Three months into a job search, some thoughts

Three months into a job search, some thoughts
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#1

I have been actively looking for work as a web dev for about 3 months now. These are a few experiences and thoughts.

  1. What is the deal with recruiters? FFS! How many times have I gotten calls from these guys and they clearly have never read my resume. “Hey, I’ve got this job in your area, I’ll send you the info.” When I get it, it requires 5 years of experience in various technologies, half of which I don’t have. It’s gotten to the point where I dread hearing the phone ring.

  2. I don’t want to sell insurance! Ever since I started putting my info up on job sites I’ve been getting calls from people looking for insurance salesmen. When I do get a call, my first question is, “This is for a web development job, correct?”

  3. I made the mistake of answering “yes” to a question about interest in furthering my education. Big mistake. Now I get calls from for-profit schools. Some of them even pretend to be job recruiters.

  4. I’ve had two coding interviews.

a) The first one was an insane React/Redux app with over 100 components. It was way above my pay grade, but it was an interesting look at that kind of app and really drove home my need to get better at CSS.

b) The second coding test really pissed me off. It was a complex algorithm. I know I nailed it – I tested it extensively. I even found some clever ways to optimize. All I got back was, “Sorry dude, it didn’t work. We can’t tell you how we test it.” It’s part of this whole codewars idea of trying to trip people up with tricky conditions. It really pissed me off. I know they can’t give me the exact test conditions, but give me a little information – Did it fail on time? On memory usage? Did it not load the data? Did it output any data? Did it output data but it was wrong?People complain about white board interviews for not being a realistic test. But how is this better? What kind of workflow is there where you don’t get any feedback on how your code worked? It seems like a cocky, “bro” culture approach, trying to show each other up. I guess I’m glad I didn’t get that job. That sort of antagonistic tech culture is why I left the tech industry in the first place.

  1. I got one offer from a startup. They needed someone with Node/Express/Mongo for their backend. They wanted 15 hours/week with no pay, but equity. At the time I thought it was too much of a commitment and would hamper my learning and job search. I now wonder if that was a mistake.

  2. Living near Silicon Valley is a blessing and curse. There are soooo many jobs here, but they all expect a lot of experience.

  3. I need some more “big” projects. I need to do some open source work. I have a couple of ideas for some real world apps – I need to flesh those out.

  4. I need to keep learning new techs. It probably wouldn’t hurt to revive my old C skills. (Now that I have Ubuntu on my laptop, that will be easy.)

So, not much luck so far. Part of me really hoped that I’d have something by now, anything. I’ve come to hate my music lessons teaching job. We have the winter recital coming up. I’d really hoped not to have to do another one of these. Oh well. I’ll work my butt off and see if I can get something before the summer recital.

Oh well, just some thoughts.


#2

Wife had same experience with recruiters and insurance sales job offers. Pretty maddening.

#7. By all means, go for it. I think it will be more impressive to direct employers to a real-live domain name/project, that is running in the wild, rather than to a codepen or github account.

#8. Dont know about C’s usefulness for web dev…maybe look into also learning Angular and VueJS to round out your JS framework knowledge. That will also give you the ability to compare pros/cons of React/Angular/Vue and be able to tell job interviewer which is recommended for a particular scenario/project. C#/SQL and ASP.NET may be more useful than plain C if you want to learn additional backend languages/tech related to web dev – turn yourself into full-stack developer.

Good luck!


#3

Yeah, you’re probably right. I just have all of this old knowledge floating around, ready to be reactivated. I know it could be used to optimize certain server operations, but you’re right, it’s probably not the best investment of my time.

I have thought about Angular. It is a big player and I’m amazed how many job postings want React and Angular. (Why both?) I don’t see many job postings requiring Vue. Nothing against it, but I just don’t see the need for it. And judging by the attitudes around the forum, it seems like a bit of a cult. ( :wink: )

I’ve also considered (based on what I see in job postings around here) looking into PHP, mySQL, Python/Django, Ruby/Rails. I’ve thought about looking into a lot of other little things that I often see in ads, like imutable, graphql, etc.

I was actually thinking of writing a program that would scrap want ads and create a bar graph of the different techs most looked for.


#4

Oh yeah, and I forgot about the recruiter that tried to argue with me that I should apply for a Java position. He wouldn’t believe me that it was not the same thing as JavaScript.


#5

Now, that would be cool. I think I can see a way of monetizing this down the road… additional income for you.

Hahahah… yes, seems like that sometimes… and there’s a reason. :slight_smile: But think of it this way, without the backing/support of a giant like Facebook or Google, this one man project grew into this kind of powerhouse/competitor – you’d have to ask yourself why? Why is it it’s users, including ex-React/ex-Angular converts, are very passionate/big fan of this framework.


#6

VueJS… it seems like a bit of a cult

Hahahah… yes, seems like that sometimes… and there’s a reason. :slight_smile: But think of it this way, without the backing/support of a giant like Facebook or Google, this one man project grew into this kind of powerhouse/competitor – you’d have to ask yourself why? Why is it it’s users, including ex-React/ex-Angular converts, are very passionate/big fan of this framework.

Hey, I’m in no way coming down on Vue.js. It may be the best one out there. It’s remarkable how well it’s done considering that it’s kind of the RC Cola of view frameworks.

But my point has always been that I don’t care which is best - I care which one is going to get me the job. And most of the jobs I imagine aren’t saying, “OK, please join our team and we’ll change to whatever you want.” No, you join the team and use what they use. I see people asking for React and Angular. If I see Vue mentioned it’s usually something like, “Must have experience with a modern framework like Angular, React, or Vue.” I can count on my fingers the number of postings I’ve seen that require Vue. I suppose if you are the founding CTO of a startup, you can choose whatever you want, but the rest of us use what we’re told.

The other problem is that it does seem like a bit of a cult. It’s like talking to a Scientologist. “Yes, we have been having nice weather lately. Speaking of weather, have you read Dianetics?”

But again, I only care what is going to give me the job. I chose React because I got exposure here, I like what I’ve done so far, I love having React Native, and it seems to be on an upward track. Is it the best? I don’t know. But I know that there are a lot of jobs out there for it.


#7

Oh yeah, and I forgot about the job fair…

I somehow got an email about a job fair in Santa Clara. Alright! A job fair in the center of Silicon Valley! [rolls eyes]

So I drive all the way down. I’d envisioned a bustling convention space, with 50 tables of various jobs. Nope, get down there and it’s 6 tables - 5 were insurance companies looking for salesmen and one was a hippie health food company looking for salesmen. Crap.

At least it forced me to get my business cards and web site together.


#8

I went to one of those last year. Total waste of time.


#9

I’m a programmer, so I’m going copypasta myself a lot here. Apologies if you’ve seen me say all this before.

Trying to figure out which jobs you should even be spending your energy applying for is exhausting. I feel ya.

Good idea. Not only will this look good on its own, when they ask about past projects in an interview you can get excited talking about it. That is a huge help.


#10

First off congrats on your progress so far. Searching for a career job can seem like a full time job in itself. You are well ahead of me in terms of experience in Wed Development.

My advice is quite simple, do you have a few company types(industries) that you would like to work for? Having these ideal companies/roles in mind would help cater your search, instead of just applying to anything relating to web dev.

Best of luck and keep on searching. :+1:

Edited: I will also add that networking through Meetup groups will also help. Based on where you live there should be a ton. :slight_smile:


#11

Probably good advice, but in all fairness, I’m just looking for anything that pays more than my meager teaching income, that would take below half the going rate. But I have focused a little on React since I like that and it is a special skill. Mainly I’ve just been trying to focus on the lowest paying jobs since I assume they will be the least competitive and I’d have the best shot.

That is great advice and one I’d like to follow. Unfortunately most of them conflict with my teaching (ughhh) schedule. There are a few during the day, but they are usually in the city (San Francisco) or in SV so are too far away for me to make it there and back in time to teach. I’ve found one farther out, near where I teach that I make once a week. That’s been fun.


#12

I had the same thing on LinkedIn, they reached out to me asking to do a job completely opposite of what was on my actual linkedIn page. How hard is it to read trough it a little right?

My frustration also comes from companies asking for a lot of experience. Here in the Netherlands it has been in the news and the papers that there is a large shortage of IT people and mostly for developing. And that this will be a problem in the future. I called a small company in a small town an hour drive from me, function said they wanted someone who got into coding by hobby and pure interest, and all you needed was to be excited. But on the phone they said rather to have someone living close to them with 2 or more years experience, good luck finding your fictional wonderboy.

Just keep going at it man! I haven’t found anything yet aswell but got very far by just talking to al lot of people and making connections. Doing a job right now that isn’t my cup of tea. I think you should try to get the best out of your current job, and hope to get something within the next year or something. At least that worked for me better since the disappointment of not making my goals and still doing a shitty job can was very discouraging.


#13

Out of curiousity, how many of the FCC project did you do before you started applying? And how long have you been learning?


#14

I finished all three FCC certificates before I began applying in earnest.

As to how long have I been learning, I was a C coder for a brief period back in the 90s, semi-professionally, and studied electrical engineering while working in high tech. I got sick of that and switched majors to music. I’ve been interested in web dev for about a year now.


#15

Sorry to hear it’s been such a bad experience. Perseverance and patience will pay off. Good luck!


#16

I don’t know if I’m ready to call them “bad experiences” yet. I’m hoping that within 6 months they’ll be amusing watercooler stories.


#17

My advice is quite different from most people here. I suggest you should take on odd jobs and while working to see if the company has a need for a web developer. Take the opportunity from within, that how I got my position. I applied as Social Media Specialist to get out of Web Development, but within one week the startup was launching a new website which they outsourced. The outsourced files were so bad, I prompted the CEO let me fix the mess within 3 hours before you launch. He agreed and now I’m the lead Full Stack Web Developer. Even though, I applied as Social Media Specialist position to get out of Web Development. I still ended within Web Development and reignited the spark to pursue it again.


#18

I’m sorry, am I misunderstanding? Were you working as a web dev and then applied for a completely different job because you didn’t want to be a web dev anymore? For one thing that would mean that you already had web dev experience.

I’ll assume that I misunderstood that and your advice is to take any job to get my foot in the door. I have considered jobs tangential to web deve/coding, as long as they were tech based.


#19

First, on the recruiters: There are good ones and bad ones. The bad ones often are newbies with little or no technical background. Usually they have marketing background and are physically presentable. They spam email anyone whose resume has one of the keywords matching a keyword in the job description they’re trying to fill. It’s automated - they never actually look at your resume until you respond to their email.

People looking to fill sales jobs do not care that you’re looking for something else. They also auto-spam-email. The sales jobs are usually commission only or start with a tiny base salary, with the rest being commission. It’s not just insurance. For a while, I got lots of emails about jobs selling yachts, of all things.

I’ve long wished that jobsites would provide a setting to block sales job emails.

A few suggestions:

  1. When you’re networking with people in tech, ask them to refer you to recruiters they know and trust (even if they didn’t get their job through every recruiter they worked with). That will connect you to recruiters who know their stuff, and by saying someone referred you to them, you won’t be just some random person off the street. Also, you’ll get referred to the agencies and recruiters who specifically place people in web dev jobs.

  2. Consider taking contract (temp) jobs. Very often a 3 or 6 month contract will be extended, and very often it opens the door to staying on as a permanent employee. It also gives you a real job in web dev to put on your resume, a slew of contacts to network with for the net contract or job, etc. Plus, you’ll be more desirable to prospective employers while you’re employed somewhere.

  3. You know music and education. Consider targeting companies that create software for music and/or education.

  4. Would you be willing to travel or relocate for a job? Junior developers don’t usually get jobs requiring relocation, but it can’t hurt to be open to opportunities nationwide.

  5. Which brings me back to recruiters: Even if you want to stay local, don’t limit yourself to local recruiters. I’ve gotten jobs in one state through recruiters in another state.

  6. As much as I dislike posting my personal and professional info on LinkedIn, it is a place where recruiters search for job candidates. I’ve gotten jobs from LinkedIn with no networking on my part. Though it does help to have contacts and endorsements from some of them. Also to join groups related to the areas of tech and companies you’re interested in. By the way, the recruiters who contacted me about the jobs I eventually got through them were not part of my network.

  7. Open source projects and projects of your own can be great for building your portfolio, but you can also get paid for your work through places like upwork.com, freelancer.com, etc. (Moderators: If I shouldn’t be mentioning companies by name, please just blot out the names and leave this: through places you can find by googling “web dev work online”) Even if the pay is low at first, you can build a clientele working from home on your own time - and have paid projects to put on your resume.


#20

Nah, you’re ok :slight_smile:

Thanks for your detailed post!