Landed my first dev job

Landed my first dev job
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#1

I was not sure about making another “got a job” post but I wanted to add another storyline. I think one of the best pieces of advice I can give is, do it your way. There is a mountain of advice on the internet and not all of it will work for you. You have to trust yourself and just keep going.

My Story:
I started learning web-dev in Aug 2017. I moved out of my home in September, spent the last year traveling, living with friends, doing other business ventures. So, practice came in sprints with large gaps (that sucked).

I started on FCC. I then moved to The Odin Project. Worked on that for about a month before I realized I did not like that method of learning (I’m a video tutorial guy). Then I bought Colt Steele’s intro to web dev course on Udemy. I loved that and completed it in about a month.

I built a portfolio and started applying for jobs. Which produced mixed results, which I chronicle below.

I then bought Colt Steele’s advanced web dev tutorial, Stephen Girder’s Coding Interview Bootcamp, and Girder’s Modern React with Redux all from Udemy. I completed and partially completed those courses and added cool projects to my portfolio the whole time.

At the time, I thought that my portfolio was not good enough and that I needed to add better projects and pad my resume with some more tech. Honestly, I’m not sure if that was important or not.

How I applied:
I used:

  • Angel.co(my favorite website, but few Junior positions. I talked to 5 companies through them).
  • Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, Dice, and Glassdoor (never heard a single thing from these sites)
  • Recruiters who contacted me (never had anything good from these either)
  • A local recruiting company called Repurpose.co (got my job from these folks. )

My initial strategy was to apply to the most jobs possible. At the end of my experience, I applied to 130+ jobs. I had 2 onsite technical interviews, 4 pre-screening challenges, and 2 non-technical phone screenings. Maybe 8 or 9 companies responded to me in any way.

In my experience, I heard absolutely nothing from all the big sites. But maybe that is just me. I was applying to jobs all over the country. I searched for terms like “javascript developer”, “junior developer”, “web developer”, “javascript engineer”, “Front end developer”, etc. And I found a ton of jobs that I was technically qualified for. 20% of the jobs that I applied for I was underqualified for, one of them flew me out for a whiteboard that I failed miserably, after passing a hacker rank, and skype technical for them.

How I got the job:
This part is crazy but true. I stumbled across Repurpose(a small recruiting company) while I was searching for startups in Michigan to apply to. I applied to them, had a phone interview with a rep. One week later they connected me to a company who interviewed me on the phone the next day. Three days later they invited me in for a whiteboard interview(which I crushed). The next day they made me an offer. I have no other leads at this time and several companies have ghosted me after I crushed thier take-home tehcnicals.

My tips for success

  • Do you. At the end of the day you need to learn to program. Do whatever it takes to learn that and on whatever timeline.
  • Apply for jobs. Don’t wait until you know every trendy framework, once you can make a website from scratch and can solve some basic algos, make a portfolio and start applying.
  • Never give up! This is so hard. And at times it feels impossible. But just keep trucking and eventually you will get lucky. Believe me, 4 days ago I was browsing ads for code schools because I was so convinced I would never get a job.
  • You have to get lucky. You can do everything right and get no bites. At some point you just need to be at the right place at the right time.
  • Practice making things!
  • Practice Algos. There is no better way to screw yourself than to get a whiteboard interview at an amazing company and show up without having practiced. I literally bought a small foam whiteboard and practiced 10-20 algos on it. I used codesignal for the problems. I found out that I preferred solving algos on whiteboards.
  • It’s okay to not be passionate about coding, you can grow that. Read this article. I started with a small interest in coding and it is quickly blossoming into a passion.

I hope this post inspires some of you to keep going. And please share your questions and comments below. I will try to answer them all.


#2

To start with: Congratulations on all your hard work paying off!
I usually just put likes on these posts but I found this post to be especially positive and inspirational and just wanted to help highlight that and what is obviously a can-do attitude on your part.
Best wishes and thanks for sharing.


#3

@hbar1st Thanks! And I’m really glad that you found it inspirational.


#4

congrats on getting the job!


#5

Congratulations!

I’ve read tonnes of these posts over the years and they never get old and they are never exactly the same… Having a many case studies as possible is great for those learning how to make it their own way.

Thanks for sharing your story and good luck in your new career!

Would you mind sharing a little about the whiteboard challenges you did? What do you think was the difference between the one you bombed and the one you crushed?


#6

The difference between the two whiteboard challenges was ease (and practice).

The first one, which I failed, was about percolation. Basically, I had to determine the probability that a grid of whatever size would percolate for various amounts of grid points being removed. I’m not sure that I could write a decent bunch of algos to solve that today.

The second one was fizzbuzz (which is the first algo I ever practiced! ). And honestly, I embarrassingly messed up the implementation initially. And got nervous. But as the interview went on, they kept adding complexity to fizzbuzz and I calmed down and implemented those well.

I had actually practiced on a whiteboard at home for the second one. I always go through the same steps and that routine helped me calm down and successfully complete the rest of the challenge.


#7

Congrats man! Thats awesome to hear. I had a phone screen yesterday and an on-site interview later during the day. Also had a few other the past month but they didnt turn into anything. Hope to be in your position some day soon!

Congrats again and update us on the job and how it is when you can


#8

congratulations :clap:, thanks for sharing


#9

Congrats!!! Never give up! That’s how things go. Beta Mode and keep on plowing.


#10

Hey, congrats bro. One question though, how did you write your resume? I feel ready to start apply but I have no idea of how to write my resume because I don’t have a degree nor experience as a developer.


#11

I don’t think they care for your resume but good question.


#12

Congrats! I wish you all the best. I’ve been trying to learn for years. like 8 and I keep loosing motivation and go years and months but now I don’t want to wait, I want discipline, I don’t want to wait for the motivation.


#13

Congrats on getting the on-site. It’s just a matter of time before you’ve got something if you keep working towards it!

I was planning to do a 1-week, 1-month, and maybe 3-month update. I remember watching a guy’s 1 week update and I loved that.


#14

@Gilbert1391 I had two resumes. One was pretty and well designed. The other was a standard format for machine-readers. I NEVER heard anything from the machine readers. If a job even remotely looks like they screen resumes with a robot, I just stopped applying. W/O a C.S. degree and internships, I don’t have a chance on those.

On my pretty resume I had the sections; Previous work experience, projects, education, and contact info.

Previous work: I listed non-tech things and they often came up in my interviews. You aren’t just a coder, you are part of a team, you are expected to work collaboratively, so anything that demonstrates you can do that is a plus.

Projects: I described my best projects from my portfolio. It allowed me to include buzzwords like Node, Express, and React.

Education: I listed FCC certs and the course I completed on Udemy. Every interviewer brought these up and seemed very satisfied when I explained what I learned in each course. They never asked me about my B.S. in science, which I also listed.

@Yr2091 I struggled early on too. Sometimes, I would go a couple weeks between lessons. What helped me was changing my learning path. I bought a Udemy course and found that I loved following along on the videos. After 80 hours of that, I was semi-hooked on programming. But I still needed to buy another video course to stay motived. Find what works for you. Is it FCC, video courses, youtube tutorials, read along tutorials, building games, building websites, or making an app for something in your life?


#15

That is so cool… I am in the same situation and sometimes feel like I’m not ready. Your story has inspired me to just go after it.

Thanks.


#17

Thank you so much for sharing and congrats! I’m currently on the job search and it was grounding reading your tips for success :slight_smile:


#18

This is very inspirational. Motivated me to get better at problem solving skills even more even though I kept saying to myself. I get frustrated when I don’t understand and can’t solve problems for many hours or sometime days. I have been pushing myself hard to learn and get focus in getting strategies with different approaches while doing algorithms. Thank you @veth91. for sharing.