Web development is and will continue to be one of the most lucrative careers out there. Did you know that the demand for trained developers is expected to grow 13% from 2016 to 2026? Well, it’s true, which means there are lots of jobs out there for web developers.
Landing a web dev job is sometimes harder than expected. Knowing this, we interviewed 15 of our alumni asking what tips they had for web developers just coming out of bootcamp.
Here are 15 tips from 15 alumni on how to land a web dev job:
#1 Don’t Get Discouraged
Breaking into a career is never easy. It takes time. This may be discouraging, especially after having spent more than three months of your life learning how to be a web developer. Remember this through your job search: it will most likely take time to land a job, but it will be worth it.
#2 Lean on Bootcamp People
During your bootcamp experience, you will have the opportunity to meet with a lot of web dev people. Some of those people are your classmates, some are your instructors, and some you’ll meet by happenstance. Lean on these people. They will not only help you improve your web dev skills, but they could potentially help you find work if you play your cards right. It’s no secret that knowing someone is a great way to get your foot in the door.
#3 Set Yourself Apart
In a nutshell, the way I landed my first web dev job was by learning and doing something that almost nobody in my cohort did. When I applied for my first apprenticeship, the company had received a slew of other talented applicants. But, I was able to land the job because my extra knowledge set me apart. There are lots of ways to set yourself apart. Learn something different, build something different, contribute to open source, etc. Find something that interests you and dive in.
#4 Code Every Day
Do you think an aspiring professional athlete would go a day without some sort of exercise or training? Your analytic and coding skills are intellectual muscles. Treat them as such. Build things. Close websites. Play around. Break things! It’s just code—nothing bad ever came from some syntax errors in a Replit. Take a function or a snippet of code that you think is complex, or a bit beyond your level, and break it apart line by line. While you’re doing that, explain out loud what each line is doing. Don’t know the method? Look up MDN. What’s the syntax? Change a few characters and see what happens. The only way to get better at something is by doing that thing.
#5 Update Your LinkedIn Profile Frequently
It’s really important to make sure your profile looks as good as possible at all times. A recruiter from the company I work for now contacted me on LinkedIn after I graduated. Make sure that on your profile it says you’re open to recruiters contacting you. A lot of bogus recruiters will send you messages, though. Just do research whenever a company messages you. Look specifically at the company career page to see if the job is what you want.
#6 Research Prospective Companies
Know what tech stack you’re applying for, but know that stacks change and evolve all the time. Educate yourself on what problem the company is solving, how they’re solving it, and who they’re solving it for. This gives you leverage when asking questions during the interview.
#7 Ask Questions at Your Interviews
If you’re not asking questions in your interviews, then start. Asking questions shows that you have a genuine interest in what the company is doing. Spend time before your interview researching what it is the company does, why they are doing it, and what their vision is. Prepare a handful of questions before the big interview day. Here is an example of a question you could ask:
- I see that you offer X feature on Y app, which is really interesting. What were the biggest technical challenges your team faced in development?
#8 Practice Interview Questions and Toy Problems
Some interviews will be more intense than others. Bootcamps usually give you practice interview questions and toy problems. Practices these many times. White boarding will most likely be a part of your interview, so come prepared the best you can with having gone through all the practice questions and toy problems you can. If you don’t understand a question from the interviewer, ask them to clarify. They like when you ask them questions, especially if it means you’ll answer the question or problem correctly.
#9 Utilize Failure Appropriately
Something is truly a failure only when nothing is learned from that experience. I bombed my first few technical interviews for various reasons. Did they suck? Yes. Was it disheartening? You betcha. Did I let those failures affect my interviews later on? Of course I did, but I was particular on how I let them affect me. Reorient your perspective on failure and instead view them as opportunities for growth. Take a minute or two and let that crappy feeling of not succeeding wash over you, say it out loud, accept it, understand it, and then analyze it. Think about what you could have done better, how you would re-tool a specific answer, what questions you would have asked. Reverse engineering your failures will help you build a profile of success.
#10 Make Sure You Can Stand Behind the Company’s Values
Don’t lower your own standards just to get that paycheck. Remember, they are sizing you up as equally as you should be sizing them up. Ask yourself, do their projects align with your own standards? Will you have the work/life balance you need there? You are allowed to turn down opportunities, especially if the company’s standards aren’t something you can stand behind.
#11 Go to Tons of Meetups
If there is ever an opportunity for you to meet up with other web dev people, or people in the tech industry, go. This is how many get their first jobs. Having an opportunity to show that you are involved in the web dev community will give you an advantage. Face time and networking at these events could easily result in a job interview.
#12 Make Connections
Let’s call this “make connections” instead of networking. Making connections doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or forced. Twitter can be an extremely useful tool for chatting with prominent developers in your area. But, Twitter isn’t the only way to make connections. Connect with people over LinkedIn and in person. But, always remember, it’s a lot easier to network when you are not desperate for a job. When you reach out to someone while you’re looking for a job, no matter your intentions, it might come across as if you’re looking for a handout. To avoid this, start making connections now and throughout your web dev career.
#13 Have Large Amounts of Enthusiastic Humility
You will go through a lot of interviews. It’s important not to feel entitled to any of them. Yes, you finished bootcamp and, yes, you are now a web developer. But, feeling entitled to a job is a sure way of not getting it. Be enthusiastic, yes! That enthusiasm will play a big part in your interviews. Make sure that enthusiasm comes from humility.
#14 Enjoy What You Do
Perhaps this sounds obvious, but I was surprised to learn that many people signed up for web dev bootcamp did so without having any idea of whether of not they liked programming. Some people are lured in by the prospects of landing a shiny new job, which makes sense. It’s very tempting. But, if you don’t really enjoy what you’re doing, it’s going to be very hard to land a job. Employers will take note of your passion for what you do.
#15 Don’t Give Up
It will take longer for some to find a web dev job than others. Don’t give up! With each job interview you will become more confident. Use every interview as an opportunity to learn, and you will find a great web dev job.
Starting a career in web development is exciting. Getting your foot in the door will take some effort. Thanks to DevMountain alumni, these 15 tips will help you land that web development job.