vue.js and data animation. Four hours after the interview he called me, if I wanted the job, there were other 2 candidates and I was the best of them :-). I agreed :-).
In the end I got even the first job. The technical manager was sorry, he got ill and it took them 2 weeks to review my app. They were surprisingly please that the app look good and code was clean. I think that React.js tutorial and prettier pug-in in VS code saved me in this, since I cleaned my code as I was writing it.
So this Wednesday I am signing my new contract, on Monday I am carrying my PhD thesis to university. All worked like a charm :-).
So what I did learn during the interviews:
come in prepared, learn everything about the company, show motivation, interest and confidence. Prepare as many question as you like, but try to behave pro-active, not lazy.
the job description will be on the web generally poorly described – like 5 points about the company, 5 points about the job itself, 5 points about working condition and benefits. It is your job to do your research and try to find out more.
managers are busy and they don’t prepare as much for the interviews. Most often they read your CV 10 minutes before you come in, or they let the HR do the company presentation and they read the CV during it. It is your job to communicate clearly at the interview, what you can do for the company.
if you apply for a big company, I can take them 2 weeks to invite you for the first interview and their process can take for 2 weeks more in order to decide your application.
there could be no technical interview, but they could ask you to build a demo app for them.