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?

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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?

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

There will always be a need for software engineers.

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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?

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@ghostlovescore, @peachesmotorsports and anyone else that can help. I am currently enrolled into codecademy and building my way through the courses. I have my sight set on working towards becoming a cloud architect, but any back end or maybe front end work would work until I get there. I am 30 years old, I am currently Active duty Military. I’m a careerist but due to the changes in the work environment and other factors that have led me to the decision to leave. My question(s) is, What certifications do I need and where do I get them? and what are the prospects of me finding a job with Amazon or Google? what steps do I need to take?

I order to be a successful cloud architect you don’t need to work for Amazon or Google, is there a particular reason you are focusing on those 2 companies? Many companies nowadays need a cloud architect, finding a company that has a good working environment and pays well is the real challenge.

If your end goal is to be a cloud architect, having a strong background in backend services will be better than the front-end. Not saying that front-end experience is useless, but the backend will be better because you’ll be managing said services so focus on that. As for certifications, you shouldn’t focus on those. Some companies require them but the fact that you have a certificate doesn’t mean you can actually do the job. I’ve interviewed several people that have a certificate but don’t really have the experience or knowledge needed. My DevOps engineer has no certificates, but he is very curious and driven so he learns on the job on his own.

While you’re taking the courses, get yourself a copy of the following;

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate (Exam Guide) -> you can ger this certificate if you really want one
  • The Kubernetes Book, Nigel Poulton
  • Terraform: Up and Running, Brikman

Read those and start playing with clusters. You’re going to need a good knowledge of Docker and a decent machine to set up local clusters. My Macbook Pro has 16GB of RAM and it struggles when I enable the Kubernetes local cluster, I also have a lot of stuff open though but still, it doesn’t work for me. If you want to make a small investment in yourself, you can actually sign up for a personal AWS account and create things there, the commands are the same but you can also play with the IAM roles, EC2 instances, S3, buckets, etc.

Good article to read.

This is something I’ve been meaning to do for myself to offload the demand on my system running everything locally, I just haven’t had the time to do it.

Things I recommend you learn\master along the way:

  • git (branch management, strategies, pipelines, runners, environments) -> there are many tools for this: Gitlab, Github, Jenkins, etc.
  • bash
  • Docker
  • AWS services (EC2, S3, serverless functions, dynamic resources, etc.) -> note that a lot of companies use AWS, but if you really want to make yourself marketable you should also learn the equivalent for Google and Azure. Heroku is another option, I haven’t explored their services in a while but they have a free tier you can use to minimize costs
  • nginx
  • REDIS
  • databases (SQL, NoSQL, any flavor) -> setup, backup, backup strategies, restore, ETL, performance testing
  • Istio
  • monitoring (Grafana)
  • QA strategies (focused on the environments and deployments)
  • security (roles, permissions, best practices, testing) -> you’ll be the main point of contact for any audit the company has to go through

This is not everything to be considered, but it’s a good start. You’ve set yourself an ambitious goal, you’ll need to do a lot more research and find a way to stay up to date with this environment. A lot of articles come up almost daily explaining problems for specific versions or services, how to avoid or fix them, or what to change.

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@peachesmotorsports Thank you for the quick response. Right now I’m pushing through the CSS course, I’ve completed “HTML” and “Learning the Command Prompt” I was thinking about doing the JAVA course and then moving into SQL all of this seems pretty basic and not that difficult, so I will definitely take your advice. My knowledge in coding is very minimal so I was advised to start from the basics and work my way up, I want to build a good foundation in knowledge and familiarity. In your opinion, am I taking unnecessary steps? and would you recommend the Backend Engineer stack course provided here? And to answer your question, I was looking at Amazon or Google mainly because of their size and the projected income for the desired position. Thank you again for taking to time to point me in the right direction.

The size of Google or Amazon isn’t necessarily a strength, and neither is the salary. Getting a position there is not easy, there are many candidates. You can get the same or higher salary at other companies. Some of their perks might be of interest to you, but again those perks can be found elsewhere.

Basic CSS and HTML knowledge never hurt anybody, but I’d focus on Python rather than JAVA as it’s more useful for backend services. Skip the individual SQL course and just take the Backend Engineer course.

Front-end wise you don’t need to know how to code, but you do need to know how they work, how to deploy, and how things integrate which is why I mentioned nginx and REDIS (mostly because that’s what we use, there are other features out there that are useful). This is not covered by the courses but can be learned through youtube videos or blogs.

You also need to learn how to deploy code, whether it’s to the cloud or a data center, windows, Linux, Docker, Kubernetes, etc. I haven’t taken the time to search for a resource that gives you ideas for projects so you can practice, I’ve thought about creating one since I have some projects that can be used for just that.

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AWS does have a program where they work with military veterans. Have you looked into this:
https://aws.amazon.com/careers/military/
They have a technical apprenticeship for careers in cloud computing.

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@peachesmotorsports thats a good point, thank you. Ill just skip java for now and focus on Python, and the same for the SQL. now would it be more beneficial for me to take the python course before diving into the Backend Engineer course? Im definitely going to take your advice, thanks alot for all of this information!

@lisalisaj I actually didnt know that and I will have to look into it, thank you!

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