How I Landed a Junior Developer Role with No Experience

Career Development

🗓 2/7/2021

Introduction 👋🏽

In October 2020, I landed my first Junior Developer role. This is a part-time role, because I'm a final year BSc Computer Science student, so my studies are still my main priority.

The technologies I've been working with so far is all JavaScript based: React, Gatsby, TypeScript, Netlify. I've recently started working with React Native too.

So, how did I actually land this sort of role? 🤔 I hope to share the process in this article, along with tips for aspiring developers who are looking to land their first role.

How I Found the Role 🔦

I found the role using LinkedIn. Here's what I did on there:

  • Uploaded a post asking if there were any part-time developer roles out there, specifically stating that I was a final year student in Computer Science (so I couldn't work full-time)
  • The post got a few likes and shares, but one share in particular that helped was by James Bedford. He's a mentor and friend that I made through my network on Instagram, and with his wealth of experience in the tech industry, he has a great network on LinkedIn. This helped get my post in front of lots of people.
  • The CEO of the company that hired me, Tom Riglar, commented on James' post, describing that they work with part-time developers who are "self starters" and can get stuck into their tech stack.
  • I sent a message to Tom, talking about who I am and what I'm looking for, and we scheduled a phone call on that same day 😳 I wasn't sure what to expect, but let's go through how it went in the next section.
  • The Phone Call 📲

    My call with Tom lasted around twenty minutes, where we talked about the following:

  • I introduced myself and described where I am in my developer journey - at the time (September 2020), I was just starting the final year of my Computer Science degree after a gap year in my studies. This gap year came about after I left my Industrial Placement / Sandwich Year job.
  • We talked about the different languages I had used in my degree and in my own time, talking about the differences in how they work and what my preferences were.
  • The call ended with Tom discussing what the company did, and how I could potentially fit into the team on one of their projects.
  • As we ended the call, I was asked to send over some code. I was thankful that I had been utilising GitHub to document my learning of different technologies - I just sent a link to this.

    The Job Offer 🙌🏽

    After a couple of days, Tom got back to me and offered me the role of Junior Developer. I was pretty shocked to say the least, but was super grateful to have been offered a job with them. 😊

    How Was I a Good Fit For the Role?

    My call with the CEO could've gone badly. So what did I do up until this point in my developer journey to actually get hired as a developer? I've written a few points below which I think all helped me leading up to this point in my developer career.

    Learning in Public 👨🏽‍💻

    For the past three years, I've been heavily active on Instagram, where I'd share my journey as a Computer Science student and aspiring developer. What I gained from this is making some solid connections in the industry, including with James Bedford (who shared my LinkedIn post that helped me get my job!).

    A little later in my journey, I started using GitHub, where I was able to share any code and notes I've been writing to help me learn various technologies such as JavaScript and PHP. This was handy when I was asked to send some code before being hired - I already had a portfolio to show for myself by simply being active on GitHub.

    Self Studying 📝

    As a BSc Computer Science student, I wanted to learn a little more. My degree gave me some foundations across the tech industry in general, but I wanted to focus on certain technologies. One in particular was JavaScript.

    Between October 2019 and August 2020, I spent time learning JavaScript and React. This was really out of interest because I knew how popular they were. In doing so, I was able to match the basic requirements of my Junior Developer role in being able to use both JavaScript and React.

    Networking on LinkedIn 📩

    As you will now know, I found this role on LinkedIn. If I didn't use LinkedIn, I wouldn't have known of the company that I now work for, Morrow, and they wouldn't know who I am. For this reason, I think using social media platforms to your advantage will certainly benefit you in the long run.

    Conclusion ✅

    Ultimately, there's a couple of things I hope other developers can take from this post:

  • Document your journey
  • Network with like-minded individuals along the way
  • If you're a university student, put in a bit of work outside of your curriculum to showcase your passion
  • Work hard, but don't be too hard on yourself. The journey is said to be hard in the beginning, and each little thing you're doing will contribute to something great in the future. 🙌🏽
  • If you want to find out more about where I work, come and visit our website 👋