Job Hunting During Quarantine

This is more of a reminder to myself that hard work will pay off in the end — no matter how long you wait.

Photo by visuals on Unsplash

I’ve been on the job hunt for about 4 months now. I graduated from Flatiron School’s Full Stack Web Development Bootcamp during the beginning stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in April and have been applying to jobs ever since. Let me tell you, it has not been easy and I’m still at it.

With or without the pandemic, I was also under the illusion that it would be relatively easy to land a role as a software engineer. I just had to graduate, and then I’d get a job simply because I graduated. I knew that the interview process itself could last about 4–6 weeks per company, but was confident that it wouldn’t take much longer than that for my entire search.

Needless to say, I completely underestimated the time and effort it takes to get into the tech field without any prior experience. From talking to my peers, I learned that the consensus was that most people take about 6 months before they land their first software engineering gig, if not longer. Of course, if you have a connection with somebody in the tech field that can get you an interview, the process can be much shorter.

What I have noticed with COVID-19 being added to the mix is that it has created a new challenge for the job hunt. There was a time during the thick of it where it was more difficult to find open positions to apply to, but there was always something that I could find. The technology industry has been pretty consistently stable and we need technological solutions now more than ever. So the new problem it has presented, is that most companies are only looking to hire people with experience. Even entry-level listed positions are requiring 2–3+ years of experience before applying. Most companies that are running right now are doing so remotely, so I can understand why this is now the case.

My solution to this problem is that I am now applying to internships as well, paid, and unpaid. Unpaid internships are not ideal, but I will do whatever it takes to reach my career goals. Experience is still a reward in itself.

Now that I am a few months into my search, I feel that I have grown in more ways than I had expected while still not even in a new position. From this process, I have gone through about 20+ versions of my resume — which is still improving every week, have learned how to network and navigate through online connections on LinkedIn, have participated in online meetups and hackathons, and have taken other courses online to continue my education. Not so bad for being unemployed. In fact, where a lot of my friends and family informed me they have been bored because of the quarantine, I feel that I never have enough hours to check off my daily to-do lists.

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

The key to success is grit. I need to continue developing my skills in all areas that I can while I have the time to do so. When I am hired, I will be ready to face all challenges head-on and actually know that I will make a great asset to my future employer.

If you are on a similar journey yourself, please reach out and let me know in the comments. We future engineers should stick together!

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Amanda M Johnson

Amanda M Johnson

Full Stack Software Engineer | manda.m.johnson@gmail.com

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