9 job hunting tips for junior developers

It’s a great time to be looking for a job in tech, there are loads of opportunities out there. Still when it comes to newcomers: folks coming from non-traditional roles or tech bootcamp graduates, there is still alot of bs about getting a foot in the door. So here are some need to know tips to land that all-important first role.

1. Don’t label yourself a junior developer.

Not on your cv and not on business cards. Junior developer is a role, and one that nobody can even agree on what it means.

2. Do label yourself based on tech.

It’s never too early to specialise and this helps others find you roles and connect you with the right folks. You can base it on programming language: Java developer, Go developer, etc. Or you can base it on domain role: data scientist, front-end developer, site reliability engineer.

3. Don’t get disheartened 

You will hear over and over again “we only want candidates with a computer science degree”. Just ignore that and know you’ve dodged a bullet working for those companies. The right company will value your skills and give you a chance regardless of the ‘lack’ of a computer science degree.

4. Find ways to talk to hiring managers.

Ideally in non-interview situations, have informal chats with hiring managers about roles and hiring techniques. Ask questions and aim to leave each conversation having picked up insights you can take to the next conversation.  Conferences are good places for this. Reach out to your network, or ask me and I’ll connect you with someone who can help.

5. Don’t waste too much time learning new tech.

You should probably know one programming language well. Probably. When you jobhunt, lots of people will recommend technologies you ‘must’ know. Never delay your jobhunt while you go off and try to learn that tech. At most spend a day trying it out and getting the gist of it. Take advantage of online platforms such as Katacoda to do this effectively.

6. Collect technology decision stories.

An interviewer asks if you know React. You don’t. Don’t panic, just start asking good questions.

‘What do you use React for at your company?’

‘When did you start using it?’

‘Why did you choose it?’

‘Are there any drawbacks?’

For any technology aim to get a good story about that company and how they use it.

7. Name drop companies profusely

During your next interviews work in the stories you have gathered. Next time React comes up, say something along the lines of ‘I know Company X has been using React for Y years and love it although they want to improve its performance when doing Z – is that something that affects your architecture?’  Referencing other companies is strangely comforting to an interviewer, it lets them know you understand your industry and can help them make good tech decisions going forward.

8. Make social media work for you

Interviewers will look you up on Github, LinkedIn and Twitter. Don’t worry too much about it but do be aware and if getting someone to review your cv, it may be worth also asking them to review your online presence. Also if you have good social networks you can leverage them, for example, try job hunting with a tweet.

9. Schedule time with your cheerleaders

Finally, jobhunting eats away at all your resilience and positivity so be sure to schedule in time with friends or colleagues who can cheer you on and keep recharging your confidence. I’m also happy to cheer you on, so feel free to get in touch.

Good luck!



Many thanks to Hanna Solomon and Kara de la Marck for reviewing & contributing to this post.

Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

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