Landing your first web developer role is difficult. As a junior developer it’s vital to get your foot in the door with an employer that will help you develop your skills, broaden your ability, whilst giving you the salary and flexibility you deserve. We understand that finding this role is difficult enough, never mind securing it! This is why we’ve put together a list of 10 quick tips that will help you land your first, dream web developer role!
1. Create a portfolio site.
The first thing employers check out when your CV hits their mailbox is your portfolio. This means your portfolio should not only portray your skills, but also be a reflection of your personality.
2. Build your portfolio.
So, you’ve built your site to show off your coding ability and you’ve designed it to reflect your personality, now what? Now that you have your very own site, it’s time to flesh it out with any work you think a potential employer would like to see. You can include pieces you have done to contribute to personal development, and also any live work you’ve done for previous clients (with their permission of course).
3. Get on Github.
On top of your personal portfolio, create your own Github account. Github has become the industry standard for version control – so take advantage of it to show off your best code. A top tip here is to try and make regular updates to your Github account, just to demonstrate that you’re continuously improving your skills.
Although lacking job security, freelancing is a great way to gain experience and build your portfolio. It doesn’t matter if your clients aren’t huge, the important thing to remember with freelancing is that you’re doing it to gain relevant and valuable experience. Always keep in mind your end goal and focus on activities that will boost your career prospects.
The growing trend of ‘Hackathons’ have made them impossible to miss. They’re a newly evolving fun way of getting together with like minded people and improving your coding skills. By attending one of these Hackathons, not only will you have chance to test your ability and work with other web developers, but working within a team of coders at one of these events also makes you a lot more appealing to hiring managers looking for web developers with a good culture fit.
One of the most important things to do when you’re looking for your first web development role is to get your name and face out there. Build up your network of contacts and reach out to people within the industry- you never know where the opportunities lay. The simplest way of finding people is to look for regional tech meetup groups. For those of you living within the North East keep your eye out for PHP NE and FrontEnd NE events and keep up to date with the latest meetups on sites like Eventbrite. If you’re not really one for networking face to face, why not engage and network online? There are plenty of online communities that you can comment on and engage with, allowing you to broaden your horizons and engage with people like yourself.
8. Keep up to date with industry news.
Keep up to date with what is happening within the tech sector- not just for your own personal development benefit, but to help in certain situations. Say you’re at a networking event, current tech news can be a great conversation starter when you’re meeting people for the first time. This doesn’t mean you have to become an expert on all of the latest headlines; but having an understanding of what’s going on can help you out more than you’d expect.
9. Self develop.
In addition to keeping up to date with news, you should never underestimate the importance of continuous learning. Understanding the latest web development tools and trends will set you in great stead against your competition.
10. Have a great CV.
Although your portfolio is there to demonstrate your skills, most employers will still ask for a CV before they invite you for an interview. This means your resume must be as comprehensive and professional as your portfolio. Make sure that the formatting and design of your CV is fluent, whilst you highlight your core skills, key experience and specific strengths.
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