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Tips for Landing Your First Web/Software Development Job

Doug Calhoun

Landing that all-important first web development job is on the top of many of our developers' minds when they enter Hack Reactor's development bootcamp. In addition to teaching you how to code, we also spend a fair amount of time supporting you through the job application process.

When you graduate from a top engineering school like Stanford or MIT with a CS degree, you can more-or-less wave your diploma in the air to summon a representative from a big, name-brand company like Google or Facebook to whisk you away to a manicured corporate campus and an easy life filled with free meals, communal bicycles, and daily massages. Unfortunately, we don't all have that luxury.

Luckily for us, web development is a skill that is easy to exhibit and you'll have plenty of opportunities to prove that you can do work that provides value to companies. The first step in that process is burnishing your online presence. This may seem obvious and common to any job search, but especially among this tech savvy crowd, you will be Googled.

Web Development Job: Your Social Media

Check your LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media accounts with an eye towards how you are representing yourself online. Delete inappropriate content, of course, but add some nerd-appropriate content as well. Link to interesting articles you've read on programming and keep up with and comment on current trends and happenings in the industry. At a high-level, you want to generally show passion for and engagement in the web development world.

A Coding Blog

Create a developer blog. This is a great place to let employers know what you've been working on and how you think about tech. It also allows you to engage with programming concepts in another way and helps you to retain more of what you learn. You should have at least 2-3 posts - mini-tutorials on various subjects, reviews of libraries you recently learned about, or reviews of challenging concepts. For increased visibility, be sure to submit interesting & well thought-out posts to Hacker News.  Next, it's time to step up and be a more meaningful contributor to the community. Creating accounts for and participating in Q&A on StackOverflow and Quora are great ways to get your questions answered as well as to lend your experience to those coming up behind you.

GitHub Presence

Finally, you'll want to develop a solid portfolio. Starting on GitHub, this will consist of everything from interesting code snippets which you have written to fully built-out web applications of your own design to successful pull requests to open source projects to which you've contributed. Don't forget to include a readme where appropriate. You may also want to create a personal website, which could include a short biography, a statement of interest detailing what kinds of roles you're looking to take on, and links to your live hosted applications, GitHub profile, your blog, and of course contact information.

When you've finished that process, it's time to get out there and start pounding the metaphorical pavement. We'll talk about where to find technical job openings, how to make the best impression possible, and dealing with the technical job interview in the next installment.

As always, you can reply to this blog with any questions or comments.

Happy coding!

-Douglas Calhoun Co-Founder, Hack Reactor