Unemployed Developer? Read This

Amando Abreu
Nov 2, 2018 · 6 min read

So, you did everything you were supposed to. You got a degree, you went to a boot camp, and you have a portfolio.

You go to countless interviews, but still, NO JOB.

What gives?

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“question mark neon signage” by Emily Morter on Unsplash
  • You’re not good at interviews(soft-skills)
  • You’re not a culture fit

How do you find out if you’re technically skilled enough?

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Photo by Chris Ried on Unsplash

What happens when you type “google.com” into your browser address bar?

This is a popular interview question used to gauge the strongest points of a developer. No one expects you to know everything, so don’t aim for that, just aim for your favorite part, servers, css, JavaScript, etc.

Done?

You’ve written your answer, now what?

  • What did you get wrong?
  • What terms were you not familiar with?
  • What will you take into account on your next project?
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Other things that validate your technical skills:

  • Contributing to open source(getting past the review process is tough because the bar is usually high)¹
  • Good feedback from developers better than yourself

Things that DON’T validate your technical skills:

  • Having done lots of short-lived projects²
  • A degree
  • A boot camp
  • A second boot camp
  • Good feedback from non-developers or bad developers³

How do you find out if you’re bad at interviews?

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“three women sitting beside table” by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

If they feel you are too different in person from the way you sold yourself on paper, it’s not gonna work out.

This can be:

  • Not being receptive to feedback
  • Showing too little real world experience
  • Showing signs of immaturity or low emotional intelligence.

Things that validate your soft-skills:

This is incredibly hard to self-assess. If you think you have soft skills, but you keep blaming others for your problems, then I’d say you don’t have soft skills, as it starts with yourself by working on your emotional intelligence.

Things that don’t validate soft-skills:

  • Lots of friends
  • Lots of followers on social media
  • Everyone likes you(“liking” is like words written in sand, what you’re looking for is respect).

Receiving feedback

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“people fist bumps on top clear glass jar” by rawpixel on Unsplash

Learning requires admitting to yourself that you don’t know something.

Interviewers are very good at detecting this, and it’s not the quality of someone they want to hire.

Do you remember the last time you got some feedback? (either solicited or not)

How did you react to that feedback? Did you take it into consideration?


Edge cases:

  1. Some people are naturally so good at interviews that they will slip through into technical roles. But it’s easy to find out who they are after a few weeks, so don’t try to be this person. You might have a successful career waiting for you in sales(it might even pay more than software).
  2. Some people will hire you just because they like you as a person, this is fine, but a job like this won’t always allow you to grow, and getting things done will be jeopardized by the “friendship”. Proceed with caution and be prepared to take the lead sometimes.
  3. Some employers aren’t reasonable and/or have their own internal problems. However, if you’ve gone to 10+ interviews and you still have no job, it’s unlikely that all those employers are unreasonable.

Footnotes

¹ There is usually bias here that historically has negatively affects women and minorities, but there are ways to go around it(no avatar, generic username, you’re selling your skills, not yourself), and it’s drastically decreasing as we speak thanks to the efforts of many people. No reasonable employer will discriminate based on gender or ethnicity.

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