Can someone please give me some valuable career advice, I am struggling broke and trying to break in as a Junior Dev, but zero luck!

I have an honest question a lot of people im sure would like to know. So I have been applying for every junior developer job I see, problem is this market is so saturated right now I feel like you have to win the powerball to get a job. I have a pretty good understanding of a junior developer right now. Can anyone help me or give me somewhere to start out. I have my linkedIn, indeed, instagram and facebook but still no luck. I try to network everyday and I attend webinars and a ton of meetups. I feel like I am getting very unlucky. I am a very nice guy and a great listener. I might not be the best programmer but what junior dev is, if they were youd be mid level or a senior. I am about to give up and move on because honestly this isnt paying the bills and its getting frustrating. Maybe someone has some motivational tips or advice for me?

4 Likes

Hey there,

I feel there’s no right answer to this, because we don’t know enough to really be able to help you out. Do you apply but don’t get any answers? Do you manage to get in for an interview but fail there?

If you don’t get any answers: how good is your resumé, cover letter? Can you have them reviewed by someone who’ll be honest with you?

Soft skills are really important. Make sure to mention that. But don’t just say “I’m a very nice guy”. I believe you, but not everyone will. Anyone can say that about themselves. Present it with examples.

Also, what’s your stack? Do you specialize in anything? Are you a full-stack dev? Front-end? Back-end?

Do you have a Github account with projects to show employers?

That’s right. Don’t mention this, though. Say you’re hungry to keep learning, every day.

With that comes another problem. If you apply to 20 different places, you’ll most likely just send out a “template cover letter” that doesn’t necessarily align with company X, Y or Z.

The underlying problem is that employers don’t want to waste time and money on someone that will get some training with them and then move elsewhere after a year or two. Thus you must show that you’re familiar with the company you’re applying to, understand what they do, how they work, their culture, their values, and sprinkle some of this information in your cover letter. This is like Tinder but for work relationships. There’s got to be a match. Both you and the employer must feel like there’s a match. Tell them how you’ll be a great match for them. And show long-term commitment.

Don’t. Do you really want this? Then fight for it. You might even want to consider getting another job while looking for your dream job. Or consider freelancing. There are plenty of places such as Fiverr, UpWork, TopCoder, Communo, Dice,… offering jobs that would help build your portfolio. Also, if you’re looking in your area, but can’t find a job there, consider remote work. That’s the future anyway.

Last, consider that this might be a tough time to find a job. Millions have already lost theirs. Employers might be more careful with their current spending. But things will get better. Just persevere.

All the best

14 Likes

Hey there thanks for your reply. So if you give me some sort of contact I will give you my resume. So I have had two interviews in the past two weeks both fails. I completed the test code but they moved on with another applicant. I apply on indeed, flexjobs…

I have totally struck out when it comes to getting paid freelance. That is an art in itself and I would love to know how to do that. With my skill level I just dont think its possible.

There are way to many drag and drop website builders out there so Im kinda lost on how to market myself?

As for fiverr and these types of sites great idea but do people make a living. I sold a John Elway card for 100 dollars today but I only had one John Elway, if you catch my drift.

1 Like

Unfortunately, this business is very rough. A few years ago I had 7 years of experience as a QA Engineer, I was applying to 3 or 4 jobs a day for weeks and no call backs, the few interviews I managed to land went no where. In my experience it doesn’t matter how nice you are or how much experience you have, if the company doesn’t think you’ll fit in then you’re not going to be considered.

Why don’t you fit in? Sometimes they’re looking for a leader, sometimes they’re looking for someone to just do what they’re told and not ask questions. Sometimes they’re looking for someone who requires no training and can start working immediately. It’s hard to tell, but if you don’t fit what they want you’re out.

Here’s what you can do to maximize your chances:

  • have someone review your resume, also have a cover letter handy (public libraries can help with this)
  • keep networking
  • keep applying to every job you want
  • keep attending as many meetups as you can
  • join a hackaton or coding challenges
  • develop projects on your own to get more experience
  • talk to staffing firms. Staffing firms do most of the hard work for you, you tell them your story and they talk on your behalf. They already have relationships built with companies so they put in a word on your behalf, sometimes they provide training to help you have a better chance. IF they get you a job they take a cut for a while, but it’s better than nothing.

While freelancing is an option, it is complicated and requires knowledge that as a beginner you most likely don’t have. It also means you have to be a good marketer, salesman, designer, and project manager. It also requires a decent investment, because you’re not getting paid as soon as you land a job. I considered this myself, it’s a lot more work than you would think. It’s not impossible, but it’s not easy.

6 Likes

Do you have a website, or portfolio of work? Maybe add a video intro of yourself but don’t make it lengthy, just an intro, ~2 min. then you can direct people to your site.

Also, I would leave out your personal Instagram and FB accounts. Neither of those have anything to do with work or potential work. What I mean is have a separation between personal/private and work.
As for your resume and cover letter, there are companies out there that will re-write them for a fee. Just do a google search. I had this done a few years ago and was impressed with the person who re-wrote my resume b/c they were in my field, so, they knew what to say.

Also, when applying to jobs it might be helpful to use something like a word cloud generator to see if you have enough key words from the job post contained in your resume.
ie: copy and paste the job post in the world cloud generator and then see if those words are in your resume. If not, add them strategically b/c ATSs check to see if key words/phrases are in applicant resumes.

6 Likes

Thank you for trying to help, I appreciate you all. I have gotten better with my resume and came up with a kick â– â– â–  cover letter. Still no job but I had an interview with Fema and he really liked me and also a startup in California where I passed the coding test and waiting on a response, wish me luck. Thanks for the positivity its helping!

2 Likes

Thank you so much. The positivity is outstanding on here. I actually might get hired by Fema brother doing IT work. Its not a developer position but a foot in the door. Your right getting a programmer job is the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do. I have had a couple of interviews and passed one coding test. Thanks for the support you guys are helping me along. I was down in the dumps but I am slowly gaining confidence. Ty again!

3 Likes

Good to hear. Another way you can move up is by starting in support, that is what we do in our company. I currently have a Jr QA member that came up from support, his end goal is to be a developer. At the moment I’m teaching him to do QA Automation, but he sometimes fixes small bugs in our project. It takes a while, but it’s another option.

4 Likes

All really great responses, do keep us updated on your search will be great to know where you end up!

To add my own thoughts to the great stuff that has been said:

  • 100% look at what values the company has and make sure you tailor your CV to highlight that you have the same qualities and values.
  • In an interview never say “I am X” without justifying it. Look up the “STAR” format, if you are asked a question justify the answer using that format.
  • If you are unsuccessful somewhere, ask them why! Lots of times companies will be able to give you feedback on what you could improve on.
  • Make sure you have an active GitHub account which shows off some personal projects. If there are any open source projects that you could contribute to through GitHub even better.
  • Lots of entry level positions don’t actually care how well you can program at all. You could literally not now how to use a computer and they’ll hire you. What you need to do is look up programming interview questions online, these test how well you can problem solve. Being able to explain to someone how to solve these problems, without actually typing them out, will help loooaaddss. Also look up Project Euler to give you some bonus challenges to practice.

And as others have said keep at it! You’ll get there eventually, even if you have to pick up another job to pay the bills, keep pursuing your dreams.

Good luck!

2 Likes

Hello everyone sorry I have not got in touch in a while. So I still have not received a job and certainly down on my luck. I have lately been doing a ton of responsive design and I am still trying to land my first Upwork client. I am never going to give up. I think I found what I am best at though. I really like the artistic nature of responsive design and what you can do with all sorts of media queries and that type of thing. If anyone has any advice of how to get work when it comes to this please let me know. I feel very stuck still.

Thanks so much Alex. Darn its just so frustrating not working as a junior developer. Like you said some companies dont even care how good you are they look for certain qualities though. I wanted to tell ya I have been studying a ton of responsive design and feel my forte is making mobile and desktop sites look amazing with responsive design. My only question is people are telling me there are going to be no more jobs in website design because of sites like wix. what do you think about this?

1 Like

Wix is a horrible. (I say that from a user standpoint).

There will always be a need for software engineers.

2 Likes

I never said software engineers I was saying coders who like to simply put together some html, javascript, css. The days for these people are over. I am mad I have wasted so much time in this while I should of been learning Java, kotlin and other things.

There definitely still will be a role of Web developers, people hate wix. Any serious company will not be using it, and even if they are using something else like WordPress, Web developers are needed to customise it.

So there definitely will still be a need.

Do you have a portfolio website showing off your sites?

3 Likes