How I got a .NET development job by only knowing JavaScript

Brian Hankins
Mar 29, 2016 · 6 min read

Prepare….for a book below…

I got a .NET software developer job today and I only know JavaScript.

Not only do I only know JavaScript, I’ve only been developing for a little over 6 months.

(One confession…I am very dedicated and even though I have taken a few weeks off, I usually study 5 to 7 hours per night. From 8pm when the kids go to bed to 2 or 3 am every day. Yes, I’m tired! But I’ll sleep when I’m dead)

Now, many of you are probably thinking..

“How in the *&%# is that possible?”

Well, taking the key things from this site and resources is the answer. Let me explain.

One side note: Keep in mind, this is not a junior level position. This is a full-time software development position for a large company.

  1. I learned HTML, CSS, and JavaScript from many different resources. I’ve probably used them all — CodeAcademy, Udemy, Free Code Camp, Pluralsight, YouTube, etc. For the ones I’ve never used, I’ve looked at. So, what helped me in getting this coding position was that the shop does use JS/Angular but really it was the underlying fundamentals of knowing a functional programming language. Now, here is the kicker. I’ve never built anything with JS or jQuery! I’ve used and manipulated some JS code from GitHub but really it was my key understanding that I was able to get through the interview process. So, here is a break down that helped me the most:

i) HTML/CSS: his of course has been said a million times but really dive deep into CSS and pick SASS as a pre-compiler. Why? Well, I don’t know CSS very well and never used SASS but the shop does. So guess what? Not only do I have to learn .NET for this job…I have to learn those basics. If I had taken a good solid week to learn CSS/SASS it would be a huge time saver and thus, would have made the projects I already do have, better.

ii) Free Code Camp — During the coding portion of my interview I had to write out various functions, arrays, objects, etc. At one point I was told to use the .map method and pass in the array. I haven’t used .map in months. So I actually stopped the interview and asked if I could show them my GitHub Gists. I also opened up Free Code Camp. I gave them a tour on FCC and showed them some of the basic algorithm scripting problems. I then showed them my answers in which FCC allowed me to post as Gists after completing those problems. Not only did this showcase my GitHub knowledge but I had worked real problems out. Guess what happened? The interviewer stopped and said “That’s all I need to see, you passed!” Now note, I said basic algorithm scripting. I haven’t got to the advanced portion yet on FCC!

(Extra tip: I used my website to get to GitHub account. So I was able to showcase my portfolio, talk about my projects while on there, and then lead into GitHub where the conversation was needing to go for the above)

iii) The most valuable course I have taken is Tony Alicea “JavaScript: Understanding the Weird Parts” from Udemy. I actually had to go through this course twice to understand it. However, it paid off! During the opening of the interview when we were talking the whole “about me” I mentioned my experience, what I have done, why I was coding now, and some of the things I found fascinating, and of course at this time bringing up the most technical and hardest subject I could think of the time — JavaScript weird parts. So I mentioned Closures. Immediately the interviewer was a bit taken off guard. “How do you know about Closures? I mean, what is a Closure?” He asked. I did the best I could to explain it and he knew where I was going with it and thus knew what I was talking about. I then talked about the various scope chains, the keyword ‘this’, about prototypes, __proto__, and about IEFE’s. This now, had placed the idea into the interviewers head that I wasn’t just some 6 month old coder who barely knew anything about programming. I had taken the time to dive deep. Again, even though I hadn’t built a single JS app.

2. So how DID I get this job? Networking. I honestly hate networking. I have an introverted personality so talking with people, getting to know them, networking with them, connecting later for coffee…no. Not for me. It feels weird, slimy, and like I’m using them for only a personal gain. Again, many introverts feel nearly the same way. It’s not wrong. So, I work for a big company and I knew where the developers sit. One day I see them just chit chatting while taking a break and I walk over and sort of introduce myself, ask some basic coding questions on what projects they are working on, which languages are being used, etc. I tell them I am learning to code, blah, blah, blah. I thought they were cool guys. A bit nerdy like me and much more fun to talk to than the typical office gossip about how ‘Sherri was seen at the bar dancing with another dude last weekend.’ So every chance I get I hop on over there to listen in, try to contribute to the conversation or just say “Hey, can I get some clarification on how anonymous functions work?” Or, do you have any good JS frameworks you know about? Now, I’m only doing this when they are taking a break, not when they are working. Three months later a position opens up. One of the senior developers is taking a new job somewhere else…I was the only interview candidate because the same day he turned his 2 week resignation in…I was doing my interview.

3. Dabble. It’s really tough to learn everything. However, dabble into everything you can. I would take advice from the developers about some JS framework like Angular 2, or F#, Green Socks, Entity, and I would dabble with is. Try to understand the basics, how the language works and the key terms to talk somewhat intelligently about the language. I’m just learning the basics, not deep diving or learning it to someday use it. These may be just YouTube tutorials (and of course anytime you watch or learn anything…write the code out in an editor!). This really helps so you can compare various languages.

4. Apply for jobs, all jobs, everywhere. During lunch with the interviewer (yes, my interview went really all day and actually turned into a training session for my new job) we spoke about coding interviews and companies who hire coders. The number one thing that the senior programmers agreed on was:

“Companies don’t know what they want in a developer. They may list all this cool stuff out and yes they would like for you know about all this stuff, but really if you didn’t, it wouldn’t matter because…well…they really don’t know what they want.”

This makes sense given how the speed of technology, languages, etc. changes very quickly. It’s sort of like the current Presidential candidates. We know we want a President. We know what qualities we want that President to have. But when it comes to a President…we never know which one we really want. However, Presidents still apply for the job, even though they lack key skills. Understand? Good.

So, if you made it this far. Thank you for reading. I’ve never wrote a blog post, medium article, etc. This is my first. I just want to share my thoughts to aspiring developers who (like me weeks ago) was going through what Quincy Larson calls the ‘Desert of Despair’ in coding. I thought I was never going to get a job. That I had way too much to learn, and that coding…is just hard! So search this site for all the wonderful posts, articles, videos people share. Save them, watch them, and learn! Everything helps, even JavaScript for a .NET position!

Please note: I do not represent any of the above links or content. I do not get endorsements or paid for anything written or used above. This is purely my own experience I wished to share with you and others as so many before me have shared with me.

Thank you! ~Brian

Brian Hankins

Written by

I’m a software developer who after 6 months coding I landed my first full-stack development job. Now blogging to new coders how to do the same.