In this blog series thus far, we've outlined a path that will leave you with a decently presentable body of learning and work to show off. At Hack Reactor's development bootcamp, this happens by the end of week nine, and at this point, we guide students through the job search process with days of prepared curriculum, a huge internal wiki, a hiring event with about two dozen companies coming in to interview students, and more.
In this article, we're going to try to convey all of that information and make sure you're well informed on how to get a programming job.
How to Get A Programming Job: Personal Networks
Start by leveraging your personal networks as much as possible. Let them know that you're looking for web development work, and ask them to make introductions. Even weak ties through social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn can pay off. Attend industry events such as Meetups, talks, and conferences, and participate in tech-specific online forums. Being proactive in asking for leads is a crucial part of how to get a programming job.
Finally, put in the bulk of your time with job sites like the high-end AngelList and White Truffle, good old fashioned CraigsList, and Dice.com, which is full of easier-to-get, lower-status jobs. Here is a pretty exhaustive list of job boards for developers.
Application Tips to Consider
The next thing you should learn when understanding how to get a programming job is that it's important to apply to a range of positions. Spend about half your time applying for the jobs of your dreams, and the other half applying for the crappier jobs that are much easier to get. It's nice to have a backup plan, and they're helpful in negotiations as well.
Don't be discouraged at all by "4-year degree or equivalent experience." That phrase means, "Don't apply if you don't know how to code."
Don't be discouraged by "2-3 years experience required" either. More might be a problem. Don't be discouraged by "requirements" unless you're missing more than half of them. They're more like "suggestions" and they're really flexible if you're kind of awesome at life.
Apply to a lot of positions. Aim for 40 each weekend (while you follow up and study for interviews during the week).
When reaching out, spend time customizing your cover letter for each company, but not too much. You want to keep this time commitment down to a few minutes. Reuse the overall structure and your description about yourself.
- The name of the position you're applying for
- One sentence about what you like about the company
- One sentence about what you like about the position, and something specific about how you'd do a great job at it
Finally, it's important to set daily goals and monitor them closely. If necessary, check-in regularly with a trusted friend or family member to maintain accountability.
With some gumption, and a little fine-tuning, you should start to receive offers for interviews. The technical interview can be a scary process, and we'll talk more about conquering it in future articles.
We hope we've helped explain to the majority of new coders out there how to get a programming job. Good luck! As always, feel free to comment on this article with any questions.
- Douglas Calhoun Co-Founder, Hack Reactor