Six Top Tips to Help You Find Your First Web Developer Job
Whatever route you took to learn your coding skills, landing your first job as a web developer can be can be tough.
A global research report by Slashdata has shown that in 2019, there were 18.9 million software developers and that number could reach 45 million by 2030. Unfortunately, while the Covid-19 pandemic still rages on in most countries, entry level tech jobs; especially junior web developer jobs are in short supply.
In both the UK and USA, web developer jobs are projected to increase by roughly 8% annually in the coming years, so web development is still a great career path to follow. Even though there are a multitude of job opportunities in startups, medium sized IT companies, and large organizations with established tech teams, it may be challenging to make your mark within this industry and get your first web developer job. You need to make yourself stand out among the vast number of software developers and technology graduates.
As a newbie, use the following 6 top tips to make your mark and have a competitive advantage over the competition and get your foot in the door.
It is not enough anymore just to have a standout CV, read on to learn what other techniques and approaches you can use to get your first web developer job.
Our 6 Top Tips to Help You Get Your First Web Developer Job in 2021
1 Create an Attention-Grabbing Portfolio
2 Share your work on GitHub
3 Consider Freelance Web Development
4 Take Part in a Hackathon
5 Optimise your LinkedIn profile and actively network
6 Prepare for ‘technical interviews’
1 Create an Attention-Grabbing Portfolio
A professional portfolio site is one of the most effective ways to convey your personal brand identity and showcase what you are capable of, and how you can add value to the company as a Junior Web Developer.
Create a well-structured ‘About me’ section to provide a brief description about yourself, show your personality your passion for coding and what you brought you to coding.
Skills & Education’ – Under this, showcase your hard and soft skills, technical prowess, and your formal and informal education (Boot camps, Hackathons) completed, plus boot camps you have attended as well as online learning. Include any licenses or certifications.
Showcasing Your Work
A visual-text mix of past work and achievements speaks volumes, compared to one line phrases highlighting prior experience. Ensure that the portfolio is visually captivating and interesting, displays a range of skills and versatility, and you understanding of UX and UI principles.
- Quality over Quantity- Include your best work instead of all your past work.
Compile Examples of your Achievements
Make sure to include web page pictures, reports, surveys, graphs, and infographics that place emphasis on how you contributed to a project.
Recommendation Letters, Testimonials & Reviews
A strong recommendation letter from a current or past employer can take you places. Positive feedback and reviews give your work recognition and credibility that it has met and even exceeded expectations.
One thing to keep in mind while building your portfolio site, is to ensure that the webpage is optimised to be viewed on all devices as well as a desktop, especially as many companies want their webpages to be mobile first. Having your web page look stellar on a laptop but disorganized on mobile will impact your portfolio in a negative way.
For further portfolio ideas and inspiration, click here.
2 Share your work on GitHub
GitHub is a Git repository hosting service. At its core, GitHub is a website and cloud-based service that enables engineers and developers to store their coding, contribute to open source coding projects and at the same time manage changes to their code. General GitHub content practices include building a website, game programming & mobile application coding.
Is it essential to have a GitHub account linked to your CV / resume? No.
Would it be a good addition to your CV / resume? Absolutely.
What makes a ‘good GitHub’ profile ?
If you as ask a recruiter what are they looking for when they view a candidate’s GitHub profile, they will focus on quality coding and thorough documentation.
Job seekers make one of two big mistakes with their GitHub profile repositories, and they are easy to rectify.
1 Over ambitious and incomplete profiles
2 Little or poor content on your profile
Recruiters don’t expect fresh graduates to design, world beating global cutting-edge web sites, but they do expect to see well conceptualised, reusable, clean, bug free code.
Many GitHub profiles have a large number of incomplete projects, containing poor, sloppy coding. Recruiters and hiring managers would prefer to look at fewer but complete repositories that are well presented and fully functioning – Quality over quantity.
Clean well written and well documented code is essential to create the right impression.
What Content should you include on your GitHub?
Sample Web Sites
An example of a website that you have developed even if you are using a template and plug in tools, will showcase your coding skills; and possibly your use of a content management system, your knowledge and use extensions and plugins. It’s also possible to show off your design skills and your UI and UX experience.
Examples of standard programming exercises
Most employers are going to ask you do complete a coding test, anticipe this and hosts a standard programming exercise on your GitHub such as Anagram – Write a function that takes two words as an argument and returns true if they are anagrams (contain the exact same letters) and false otherwise.
While Anagram is not overly challenging for even the most junior of coders, the more complex exercises you are able to successfully demonstrate the better, as they showcase your knowledge of algorithms.
Other programming tests used in the hiring process that can be found on www.hackerrank.com and other web developer practice interview test websites.
Game developers should showcase their understanding of key programming concepts don’t go for anything too complex or that’s not fully functional.
The mobile app space is huge so if you are looking to get into that space it’s a good idea to have a sample in your back pocket. Experienced mobile developers are rated the success, functionality and reviews of their published titles, as a new developer do not be too hung up on the number of downloads but focus on quality of code.
Scripts, and utilities
Repositories are important, but quantity is not the most important issue, always focus on quality and completeness . A useful automation script, or productivity tool that can improve efficiency is what will stand out.
To attract an employer’s attention, here are a few strategic content approaches that you can use.
Targeted code— a great way to get noticed is to write code connected to the firm that you are interviewing with. You can demonstrate your skills and create interest in how you have approached the project opening a great topic talk about at interview.
Collaborate on open source projects — the basis of GitHub is collaboration, therefor, a contribution which is credited on your public profile is something you want to have. Collaboration shows a commitment to open source and as well as technical skills. Participating and contributing to the development of open-source codes allows you to give back to the IT community and help students and budding web developers to broaden their knowledge and practice practical skills.
Another fundamental benefit of undertaking open-source projects, is the enhanced scope for networking and getting in touch with other more experienced coders, regardless of their position, in the industry and to learn from their experience.
3 Consider Freelance Web Development Gigs
Having few freelance projects on your CV / resume makes it more attractive to employers. It shows creativity and the ability to manage and deliver work independently.
Freelancers come across and work with a diverse range of clients and on differing projects. This shows your versatility and the ability to adapt projects to your clients’ needs.
The basics to consider when contemplating setting up as a freelancer.
Planning your new business
Funding your new venture
What services you’re going to offer
Pricing of your product
Administrative and legal compliance
Finding clients for your new business – Marketing
For more detailed advice on starting freelance work click here
4 Take Part in a Hackathon
Having competed in a Hackathon is a sure way to get yourself in an employer’s’ good books. Why?
Innovative ideas – As a Junior Web Developer, you have the skills. What is lacking is experience. In a Hackathon, as a participant you need to develop innovative ideas to for solutions to various scenarios and possibly real-life problems. You can display the complexity of your coding skills and how creative and organized you are. This can be very challenging yet fulfilling.
Increased networking opportunities – During a Hackathon, you get a chance to meet various professionals from the tech industry who are acting as judges, participants, volunteers etc. Networking with industry peers can get you information on current industry trends, and even future job openings.
Technology – While participating in a Hackathon, you will come across new technologies and platforms. This is true especially since most Hackathons are centred around using a specific technology, possibly a new and emerging technology and definitely a technology that is in demand in industry.
Over the last year, the number of online hackathons has increased significantly. These are easier to access and participate in, especially for those not located geographically close to where they used to take place in urban centres. The nature of remote collaboration means that some of the spontaneous elements of in-person interaction are lost but nevertheless online hackathons are here to stay.
To learn more about hackathons, and their benefit to your career progression, visit Hackathon; what is it and what are its benefits? | Apiumhub
5 Optimise your LinkedIn Profile and Actively Network
LinkedIn is a social networking site where individuals can network with professional peers, share ideas and where employers can search for potential employees. When looking for your first web developer job you can use LinkedIn to start to build your personal brand, showcase your coding skills and network with more experienced developers as well as be visible to recruiters who use LinkedIn to source talent.
LinkedIn will automatically walk you through the basic setup here are some extra tips to point you in the right direction.
Don’t leave your photo space blank. Statistics show that people who don’t add a LinkedIn profile photo, are much less likely to get noticed by recruiters.
When choosing a photo, you want to look professional make sure its only you in the photo and you’re not on a beach! Click here for detailed tips on choosing your LinkedIn profile picture.
Located underneath your profile picture, your headline gives you 120 characters to grab people’s attention.
If you do not fill this in, LinkedIn will automatically fill it with your job title and company name.
Use the most commonly used professional title that describes what do you do, and for web developers add in your coding languages, then add a further explanation focusing on your Unique Selling Point.
Is below your profile picture and headline, here you can demonstrate your value to a business’s skills abilities and achievements. You have 2,000 characters so use them wisely, again for web developers it’s best to add in your coding skills again in the section and how you’ve used them in work or on projects during your study.
It’s a good idea also to talk about what you want to do in the future as well as what you’ve done in the past.
This is your work experience, it’s best not to copy and paste from your CV / resume.
Connect with your University and enter your education experience.
This section is where recommendations from your LinkedIn connections are displayed. It’s best to get one or two recommendations on here.
This section allows you to choose your areas of expertise from a list, fill in your coding skills team working and project management skills. For developers always include all your coding languages, UI and UX skills as well as your project management skills.
We offer a specialised service to help you optimise your LinkedIn profile which walks you step by step through the do’s and don’ts of how to create a compelling LinkedIn profile, which will you showcases your skills and abilities to attract recruiters. Additionally, we coach and train you to maximise your impact by using ensuring that you understand how to post and share original articles relevant to your network, comment, like, and proactively network and to stand out in groups to grow your personal brand.
6 Prepare for Technical Tests and Interviews
When you are going through the various stages of the recuitment for your first web developer job preparation is key to success. It’s often been said that “technical interviews/tests” are impossibly difficult and the chances of passing them are close to zero. This is simply not true. But preparation is essential. As well as using technical test preparation sites such as www.hackerrank.com, preparing for the technical interview is essential.
During a technical interview, the employer will assess candidates in the following areas:
- Extent of technical expertise and knowledge
- Application of Skills in Real-Life Scenarios
- Analytical Skills
- Level of Creativity
- Communication of Technical Concepts
Use the following tips you can make a great impression with employers during technical interviews.
- Ample preparation time is essential as these interviews will most likely cover a few technical areas related to the job, and may follow up on some elements of the technical test. Do not cram.
- Brush up on all knowledge areas that are likely to be used in the job – they will be listed in the description and advert for the position. Use technical interview preparation sites such as FullStack Cafe which has 1000’s of sample interview questions and answers to technical interview questions.
- While tackling an analytical question remember to explain your reasoning behind why and how you think you should go about the solution.
- Mentally organise your reply to a question. Use your creativity, knowledge, and reasoning to justify an answer. Take a few seconds to think through your answer. An organised answer with a well thought out why-how will show efficient and creative thinking.
- When faced with a difficult question, that you do not know the answer too, let the interviewer that you are not completely sure of the answer. Share with them what you know about the tropic rather than bluffing.
- At the end of your interview, remember to thank the interviewer and keep conversation light.
- Follow up with a thank-you note after the interview. You might want to include the answer to any questions you were not able to answer during the interview.
Using the six approaches outlined will help you stand out from the crowd and get your first web developer job.
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