How to market yourself as a young developer
Disclaimer: This article is in no way saying how to cheat the system, rather how to effectively market yourself. It’s not about pretending to be what you are not. It’s about selling your skills effectively, don’t sell what you don’t have!
A few days ago, someone aged 41 called me and said ‘hey, I’m doing a bootcamp program to learn iOS over a period of three months, how can I get a job after that ?’
Wether you have a CS, or you just made it through your first online course on Udemy, or you even went to some sort of bootcamp you are all facing the same issue : you have 0/queDalle/none/nada/niet experience;
Add to that the current economical context in the tech world and head hunters cockiness and you find job offers like that :
great startup is looking for a candidate that has :
+ 8 years of experience in Angular,
12 years in BrainFuck,
17 years in Objective C,
Fluent in Mandarin
Knows how to fly
Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit: you might not need to be fluent in mandarin, but still.
If you are fresh out of college, or have not a lot of experience you are basically screwed.
According to stackOverFlow 2017 survey, +27% developers have over 19 years of experience.
How can you against that ?
Sell yourself !
Well there is a notion that most programmers suck with and that is largely underrated : Selling yourself.
Yes, I don’t care if you have 60 years of experience and wrote the first guidance system for APPOLO (yes this is real) you need to sell yourself.
Let me explain what I mean by selling yourself :
When it comes to preparing for a job interview, most people will go ‘I’m a committed person, I’m serious, I will go the extra mile for you ...(some more bullshit here)’ for the full 30 minutes.
No kidding, so do 99.8 % of the other interviewees. You need to set yourself apart, to come prepared to sell every bits of skills you have!
Preparing yourself does not mean waking up at 4AM on the morning of the interview, listening to Rocky soundtrack and doing 400 push ups.
It actually means going backward up to your very beginning in programming and documenting everything you do.
Here are some steps to make yourself look like you have been writing code since 1995 :
it’s called the art of ‘tmenik’ which basically means fake it until you make it in Arabic
Instead of writing your DOB or address on your resume, you should include your github profile in size 100 : hardcore style.
Why ? simply because it shows potential recruiters that you actually write code, that you are active and that you code pretty often.
From your very first day at school/bootcamp/udemy/ open up a github account and make everything a repository. If you have a class, make it readme, if you have snippets of codes, turn them into repository.
Commit code at least twice a day (even if you just added an empty space)
So that after a year, your github dashboard (what your employer will see) will look a bit like this
You would be shocked how many developers don’t even have a github account!
When you have a bug, and you solve it, turn that bug into an article. Put a nice picture (not of yourself) and explain the bug and how you solve it and then post it on LinkedIn and Medium.
this achieves two very important things:
- First by having to write your issue and explain it in plain words, it will strengthen your knowledge
- It will put you on the map
When you write on your resume that you write articles about programming on Medium or any other blog platform, it makes them say : ok, this guy knows what he is talking about.
Again, very few developers do that.
Why not opening your blog and writing articles there ? Because when your employer will search you on Google, he will see first your Facebook pictures of you throwing up at your last party, then your stupid racist tweets from 2012 and then in page 12.567.678 your blog which ranks super…poorly.
However, Medium and LinkedIn have excellent rating SEO wise so they will be right after Facebook and Twitter.
Actually build stuffs
I don’t care if it’s a stopwatch app or a todoList, build stuff. I can not stress enough how this is important. It will teach you the very basic of building a project, and it will build you a portfolio.
It will also do something else : show that you are passionate and use programming in your daily life from issues you are facing.
So try to build a tiny project every two weeks or so that you only work on evenings.
Ok, Open source is like the St Graal (for those of you who don’t know what it is, I don’t either so rest assured) of programing. This is level 430000 of programming. According to Google Recruiters, what sets a resume apart is if the applicant participated to open source projects. I actually know someone who works at Google that told me they accepted him because he had participated in OS projects.
It will also make you read other developers code, and improve your code quality exponentially.
Don’t get it wrong! you are going to a date.
Humans love fine things. So be fine. How ?
- Take a shower, and put on some parfum => it might sound like a cliche but some people actually come for job interview and they SMELL, YES. Put parfum but not like it’s your cousin bar mitsva, you don’t want to stink up the place
- Put a shirt on : forget the hawaian shirt, and put some actual clothes
Steve Jobs was said to draw people and convince them, namely by his ability to grab your eyes.
You need to look at your interviewers straight in the eyes 95% of the time: why?
Because according to studies, you sound more trustworthy, more smart and you leave a bigger impact. Looking interviewers in the eyes is VERY IMPORTANT
TO WRAP UP : Apart rom pretending, you actually need to code ..a LOT, you need to master your craft, All I have said only comes after…