Short description: Are you willing to work as a web developer? Whether you are fresh out of college, self-taught, or just out of coding courses, this step-by-step guide will help you to start your career.
Web developing is a promising industry and anyone who chooses it surely expects great opportunities. It is not surprising as job search platforms like Indeed offer around one hundred thousand job ads for web developers. Moreover, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment of web developers is going to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026. Does that mean that finding a job is easy for web developers?
While the demand for web developers is huge, the specialists in this industry still face common job search difficulties. Why does it happen? Despite a large number of offers, the competition among web developing specialists is also huge. Like any professional, you probably focus on developing your skills and getting the experience. However, it does not mean that you know how to present your knowledge to get a satisfying job. Moreover, most vacancies require the experience that not every candidate has.
If you are lost and have no idea how to get your first job as a web developer, here is a detailed guide for starting your career. Find out how to market your skills and land a job.
Step 1: Getting the Experience
Web development is an innovative industry and it is mostly a skill-based field. Most job applications do not require a college degree in computer science. There are a lot of self-taught specialists or those who got their knowledge thanks to boot camps and courses. However, the conventional requirement of having the experience keeps being one of the most convincing factors for employers. How to demonstrate the experience you have? Where to get the experience if you are only at the start of your career? Here are some answers.
Prepare Your Resume and Cover Letter
After working hard on your skills and experience, it would be upsetting to lose a great job offer because of a weak resume. Although the industry changed a lot, a developer resume still has great power and it should be as good as your portfolio. Make sure it is well-structured and has the necessary keywords. Tailor the document for each application after doing the research about the company you apply to.
Create a Model Website to Practice
If you have not had any paid projects yet, the best way to get one is to practice and show your skills. There is no need to wait for the paid job to demonstrate what you are capable of. Do some mock coding projects creating model websites for non-existent brands or redesign some real sites. You may also offer your friends and acquaintances the help with their websites in exchange for feedback. Do not get upset thinking that you work for free. You will get valuable experience and the growth of your beginner’s freelance rate.
Get Involved in an Open Source Project
Participating in open source projects like Ruby on Rails, MySQL and Linux is another great option. It will boost your development skills and give you the experience of working in a team. It is also a great way to meet other developers and network with other specialists in the industry. Once you find the appealing project, do not hesitate to join and test your skills. You may start with something basic like reporting bugs or beta testing.
Build an Impressive Portfolio
Once you get some experience, it is time to demonstrate it to others. Create a portfolio including any work you have ever done. You may use mock coding projects, work for open source projects, volunteer work or any other samples you have. Add testimonials and positive feedback from the clients. Use anything you have to create a convincing portfolio that reflects your skills.
While you develop your skills and get the experience to improve your portfolio, you can also get paid. Freelancing is a great entry-level option for web developers. Apart from earning money, you will also learn to negotiate with clients and meet the deadlines. It is also a great way to get recommendations that can prove your trustworthiness. Start with small projects like creating an HTML newsletter for a local brand or improving site navigation.
Step 2: Getting into the Industry
Getting the experience is important but it is only the first step to landing a decent job. Even after working on some projects, you may still not know what your destination is. Do you want to work for a startup or a large corporation? What are the average salaries? Is remote work better than working in the office? You can receive the answers only networking with other specialists and learning about the industry. Thus, start getting inside the community.
Check Industry News Daily
Stay tuned with what is happening in tech. You may read relevant blogs, visit tech news sites or listen to podcasts. Find web development groups and communities on social media to check their posts. Follow the pages of companies to those you are interested in. It will help you to keep up with the latest tendencies and current industry standards.
Join Online Communities
Numerous online platforms like GitHub and StackOverflow give web developers a chance to network and share experiences. Visit the web developers’ portals and participate in discussions to exchange knowledge with others. It is very likely that you will make some valuable contacts along the way.
Apart from online networking, you should not forget about making connections in real life. Attend tech meet-ups and workshops to wider your interest and meet new people. If you are ready for something more intense, you may also participate in the hackathon. This way you will have a chance to collaborate with other developers and work together on a project. It will both boost your skills and bring new connections.
Step 3: Start Active Job Hunt
The opportunity may come unexpectedly and you can get a job offer while networking. However, in most cases, you will still need to search for a job yourself. If you followed previous steps, you should be ready to meet the requirements of most junior development job ads. Before applying for vacancies, think through your strategy.
Search for the Vacancies
Think through the details of the job you need. Are you willing to focus on frontend or backend development? Do you want to become a part of a large corporation or work in a small team? Are you willing to travel? Once you know what you want exactly, start searching for suitable applications. Check the online portals like LinkedIn, Indeed, Smashing Jobs, GitHub, Codeity, and others. Apply only to the jobs that you would really take. Do not be afraid! If you meet at least 80% of the requirements, try your chances.
Using the Help of Recruiters
Using the services of the recruiters is not obligatory. However, you may try this option. They often know about the jobs that are not posted and have a lot of information about the companies. At the same time, they may offer jobs that do not suit you perfectly. Do not be shy to refuse if it is not the job you really want and wait for a better offer.
Step 4: Going to the Interviews
If you got an interview invitation, it means that you are one step apart from the job you want. Nevertheless, it is still not the time to relax and celebrate. Interviews require some preparation if you are intended to succeed.
Doing research about the employing company is a usual part of preparing for the interview, but some people still get it wrong. Learning the company’s “About” section is not what you should do. You do not need to know the exact date of foundation and all the products the company produces. Try to find out what their mission is, what future this company may have and what contribution you can make. Come up with some suggestions that may solve the company’s current issues. It will be appreciated.
Be Ready to Show Your Skills
Be a Team Player
While your professionalism is important, the employers are likely to pay attention to your personal qualities as well. All in all, they hire a person that needs to fit in order to work effectively. Being able to work in a team is essential for a web developer. Try to show a positive attitude and solid communication skills. A good image will make employers sure that you can collaborate with your colleagues to achieve great results.
Step 5: Get Hired!
You may not get the desired job after just one interview but if you followed all the steps it is surely about to happen. Be ready to get your web developer job and get paid for coding.
That was the final step of the ultimate guide for a job search in web development. Adjust this strategy to your needs and use the tips to make your job search effective.