Finding your first web developer job might be challenging when you're a new coder, regardless of whether you're self-taught, a bootcamp graduate, or you have a college degree.
You are aware that you possess the necessary abilities. The issue is how to explain that to hiring managers. How can you seem well in an interview? How do you ensure that you even have a chance at an interview?
We'll explain how to land a job as a web developer in this tutorial.
Web development is an extremely broad field, and there are so many different avenues you can pursue. Before you start browsing for jobs, you need to consider what you’re looking for and use this to streamline your search.
Your job search should be tailored to both your existing skills and your goals for the future. If you want to focus on frontend development, it makes sense to apply for frontend roles.
However, if you have plans to branch out into backend development later on, check for roles that might accommodate this.
We’ve already seen that the world of coding is absolutely filled with its own buzzwords to learn. Unfortunately this doesn’t stop at the different tools and technologies you’ll be using—there’s a wide variety of job titles in the field as well.
To help you out with decoding some of these, we’ve collected a few of the more common ones and what they generally mean.
Also known as client-side development, these developers focus on what the users interact with on websites. If you’re interested in this path, created an article with all the steps you need to become a frontend developer.
Because a lot of their work is to do with building style elements for webpages and apps, frontend developers commonly find themselves working with UX designers. You can learn more about it in this guide to the UX-web dev relationship.
Otherwise known as server-side development, backend developers work more with the organizing and storing of information in databases.
If you want to learn more about how the two disciplines differ, we’ve illustrated the difference between frontend and backend development using…well…dog treats.
The final piece of the puzzle, these are developers who are expected to be able to carry out front- and backend development. Because of the wide range of expertise required, full-stack developer salaries are often quite a bit higher than their counterparts.
While these terms originally denoted different roles, they are used so interchangeably of late that it’s always worth checking out the rest of the job ad to see what skills and tools they are looking for.
Don’t worry, a programmer and a developer are essentially one and the same. However, programming vs coding can sometimes be different, depending on the context.
These are programmers who are skilled in working in Mobile App development, either Apple’s iOS system or the Android system common on the majority of smartphones and tablets.
It’s that classic conundrum that many jobseekers and career-changers face. Lots of employers want you to have experience, but how do you get experience without a job?
The great news is that web developers are at a particular advantage here. Because coding has so many applications and there’s so much demand for these skills, there are a whole host of projects and ways that you can build up your experience.
Fortunately for web developers, there are plenty of ways to put your in-demand skills to good use. Here’s how you can get hands-on with programming before you’re officially hired:
Volunteering is a great way to gain real-world experience and add some interesting projects to your portfolio. Not only will you be gaining valuable experience; you’ll also be giving something back to the community. Win-win!
When you’re trying to establish yourself as a bonafide developer, freelance gigs will help you to build credibility. Check sites like Upwork and fiverr for ad-hoc projects.
Open-source projects consist of publicly available source code that anyone can modify—and they’re great for new developers. As well as putting your skills into practice, open source projects give you the opportunity to work collaboratively with other developers.
When it comes to convincing employers that you’re job-ready, it’s all about getting hands-on and putting your skills into action. It’s therefore really important to keep learning and building.
The more projects you work on—be they open source, volunteer or freelance—the more you will have to talk about in the interview room.
The next challenge in landing your first web development job is to secure an interview. While it’s not uncommon for experienced developers to be headhunted (programmers are in high demand, after all!),
those new to the industry have some convincing to do. So how can you stand out from dozens, possibly hundreds, of other applicants? Let’s take a look at some key strategies.
Job hunting is extremely time-consuming, and we’re all guilty of firing off loads of generic applications at once. However, recruiters will spot this a mile away, and this one-size-fits-all approach rarely pays off.
If you are serious about landing a web developer role, you must tailor your resumé and cover letter to each job you apply for.
When it comes to finding a job, your online presence can make or break your chances of success.
Start by optimizing your professional profiles on sites like LinkedIn and AngelList. Make sure all the information about your skills, experience and qualifications is up-to-date, and upload a professional photo (not a selfie).
A crucial part of your application package is your web developer portfolio. Your portfolio is a personal website that should:
– Introduce you to potential employers, clients and contacts – Summarize your skills and areas of expertise – Showcase projects you’ve worked on – Provide contact details – Share links to your GitHub projects and social media accounts
Before applying for jobs, get your portfolio up-to-date with all your latest (and best) projects together with the right contact details.
For anyone looking to break into the web development industry, networking is key. It’s not just about finding job opportunities, either; for both new and experienced developers alike,
networking can be a great source of support, mentorship and knowledge exchange. Focus on building a solid community around you and you’ll naturally open up more professional doors.
Hackathons provide the perfect opportunity to practice your skills and meet new people. A hackathon is basically a design sprint for programmers, bringing lots of developers together to collaborate on various projects.
If the idea of a hackathon seems too intense, try attending tech meetups instead. Meetup.com has something for everyone, ranging from casual beginners’ groups to more formal workshops.
You don’t need to stick purely to web development groups, either; free or low-cost meetups are a great way to explore your wider interests, be it web design, virtual reality, gaming, or something else entirely.
Try not to fixate on the idea that you are there to sell yourself. Rather, focus on the topic at hand and use it to establish common ground with those around you. It’s not about coming away with a job offer — networking should be seen as a long-term strategy.
Make genuine connections with people and, over time, your network (and professional opportunities!) will grow organically.
Of course, there are also plenty of networking opportunities in the online world, with StackOverflow, WebDeveloper.com, GitHub, CodeProject, and Bytes among the most popular hangouts for developers.
Engage in discussions, share your work and keep up with the latest industry news while making valuable contacts along the way.
There you have it—the complete startup kit for getting hired for your first web development position. Now that you know where you need to go and how to get there, maybe you'll feel a lot better.