After about a year of studying and completing projects following the FreeCodeCamp curriculum, I managed to land a job as a professional full-stack developer with a SaaS company in my city. A few months later and I’m still very much enjoying my job and new career. So thanks to FreeCodeCamp - and I hope I can encourage you guys to keep going! Here’s some advice I’d like to give:
I myself did not even finish the full FCC curriculum before applying to jobs. In fact, I have exactly zero of the certificates that FCC offers. I simply completed a select number of projects from each of the sections (front end, back end, dynamic web app), picking which ones seemed challenging and interesting for my level at the time. I found this to be a more efficient way of building the necessary skills personally: quality over quantity. Instead of trying to do the bare minimum for all the FCC projects just to get the certificate, try to go as “deep” as you can on a smaller number of projects. Research what challenges your app would face in more complicated situations and try to solve those problems. For example: more users, a fuller database, mobile vs. desktop, if someone tried to hack or outsmart your server, extreme edge cases, etc. In my opinion that’s a much more valuable learning experience than implementing a CRUD app 10 times. Go deep, not broad, and try find the answer to every “what if” - because you’ll definitely be asked about some of those "if"s during interviews. But again, that’s what I found effective for me personally. Either way, practice makes perfect!
Another tip is that you should do reading and study beyond just freeCodeCamp. Here’s some important things companies are looking for that freeCodeCamp didn’t quite cover enough:
- data structures and algorithms
- SQL databases
- authentication and how user sessions work
- security (XSS, CRSF, SQL injection prevention, etc)
- debugging using Chrome DevTools
- CSS best practices
As for the job search itself, here’s the tips I have for those looking or those starting to look soon:
- get FEEDBACK on your resume - from forums, reddit, etc., anywhere with others in the field
- creddle and visualcv have some neat resume templates
- your coding projects and their technical details should be the centerpiece of your resume if you have no other relevant experience
- google as many interview questions as you can and study them - you’d be surprised how much more you learn just by studying for interviews!
- if you’re in the Toronto area, there are currently much more Angular jobs than React, so spend a week or two learning Angular so you can at least put it on your resume
- job searching is very hit or miss no matter how good you are, don’t get too discouraged even if it takes you months to search (but definitely make sure to get feedback)
- (this one’s a bit personal) avoid companies that ask you to complete a project when applying for a position, unless they explicitly say they will pay you for your time. Of all the times I’ve applied for a position and put hours of effort into a project just to get interviewed by the company, not a single of time did they even discuss the project with me or give me feedback. It was hours of effort just to pass their “screening” and it was always a waste of time, so it’s something I avoid now.
Along with those, here’s some resources that I think are essential in getting you job-ready:
And that’s all the help I can hope to give. Good luck guys, believe in yourselves!