by Nathan

If you want a developer job, be fearless and dream big

As a mentor and teacher at Free Code Camp, I’m often playing the counselor. Countless people fret about finding a job. And often, it’s not because they were rejected — it’s because they were afraid to apply.

My counsel was always the same. I attempt to assuage their worry and self doubt. I say: “An unsent application is a guaranteed rejection.” Or I tell them one of my personal beliefs: “Real success is only possible from a position that risks failure.”

And now that I’m on the fast-track to retirement from the US military, I myself have entered into the job hunting market. I now see the things they were so worried about. All the “thanks for applying, but we’ve decided to move on with other applicants.”

The impersonal nature and lack of meaningful feedback is disheartening.

Failure Again
Yet again…
This one stung badly. Did not appreciate the quip/sarcasm.

I have many other rejections, and suspect I’ll have more.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however. I have had some successes, and am genuinely grateful for those. I suspect I’ll fail many more times than I succeed. And that’s OK.

I’ve applied to Google, Microsoft, Amazon (multiple times), and some local companies in the Seattle area. I’d apply at Facebook, but I don’t have an account, so that might be a non-starter (I admire Facebook and their vision, but I’ve chosen not to have an account so I can’t post stupid things that might have an impact on my security clearance).

Some of these might be moon shots, but hey — they only gave Neil Armstrong 50/50 odds on a successful moon landing.

I have noticed one thing, though: I have a lot more success interviewing at places where I believe in their mission.

If you’re in my position, please join me in being fearless and dreaming big. Don’t be afraid to apply.

Don’t think “I could never work at that company — they’re way out of my league.”

We all have a tendency to limit our expectations and prepare for rejection. But don’t let that stop you from trying.

Keep your nose down, study those algorithms, Always Be Coding, and be sure to have fun while you’re at it.

If you’re looking to learn how to program, the resources available to you are vast. Why not give Free Code Camp a shot? And I can’t recommend Coursera, Edx, or Udacity enough. You don’t need a new year’s resolution of learning in 21 days. Instead, focus on clearing the hardest step — getting started.