Thanks FCC - I got my first job as a front-end developer!

Thanks FCC - I got my first job as a front-end developer!
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#62

This is where cover letters really shine. When I was applying, I completely tore apart the job listings and responded to every point they mentioned.

This is where you can really stand out, since so many people blast their resume to every company out there without taking the time to write a targeted cover letter. Even if you haven’t worked in the field before, outlining your competencies and the things you’ve built with technologies mentioned in the ad can really put you ahead of the crowd.

I’m part of the hiring process and applicant screening at my current company :scream: , and it’s given me so much perspective on the entire hiring process. A targeted cover letter and resume can make or break the application.

Here’s an example of a cover letter I might have written to get my first position (I cobbled this together from several iterations of cover letters to various companies):

Hi!

I was excited to see your opening for an awesome junior front-end developer. The junior front end developer role looks like it would be an excellent match for my background and interests. I’ve been learning development for a little over a year through freeCodeCamp and The Odin Project and I would love to join up with the ____ team to create some amazing products. I know I’d be the perfect fit for the position, and here’s why:

You mention you want someone with HTML, CSS, jQuery, Javascript, Git, and command line experience; I use these on a daily basis in my development process, and I regularly use tools like Gulp and Sass to make my builds more efficient. (Check out some of the projects I’ve built in my portfolio (insert link).) I stick to a mobile-first philosophy in all of my development projects. Some of my accomplishments include:

  • Creating best-practice, responsive web pages based on high-fidelity mockups
  • Utilizing user stories to create web applications built with Twitch, Wikipedia, and other popular APIs
  • Designing and coding a 5-day weather forecast widget using geolocation and weather APIs
  • Implementing mobile and desktop-friendly UIs based on media queries

I’m always learning and looking for opportunities to level up my skills, and I’m committed to clean code and about implementing web accessibility and best practices. While I don’t have a computer science degree, I do have a Bachelor’s degree in a technical field (chemistry) with some graduate coursework under my belt. Overall, I’m dedicated to personal development and continual learning and bring my best work to any position.
I’d love to get a chance to work with your team to _____(insert whatever here).

Thanks so much, and I hope we can schedule time to talk further about how I might be an asset to your team!

Definitely detail your personal projects in your resume. It might seem silly since it’s not ‘real’ work experience, but first and foremost, you’re trying to sell yourself, your skills, your passion, and your future commitment to the position.


#64

Thank you, this is definitely a gem of information . With this example and point of view, I am more aware on how to approach applying. Thank you again.


#65

Thanks for sharing tips on cover letters! Would you mind sharing your resume tips as well? I am also in Portland and have been job searching for a while. My resume is formatted mostly for brevity because I figured “short and sweet” is the way to go. But I’ve been having doubts if that is the right way since I only get a call back for interview like once every 2 or 3 months or so.


#66

I am slowly getting fed up with all the conflicting advice. Some say that the cover letter should be no more than 2 paragraphs, some say that it should be 3, some say that it’s a waste writing a cover letter at all.


#67

Rather than getting fed up with conflicting advice, consider this:

Everyone that could potentially hire you will have different opinions about ‘the right way’ to go about the whole job hunting thing.

One recruiter told me his partner reads every word of a resume even if it’s five pages long, while he himself only prints page one and never looks at the rest.

I got a job with a 1 page resume, but that was an after thought: I’d already scored the second stage interview without a resume at all. That said I applied for loads and wasn’t afraid to try different things if the advice I’d followed previously wasn’t working.

Everyone in the process is a human trying to get the best outcome - treat them all, and yourself, with patience and you’ll find the winning combo for your circumstances eventually.


#68

Ok, but my patience is slowly watering down. I have met to many high-and-mighty recruiters who despite never having worked with anything close to coding still think that they can determine someones coding skills and who have treated me like absolute crap.


#69

Don’t rely too much on recruiters. They can work out in certain circumstances, but ultimately they are motivated to offer the highest value candidates to the highest paying companies so they can siphon off a decent commission.

Try more creative approaches to getting introduced to employers - attend meetups, hackathons and conferences to make contacts. Reach out to companies that offer internships to see if you can get a foot in the door that way. Consider working out of a co-working space for tech workers and getting to know devs and potentially get intros to their network. Be visible in the community associated with the stack you are interested in - write, produce helpful content, participate in online conversations around the technology in a mature and likeable way. Get involved in open source, especially if a local company you like has any open source projects you could contribute to.

Try everything you can think of :slight_smile:


#70

I appreciate your help I really do. It’s just that it seem that whereever I apply there is always something wrong. Either it is that I have the wrong kind of engineering education or it is that I lack experience or it is that I am not socially competent enough.


#71

No, probably not, but not knowing your entire work history and education background I was suggesting various things that help various people.

The theme is keep trying lots of things.

I got a job with no tech education or experience without an internship, but location, demand and a whole host of other variables will mean what works for either of us will likely be different.

It is very frustrating and disheartening, I know. Every rejection I received from a job I knew I could do with my eyes closed really stung and made me doubt whether it was even possible. But really just trying lots of things is what paid off.


#72

Thanks for the advice. Maybe I should start running a dev blog to detail my thought processes while doing the rest of the FCC curiculum.


#73

I would encourage you to learn PHP 7 and SQL as well.

PHP is actually a lot easier to learn than Node.js (Just because it’s JavaScript doesn’t mean it’s easy)

  • PHP 7 is SUPER fast !!
  • PHP 7 is wayyyyyy easier to get practical stuff done than it is in Node.js
  • PHP 7 is probably the MOST widely supported programming language to build internet based software
  • PHP 7 is very similar to JavaScript (closures, anonymous functions, callbacks, etc.)
  • PHP 7 has a lot more array functionality than JavaScript (eg. built in set intersects, differences, and unions)

e.g.

// PHP 7
$set = [];
array_map(function(){}, $set); 

// Node.js
let set = [];
set.map(function(){}); 

SQL is just super important. Period. You can use it with PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle, and SQL Server.

I’ve spent 1,000+ hours studying Node.js and 1,000+ hours studying PHP 7 and I can say without a shadow of a doubt, PHP 7 is A LOT easier to learn once you get used to the scary syntax.


#74

:congratulations: :confetti_ball: :sunny: :fireworks:


#75

Hi, Lupe,

Thanks for sharing your story – would you help me out with GitHub Pages: I don’t really understand something about them: do they require “Jekyll” and does that in turn require “Markdown”…I’m interested in the free web hosting for my portfolio (at least for now) but the documentation isn’t very clear to my beginner’s mind about all the various software dependencies involved (“Jekyll” seems to require the language Ruby and the RubyGems package manager to be installed as well).

So any insight would be very much appreciated; thanks in advance!


#76

Github Pages does not require that you use Jekyll, it just happens to be quite well set up for it.

If you have it configured correctly, all you need is HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files to have good looking and impressive github pages sites. You can also use complex libraries such as React on GH pages. It’s worth learning, but start with understanding git and github first… Pages makes a lot more sense once you get the other stuff.


#77

Hey, Jackson,

Thanks – is there some kind of comprehensive A-to-Z Step-by-Step for Github Pages somewhere online?? Indeed, the configuration is what’s got me scratching my head and even my butt! :wink:

Otherwise, I may just go and pay for Bluehost now – $181 for three years with privacy and SSL plus free domain name and unlimited e-mail and domains, bandwidth, etc. (sorry for sounding like a shill but it’s a great deal, even if it is shared hosting)…I already know WordPress and ePanel but I’m interested in Github Pages just 'cause I don’t actually have any kind of portfolio at all right now so paid hosting would be a waste for a month or so…


#78

Start here: https://pages.github.com

Ask for help if a particular step trips you up.


#79

Sorry, I should’ve previously made clear that I’d already been there – those instructions are good I’m sure but I’m really looking to get a “mind map” of it all…and I can already sense that you’re right: once I understand Git and GitHub, GitHub Pages will make more sense (and I’ve actually already started reading on them, such as at https://pedrorijo.com/blog/git-init/#what-is-not-git, https://lifehacker.com/5983680/how-the-heck-do-i-use-github, and https://programminghistorian.org/en/lessons/getting-started-with-github-desktop).

But for now, let me ask in another way:

  1. Might the Windows Terminal (the Command Prompt) be preferred over GitHub Desktop for any reason when it comes to GitHub Pages – or vice-versa?

  2. Once I publish my GitHub Pages site, do I simply create new GitHub Pages webpages using a plain old text editor like Windows Notepad?

  3. How would Jekyll improve on the process in Question Two above, assuming that that’s how it works?

  4. Whatever is the point of Jekyll – how exactly is it so complementary with/of GitHub Pages? It seems to require the installation of Markdown, in turn – certainly knowing how to use Markdown (probably much easier than even HTML, to be sure, which it seems to aim to “replace”) – but why all these “layers”…what’s made more effective/efficient by all this interposing software???

  5. Is “the GitHub Pages interface” (or “the GitHub Pages workflow” or whatever the proper term might be) a kind of CMS, in effect, using the “Git conceit” (of version tracking) to manage webpages in place of a typical CMS??

BTW, in case you’re wondering, I’m one of those apparently few (or so I’ve been reading) who prefer to plan and plot out a computer program instead of jumping right in coding, fingers all a-blazin’ (hence these questions) – thanks again! :wink:


#80

Some examples:
Repo: https://github.com/JacksonBates/fcc-local-weather
GH Pages hosted version: https://jacksonbates.github.io/fcc-local-weather/

Take a look at the example above, and read the source code in the repo. Just look at the index.html file and the JavaScript and CSS files. Those are being served up by GH Pages to produce the simple app in the second link.

All GH pages does is host those files and provide a url for them, much like a simple webserver would.

I have recently set up a blog using Jekyll too:

Repo: https://github.com/JacksonBates/blog
GH: https://jacksonbates.github.io/blog/

What Jekyll allows me to do is write my posts in a simple mark-up language called Markdown, which is a little nicer to use than raw HTML. I used a Jekyll project called Poole to bootstrap the blog since I didn’t want to over think the design or implementation details.

It’s sorta like using github as CMS, but not really. It’s still just simple static files being served up. There is no database involved.

Once you have website files in your repo and adjust your settings so that github knows to serve them up, the rest is automatic.


#81

To answer your other questions:

  1. Command line or desktop client doesn’t really matter. I prefer the command line because I can use it on any computer without having to download anything new, and it is useful if I need to SSH into a server. I spend a lot of time in the terminal at work. But use the desktop version if it helps you get started.

  2. You can use Notepad… But don’t. For your own sanity use a proper editor such as VS Code or Atom. They manage multiple files better, dont mess with utf encoding, and provide helpful things like syntax highlighting.

  3. Jekyll only improves things if it suits your use case. You don’t always need it. I’ve only ever used it once, but I host most of my projects on GH pages.

Hope this helps.


#82

This!!

Thanks so much, Jackson; I’m able to fill in a lot of that “mind map” now! I especially appreciated seeing your examples (the URLs)…and BTW, your two posts were interesting, especially the reprint of the Medium essay on learning styles! I’m not an educator but had to read up on pedagogy earlier this year (a bit of a long story) so learning about Vygotsky’s Social-Constructivism and Zone of Proximal Development brought up some memories!