Just got the job as a front end developer :D

Just got the job as a front end developer :D
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Heys! I just got the job as a front end developer that starts next week and I want to thank this awesome coding community that helped me making this far! :slight_smile:

So to share my story, I am a recent CS and Bootcamp grad from Singapore who has been programming for a year. Aside from learning through Bootcamp and school, most of what I have learned is mostly through self-learning.

I joined a Bootcamp immediately after I graduated from uni, mainly because I felt I hardly learn anything practical from school besides dabbing into different languages and theory. Even though I self teach myself through online courses like udemy and have built small projects outside school hours, I had the hunger to learn more.

Job Hunting and Interview Process

It took me three face to face interviews after sending out multiple applications and talking to recruiters after one month of searching. The first interview was a waste of time as the company was not looking for developers even though the JD had clearly stated, “software developer.”

The second interview was better, but it was a long process, and they ended up ghosting me with no response. (EDIT they just got back to me, but I already accepted the job offer)

I had to do a coding assignment to build a calendar app, followed by a 3-hour face to face interview with five people who rotated asking me different questions relating to security, design, and algorithms.

I solved all their algorithm questions and answered the rest to the best of my ability and answered honestly to questions I do not know.

I was exhausted at this point, then came a phone call from another company recruiter who saw my resume on a job website and contacted me, we had a phone chat that followed up with a face to face interview.

At this point, I had zero expectations. I was still beat from the long previous interview process and the constant calls from random recruiters who are trying to push me to casual contract roles which do not fit my criteria. (I needed a perm pos from my Bootcamp subsidy requirement)

I drag myself to the office to expecting another two to a three-hour interview which turns out to be a surprise. I had a direct conversation with the founder who spoke to me what they do and asked about the projects I did.

I shared two full-stack apps, one being a client project I did doing the Bootcamp for a three weeks project, and my project, which is an e-commerce store.

From there, he proceeds to ask about my thought process on how I did my client project, which I walk through how I capture user stories and how to overcome the challenges I had.

Then what he mentioned next really surprised me, “I won’t be giving you any technical questions.” and after some questions, i got the job offer the next day :smiley:

it was one of the best feelings I had after I walk out of that interview :slight_smile: !.

When to apply for a job and how to maximize chances of getting an interview.

This has been continuously said, but the best time to apply is when you have projects in your GitHub to show and have 50 % of what the Job description has asked.

Projects are always going to be the “experience” part people look out for. It doesn’t matter what tech stack you use but the things you did.

Doing the meet and hire in my Bootcamp, one of my coursemate had the most attention and interview offer solely from his project idea. It wasn’t a fully functional app but because its original and had potential it attracted people.

His project was a bubble tea locator app that locates the nearest bubble from a given location. Since bubble tea was a craze here, it impressed people, and the interviewers even gave him advice on how to improve his app, and it wasn’t the most glamorous or well-made app.

The point is, the value you show is what you build which demonstrates what you can do and not so much of the tech stack you know. You can go through 20 different languages and framework or memorize all the react library functions but unless you make something to show you can’t demonstrate that you know your stuff.

Similarly, for the job I got , the company stack was angular, and I only knew to react. But even so, I still got the job offer because of my projects.

So, in general, focus on building things and not the tech stack. The things you make is what provides value to your resume and not courses or certificates.No one asked about my degree when i was applying btw.

The more things you build, the better the chances you have, which also reflects on your github. I can stress how important this is , as i see many people who struggle hardly had anything on their github. This is the first thing to have when applying.


https://gyazo.com/25a704f8be13c563162baa4ec1d147c4 this was my github activity

What you need to learn are the concepts which are transferable to any language or frameworks you do. Don’t just stick to one thing and keep learning.

If you have trouble making things on your own, then one cool site you can check out is chingu ,https://www.chingu.io/. The more you build things, the better you stand out to people.

Advice on the interview itself

The job-hunting process itself is going to be tiring and can be a long awful process. The main thing though is that no job interview is going to be perfect, even the most well-prepared don’t get the job for ridiculous reasons.

For example, I had ridiculous questions where interviewers asked me “on a scale of 1- 10 how good are you in react?”.

Or my Bootcamp mate who did a difficult coding assignment only to get a 2 word feedback “looks good” and didn’t get the job for culture fit.

So sometimes it’s not your fault, but rather the company doesn’t know what they are looking for. Always be honest to what you know and answer anything to the best of your abilities and move on if you get rejected.

When applying for jobs, always do your research on the company what they do, etc. and have followed up questions. As trival this sounds, I can’t stress how important this is.

Firstly, it speaks volume of whether you are passionate about what the company does or your just looking for a job. It may sound ridiculous but this is often asked a lot, and it could make and break your chances if you don’t do your research.

It also benefits you whether the company is the right fit for yourself because you wouldn’t want to work for a company that treats developers as a cost center.

So always keep in mind interviews are always two ways.

How to keep being motivated

The best advice I give is always to be learning. It doesn’t matter which path you go to whether a degree, Bootcamp or self-thought the effort has to come from you.

Having done all three routes in learning programming through self-thought, cs degree, and Bootcamp, I still think self-learning has worked for me the most. It thought me how to be independent and gave me the freedom to choose the things I want to learn.

Of course, I am not advising everyone to do the same, but do what works for you the most. I did all three because of my thirst of knowledge, and it gave me joy learning from different perspectives.
Throughout my journey, I had my ups and downs and had my struggles too.

Which comes to my next point of having a goal in mind. There will be times you will be burned and lose your motivation. Sometimes it lasts for weeks or months. I can’t count how many times I burned myself out but what pushes me forward is the goal I had that serves as a motivator for myself.

For me, it was a chance to prove myself and to society that I am a capable person and being good at what I love to do. By being the best version of myself and to continuously strive for excellence was what gave me satisfaction to keep going.

Being born with autism, I wanted this career badly, and hence I channeled this energy in the work I do, which has helped me got the job today.

Hope what i share helps people ! happy coding :smiley:

23 Likes

Congratulations!
Thank You for sharing your story, Hard work and determination will take you far!

Congratulations on your new appointment.

Thanks for sharing this.

One thing I like is your emphasis on building something to prove future employers that you are capable, rather than emphasising on certifications or learning paths. The projects need not be perfect; as long as it is somewhat useful, that’s good enough to show that you have the chops to get better at the craft.

Well Done mate! You should be proud of yourself:) awesome stuff!

I’m 2nd year BSc in IT & IS and self-learning through this platform among others and I can relate feeling burned out. Big ups for pushing through👊 All the best with the new job!

Your post has inspired me so much that I have actually bookmarked it because I feel that if I ever have a down day, I could always come back to this for a good confidence booster.

I am so grateful that you have shared your experience because at least myself, I feel I have learned and also gained a different angle of perspective of the journey in job hunting. Plus, your well-informed advice could not be any more valuable and helpful.

So, thank you very much and of course…congratulation! I wish you all the best in your journey to becomes a successful web developer (which I am sure you will) :blush:

PS: I do have a couple of questions…

  • What kind of companies did you apply for? As in are they companies with that hold a large amount of staff or are they small startup tech?? (or was it mixed?)

  • Because of the size of the companies, could that also play a role in the interview questions they asked? For example, the second company with the long process of questions could be because they are such a big company or is it simply because it is the company ethnics?

Again, a MASSIVE congratulation! :slight_smile:

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Thank you so much for your kind words :smiley: !, to answer your questions.

For your first question

i apply for both a mix of corporate and startups ranging for consultancy to product companies, some companies i applied intentionally to get the feel of the questions they asked and to gather resume response. But the companies i was excited about are mostly startups mainly because it aligns to what i was looking for. I had different expectations for different type of companies i applied but in general.

For startups i look for

the product they are building ,
whether it has potential to create an impact to society and if there is a market need for the product. For me this was the first thing that came in mind , if you love the product you get more motivated when you work and it has to make sense otherwise you never know the company might go bankrupt. Word of advice if someone say "its like facebook but has feature x " stay away from them

Whether they have a MVP(minimum viable product) for showcase,
firstly this is important to know whether the company has a feasible idea and gives you a idea on how the company does things. Quite often you will hear people " i have this amazing idea !! that will change the world" but has nothing to show this is a red flag.

How much funding they have
when was their last funding and pitch and how much funding they have. Which stage of funding are they at? series A or Series B etc. So knowing this serves two indicators, one you know how hype the market is for the company product and two you know whether the company is willing to invest for new developers. If the time they are hiring is near the last time they are funded its very likely they are willing to train new people.

Their team dynamics and how they work
Next thing i asked is their team dynamics how many developers they have , how many seniors they have and how they work in a team. Different companies have different process on how they do things you might have heard of AGILE , SCRUM , EXTREME PROGRAMMING etc , this is actually one of the important things to know because it gives you an overview on how effective the company work as a team and whether they are reaching their deadlines on time or always working overtime. Quite often you hear people using the term “AGILE” but some companies don’y know what they are doing , they think agile means having daily stand ups. ( Alot of jargon terms here , let me know if you need me to explain some stuff further)

Lastly the most important of all whether they are willing to invest in juniors

Juniors are always an investment and they can’t be productive immediately especially if its their first job. Integrity is important for both sides, and if the company mention they are willing to take in juniors they must be prepared to invest which means a few months or a year to ramp you up to speed.

I seen people with the “fake it till you make it” mentality and what happens is they get fired quickly for not performing. Not only this is a time wasting process for both sides but its bad for your resume. Thats why i always emphasize on being upfront about your experience.

One of the questions i always ask my interviewers is “what will i be doing the first few weeks” you know from this question whether they are looking for juniors or mid level with junior pay.

For larger cooperates

i look for the type of projects they do , and the structure. Normally in larger cooperates the teams are separated and there is a proper process of how things done.

Ideally i look for a flat structure culture. A few reasons , first you get to voice out your opinion doing the project which I feel this is important for growth , being able to speak out more lets people give you feedback and criticism that helps you grow.

Compared to a hierarchical structure where you are viewed as a low key where your views will have to go up the chain. Personally , i have a bad impression of managers/ project managers because they don’t see eye to eye of what a software developer do , which ends up over promising clients unrealistic feature expectations.

But definitely with a good manager / project manager that listen to people wont be the case, but those scenarios are rare.

One of the company i know do not have any managers and program managers involved. The decision making and planning are left with the developers and developers are treated with high regard.

So look for the structure of the company , if there is growth potential, but good news about corporates is that they have alot of training resources and orientation for new people who join the company.

For your second question

Thats a good question ! in general yes that is one of the factor but there are many other factors as well and i will say the questions are more geared towards relating to the number of applicants applied and what they are looking for

Number of applicants applied , whether its a employers or employees market

if there are many applications applied for the role ( > 200 in most case), then companies have to filter out people and hence they will want the best. So naturally, they will give harder questions with higher expectations. And this is where employers can pull algorithms, white boarding to filter out weaker candidates and it becomes more of looking for the best than qualified people

Whereas the opposite is true , part of the reason my current company didnt give any tech questions is they dont have much people apply so this affects the interview question.

But always remember no matter how hard the question is , don’t fault yourself if you can’t answer some of them. If you really can’t think of a answer just be honest they you don’t know and also be wary about the type of question ask.

Stick to the objective , and make sure what they ask relates to the Job Description of the ad.

Trust your gut feeling if the question make sense , and be wary of the small details because these are clues how the company does things.

For example one of the company gave me a homework assignment on the weekend , i had the phone interview on tuesday and they send it on friday saying “its okay take your time you have the whole weekend to do” which means its very likely they don’t respect your weekend and private time.

And doing the interview they ask me questions on how i will think about security when i build an application , this also tells you that they are going to throw you to the sea and expect you to handle highly sensitive information despite being a junior.

These two were the second company case , thats why its a long process , similar to my bootcamp mates it was clear they were looking for more “mid level or people who can pick up quickly” sink - swim environment

These subtle things are a red flag, so always question the questions they ask whether it relates to a junior title.

type of company and expectations

Different companies will test you for different things and they all have different expectations for someone new ,i had a talk from a google recruiter in my bootcamp and he mention one of the things they look out is how you think , they are not necessary looking for the correct answer because in software development everything is a tradeoff nothing is absolute.

So they might give u an easy question and as you solve them , ramp up the question level to see how far you can go. So long you can give justification to why you use something over something you will be fine.

The very common killer interview question is the system design question which is the most open ended question good companies like to ask , for example “design a twitter app” and you have to draw classes and objects on the board and explain your approach

“looking at how you think” is a common key factor what companies look for and how far they test depends on the company expectations, most will test on this because they want to know what you will do when you stuck and hence your thinking skills are important.

whereas a sweatshop type of company will test on how “fast” you do things , stay away from them.

long post here , but i hope it gives you a good overview my advice is know what you want and which type of company you want to work for. You can do that by adding people on LinkedIn or going for meetups thats how i gain alot of insight on the topic .

Hope this helps , If you know what you want , you get a broader and better search and know what to study for to prepare for technical interviews.

Preparing for interviews and going through them its a very tiring process which can burn you out thats why knowing the type of company you want saves alot your energy better.

When preparing always study what the majority of company test, like don’t study algorithms and data structure if majority of the company you are after are not testing on those.

From my experience its always either take home or some tech questions.

Either way don’t be overwhelmed by how much you need to know know , i think more important to show you have potential to grow and keep learning you definitely will make it. Good luck :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Congrats! Thank you for sharing this.

Wow! :open_mouth: I am so grateful that you have taken the time to write this to answer my questions, My goodness, you have done good solid research there! Thank you so much!

To be honest, I have to admit that most of the well informative content that you have written, I would have not thought of it if I was to apply for a position and unfortunately (for you lol), having read your post, this has led me to have more questions haha. (I will try to keep it short for you).

You see, for me, I would have felt the same. I wanted to aim for startups (to start with) because I feel that they would have easier roles for someone who just entered the industry and normally, being a smaller company, the working environment, and team relation could better. But I do wonder - am I right?

(Bear in mind, I am not ready to be applying for jobs at this moment, thus I have done 0% of research on how to land a job).

Okay, here are the questions.

That is a really good point, but when you say you look for how much funding a startup would have, how you find out? Is this where they get to explain via the interview process or would it be stated in the vacancy post? Somehow, my assumption is to do good research on the company as you advised in your earlier post, right?

It would be much appreciated if you could explain because unfortunately, I have never heard of them! :see_no_evil:

Not a question, but to say this is a very good point. I have read somewhere from a developer’s article that quite a few Developers get fired after a week or two because they do not have the knowledge or meet to the standards of the company’s expectation. Because of this, it has stuck to my mind ever since and can totally understand your point on this.

Again, this is something I have learned through a developer who explained the exact same structure of the well-known social media company. I may be wrong but I think this likely to happen more at very massive companies (even though Google is supposed to be known for its very good work-ethnic and structure) than smaller companies.

As mentioned, you have been so helpful I could not be any more grateful. In fact, this is too good that right after I send this post, I am going to make an Evernote book (I am a crazy Evernote fan oh yes) on Career Planning and write and highlight all the keynotes that you have written (It shall bed titled ‘The advice of the job research and interview process from a fellow FCC member’). :blush:

I may have said it too many times but again thank you so much!

No problem :slight_smile: , and really just go ahead and ask as many questions as you want. I will be happy to share , part of my success is from our developer community where many people openly share information to help each other succeed and being humbled by this experience i want to live up to the example and be open about my knowledge.

So to answer your questions

That is a really good point, but when you say you look for how much funding a startup would have, how you find out? Is this where they get to explain via the interview process or would it be stated in the vacancy post? Somehow, my assumption is to do good research on the company as you advised in your earlier post, right?

.Yup definately research them online first , if you type company x funding as the search query you should get the details about what level of funding they have and the news related to how much funds they have. In job ads companies don’t mention their funds but in the scenario where you can’t find details its perfectly valid to ask them directly how much finding they have and how long the company will last , because you don’t want a company that suddenly go bankrupt in months.

You can also look for subtle hints from the job advertisement , such as the pay range and the experience they are looking for which gies you a idea if they are funded.

Normally, the companies that don’t have funds will give stock options or “promise” to pay you, those are the companies you want to avoid.

Lastly the most important thing to know and ask if they have any investors and think about the investors point of view whether you will fund their product. When you research , follow the rule “what is it you are trying to solve and why?” if you can answer this and understand the product goals then its likely the investors will understand as well.

you might have heard of AGILE , SCRUM , EXTREME PROGRAMMING etc
It would be much appreciated if you could explain because unfortunately, I have never heard of them

My bad , should have explained more in detailed in this part, basically when a company starts a project there are different approaches to how a company do it , every company will have their own process. There two ways people do it one being waterfall approach , where the project follows a tradditional approach and tackle it in phrases planning, defining , designing etc can read morea bout it here https://www.tutorialspoint.com/sdlc/sdlc_overview.html

Its kind of like a factory like process where you have a blueprint , then you follow the specification of the product and build it

But this approach has a downside where there is a long feedback loop when the user has change requirements. By long feedback loop i mean if at any stage the user isnt satisfied with the product you have to go backwards to planning stage all over again which makes it a time consuming process and very inflexible.

Given the nature of software and user requirements , people don’t know what they want and will always have something they will want to change. This is where the term AGILE comes in where it focuses more in the user point of view where you have short feedback loops and features are broken up to small chunks to tackle which are called sprints before review.

So instead of planning , designing etc . You write down the feature and capture the requirements to user stories in small chunks. Then you estimate and plan which feature you want to do in each sprint(can be 1- few weeks long) and build the product in small phrases before showing to the user for feedback and if there are any changes you just add it to the backlog.

In summary agile promotes short feedback loops that embrace changes and focus more on the client then following a process.

Agile is basically a guideline anyone can follow to meet their business need and its dosent have a strict process to follow. Hence any company can adopt this guideline and tweak the process to meet their business needs. Thats where other framework like “extreme programming , scrum framework are created”

You can read up about the agile manifesto in here for more details https://agilemanifesto.org/.

But basically , every company will have different way of approaching things , and your job scope as a developer will follow accordingly how a company does things. Like you may be tasked to gather requirements by writing user stories and commenting on the feasibility of the for the project, You don’t just code.

Its been a popular methodology people have follow in companies and given the nature of startup trying to sell their idea to investors , they will follow agile practicies to meet investors demands. Because investors after all is what gives the business money.

The takeaway here is that every company will have their own process and people involved. Larger companies have more resources to allocate people like a business analyst / UX designer to gather the requirements while the developer work , whereas a smaller company you have to do all of this on your own.

So knowing how the company operate is a key point to know. This is a good question to follow up asking “how does your company plan and tackle projects, what sort of methodologies do you follow etc”.Which is why good planning is important.

Feel free to ask anything else :slight_smile:

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The amount of information, you should be having a degree in Business Studies! :open_mouth:

Now I have semi-roughly read the resources you have provided about (SDLC and AGILE methodologies) and I plan to read it properly tomorrow so I have a clearer mind, but from what I have gathered I am surprised how many different types of work structure there was. However…

This structure sounds very familiar to me from the days of uni…my goodness, literally all of us students in the course (maybe one or two got away with murder) has to go through those moments where every single week the tutor (being the"client") was never happy with the work we have done and when it was suggested to do a different approach that they came up with (which we was happy to follow) then a week later, after redesigning everything from scratch, they were still not happy (despite it was their suggestion)…it was a crazy version of the circle of life :grimacing: :joy:

But, anyway my point being is I thought…okay not stayed at uni, but it would not be so bad when we get to the “real world” of working in the industry…clearly I am wrong.

The AGILE approach sounds really interesting (I will youtube it tomorrow to see if I could see it visually if you get what I mean)

Excuse me for being a pain (because I should be reading the provided resources first), but a short feedback loop - is it where once you break the process down in smaller chunks, you will get a (possibly quick) feedback from the client once you finish those small chunks in order to avoid having to go a long way back to redesigning if the user was not happy with the product?

If yes, that would surely mean having to get the feedback more frequently right? While I strongly agree this is a better approach for developers, I do wonder how this would work for clients who may have a busy schedule (unless they would be informed of this approach in the beginning)??

If no, I shall do some thorough research tomorrow on feedback loop :smiley:

Congratulations! I wish you much success at your new job. I got a job last year after moving through the FCC curriculum, and I so much enjoy all the new things I learn at work.
It was interesting to hear how different your interviewing experiences were. I have heard similar things from others.
I was most interested by your story about the colleague with the bubble tea app - how employers really liked that. I can see at my job that people who can combine tech know-how with business savy are extremely valuable, since the tech side and the business side are often living in two different worlds.
I also see now that tech know-how is bottomless - you can always go deeper and there is always another language or framework. The most important thing is that you have a good foundation of a language and framework you know, so that you can get deeper into it and use that knowledge to learn the next language or framework more quickly by drawing analogies to the first.
Anyway, congratulations!

Congratulations it’s very inspiring, AJMO!!!