Coding Tips

How to Get Hired As a Junior Developer

"Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you imagine it."

Yes, the legendary George Lucas is absolutely right. But if you want a junior developer position you will have to do more than just fantasize about getting an amazing job offer.

You may actually think learning to code was easier than looking for a full-time position.

Here are some points to follow to get hired as a junior developer.

What have you done as a junior developer?

Solid work experience can be difficult to obtain early in a career; so you have to get creative – literally.

Potential employers want to know what you can do; why not show them when applying for jobs?

While continuing the job search, design your own website, which is the perfect place to showcase your portfolio. Keep in mind, though, that it should also include basic information like your name (not just a nickname) and easy to find contact information.

Other ideas: uploading your code to GitHub and leaving your mark on an open-source project.

Freelance work is valuable, but be prepared to spend a lot of time online, since there will be competition from around the world. 

Most companies have a charity of choice or even a charitable foundation; maybe you could volunteer for a non-profit as a web designer? Or a charity might need some help from a ‘tech expert’.

Establishing yourself on social media as a professional expert on various subjects could also get you noticed.

It’s more than JavaScript - grow your programming skills

It’s more than the JavaScript

Hot jobs in big companies could get hundreds, if not thousands of applications. Also probable, most applicants may have similar (or exactly the same) education and work experience. 

Setting yourself apart from the crowd will require extensive research and meticulous attention to detail. Also, working in dedicated teams and projects can help you grow your programming skills.

There are common threads on the postings for junior web developer jobs, including requirements for a computer science degree and proficiency with HTML or WordPress. If there are "must haves" that you don’t have, look for free online courses or invest in one. LinkedIn has a skills section that allows you to take a quiz and get a badge to put on your profile. Be honest…. Cheating on a quiz won’t help if you can’t talk about what you know in an interview.

Don’t discount the soft skills in the job descriptions which deal with a person’s character, such as the ability to work well with others, emotional intelligence, etc. More than ever before, employers are aware that it doesn’t matter how qualified a candidate is if they are not respectful of all people or say inappropriate things on Twitter.

Positive traits include teamwork, collaboration, and tolerance for change.

How to beat the AI?

An increasing number of companies (not just the big ones like Facebook) are using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to scan through resumes.

This HR bot shows no mercy and quickly tosses out applications that don’t meet minimum qualifications. It also organizes the ones that do fit a profile. 

So what does it want?

ATS is looking for a list of specific words in your resume that match the job posting, such as JavaScript, HTML, web developer, version control, and CSS. There are online services (for a fee) that allow you to paste your resume and the job description, and then get a report on how the two match up. 

It may be tempting to pack your resume with tons of these words, but be careful since it will (hopefully) be read by an actual human at some point.

It’s worth noting that this AI likes things simple, and doesn’t glitz and glamour. Stick to specific fonts, don’t use charts or graphics, and avoid fancy bullet points.

Experts also recommend clearly defined sections like ‘education’ and ‘work experience’, not ‘what I have accomplished in my career’. 

In some respects finding a job is more difficult these days. Long gone are the days when a person could write one brilliant cover letter and polish a perfectly designed resume.

In order to pass through the ATS, the resume and cover letter should be modified for each and every application.

And by the way, good luck getting a job if the cover letter is addressed to another company. Yikes. (This happens a lot.)

The interview process... What could go wrong?

The interview process...what could go wrong

This is the scary part; choose your weapons (figuratively) and get ready to step onto the battlefield.

Expect multiple interviews, starting perhaps with a phone call. Speak clearly and confidently, and write out some quick points on post-it notes for quick access. 

Next stage - video call. Take off the training wheels because in this one you should not be shuffling around looking for notes. Also, make sure you are camera-ready (no hoodies).

Don’t be like Chandler Bing! Yes, this is the real world and not the TV show ‘Friends’, but there are lessons to be learned there about being prepared.

Expect to explain exactly what you know about HTML, for example. Another popular question is ‘Why do you want to work here?’ 

The salary question almost always comes up so have an answer prepared. Research the developer's salary range and how much developers make.

Remember though, you have to start somewhere. The opportunity to learn from senior developers could be worth more than a few thousand dollars.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.” – Steve Jobs

IT and talent solutions
Intersog is a leading IT solutions provider in the United States and beyond. The company has provided agile software engineering and staffing services for Fortune 500 corporations, tech startups, and SaaS businesses for over fifteen years. Why Intersog.