So before I start rambling on I would love to show you my top 5 tips on how to make the process as easy as possible for you!
Focus on a particular part of the industry
If you’re wondering what languages to focus on when starting out I would recommend two things. One, look into python, it is easy for beginners and also has a wide array of commercial uses for you to hone in on. and two, stay tuned because in the next week I will be writing a blog on my recommendations of a first language and field that you should start with.
Build a portfolio
The first thing should have in place when searching for your first software engineering job is hands down a portfolio website/app. It is essentially a resume that can show off your capabilities without the recruiter or future employer having to read all the content on your resume.
Now don’t think it has to be perfect, my portfolio is far from it. Your portfolio isn’t there to show the employe that you’re a coding rockstar, it is simply an awesome way to show the projects you have worked on and how far you have come. If you are building your portfolio I would recommend having 1–3 projects to show off, even if they are only small apps that you think nobody would care about, remember the point is to show how far you have come.
I would also recommend having a project that you really care about displayed in your portfolio, this will be extremely beneficial to you when you get your first interviews. The more passionate about a project you are the more you will be able to talk about it with your interviewer! This helped me a lot when I got into my first interview, during my time at Coder Academy I was also teaching myself how to develop Mobile Applications and I mentioned one in my portfolio and was able to show it off in the interview. It was a simple music playing app where you could search from 3 artists or something, it was really small but oh boy did I love talking about that app. But my enthusiasm and ability to talk about my process secured me my first job, so that's a plus if you ask me!
Write consistent blog posts
Writing about the subjects you learn is not only a valuable job searching tool, but it also allows you to cement concepts into your brain. The best way to learn is to teach someone else! Another huge benefit to writing blog posts is that it can establish your name in the local tech community and get you noticed by people before you even apply for the job.
Go to local tech meetups and events
If there are no local meetups in your community I would suggest looking around for some local startups or coworking spaces. These places tend to have events weekly or monthly where you can get in and network directly with the people who could be looking for someone just like you. Also, don’t be worried if you’re not fully ready for the job market, you’ll find that potential employers will be impressed with your hustle and grit. I know I am extremely happy when I talk to people who say they are learning how to code at events like this because I know that I can help give them a boost, and even if I cant I know they will be successful in the future just based on the fact that they are willing to put themselves out there and get noticed. Remember most of the time its know what you know but who you know that will get you that first foot in the door, as well as open doors for you in the future.
If you’re interested to see if there are any meetups in your area I would say check out meetup.com!
If you have made it this far firstly I would like to say thank you! Secondly, I want to really encourage you to not give up on learning and honing your skills, even if you have already got a job. In the tech world, there is never a time where you aren’t learning and it is so important to learn how to learn. This includes learning how to fail and keep going. This was something that really got to me when I was starting out, there were days where I wanted to give up because I just couldn’t get a topic through my head. But thanks to the support net I had built up from my time at local tech meetups and my awesome classmates and teachers at Coder Academy I always found a way to get through it. investing time in building relationships with people can be the best thing you will ever do with your life, regardless of the application to tech. Anyway I’m getting off topic, if you walk away from this with one thing I want you to walk away with the sense that you should never stop learning, I mean that's why you’re here, isn’t it? By teaching yourself new skills you will only improve your ability to learn new ones, and that is an extremely valuable skill. I dare say that when you do get your first job (and you will!), you will learn more in the first week than you have in the entire time it took you to get a job, and being able to adapt to that is priceless.
To wrap it up I want to just encourage you to keep it up and never stop being you! There will be times where you want to quit, but if it’s something you want then the only person that can stop you is yourself. If you’re ever feeling stuck feel free to comment on the blog post and I would be happy to give you a helping hand if I can, if not there are always people around you that have your back.