coding your a** off and getting paid to code shares a very fine line. this post is all about that.
all right so I managed to land my first job as a software developer after only three months of programming and no I didn’t have a computer science background or a math degree. what I had was pretty much the exact opposite. I had a degree in Mechanical Engineering so my background was definitely not what got me the job. What actually got me the job are the things that I did in those three months and that’s what I’m going to share with you today so let’s go !!!
The reason for this post is that I believe I have some really unique and good advice that I really haven’t heard anyone else recommend and I know that this is really valuable information.
So there are three things that we’re going to focus on and that is learning how to code and using GitHub and Stack Overflow to your advantage and we’re going to start in the reverse order with what I believe is the most valuable and unique advice.
First Stack Overflow, if you’ve already started learning to code then you’ve definitely run into Stack Overflow it’s a goldmine for fixing your buggy code. but it also has some features that are less well known especially for beginners and one of those features can be used to your advantage when trying to land your first job and that is your profile status.
It is something that most people don’t use and especially beginners but it can be a really good way of creating virtual references for your resume. meaning that if I apply for a job with no prior experience and no prior employment in that area then the employer has really no way of knowing that they can trust me the only reference that they have is my word which we all know cannot be trusted.
So the employer then doesn’t know that they can trust you nor do they know what your skill level actually is, that is what you want to combat. you want to increase your trust and perceived skill level with the employer. Stack Overflow can help you accomplish both.
So how do you use it to your advantage?
As we can see on any random person’s profile there are a couple of things we can see about the reputation of the person, in this case, how many gold silver and bronze badges they’ve got and how many answers they’ve posted.
Those are the most important stats here so what this tells the employer is that this person knows certain things about whatever area the person is in because they’ve been able to answer questions that people have in that area. the employer can also see that this person has a good reputation which means that this is probably a good person. it also shows that this person puts some real effort into this even if it’s just to get a job they still go the extra mile by going through the effort of doing all this and that can be a very valuable player.
it pretty much says that this is a determined hard-working person so get on to Stack Overflow and start answering some questions and this is not super easy for a beginner to do but what I recommend is spending thirty minutes or an hour per day just browsing through Stack Overflow looking for questions that you know how to answer and maybe you’ll find one or two that you can answer and it doesn’t have to be the most complex questions just find questions that you actually know how to answer okay now on this note of simultaneously increasing trust and perceived skill level.
GitHub is love ❤
The next tip I have is to get on to GitHub one of the main reasons you want to do this is not what you’d think.
it’s not so that the employer can see and read through every line of code you’ve ever written; very few employers if any will actually read through any of your GitHub code. it’s also not just so that the employer can see that you know how to use GitHub the main reason is again similar to Stack Overflow.
It’s the stats if you go to anyone’s profile on your tab you can see their contribution chart for the past year and prior the reason this is important to an employer is because this shows them that you actually code !!!.
This is proof that you practice programming regularly one of the things that employers often look for in their developers is simply a passion for code. They tend to want people in their companies that just enjoy programming because those also tend to be the best employees. so how do you tell if someone loves the code or just knows how to well you can check out their GitHub account and then on there you can see how many contributions have they made in the past year and also are they working on any personal projects.
“now granted that just because someone’s contribution charts on GitHub is covered with green dots that doesn’t mean that they love to code“ but as an employer that has not met you and has no reference from previous employers to go off of at least a nice-looking contribution chart on GitHub can give some indication which again will be super valuable for you this also shows that you’re not just haphazardly looking for a job but you’re actually determined and motivated to do everything you can to get a job. it paints the picture that you really want this and I think this is often overlooked.
a small tip.
when we apply for jobs we tend to just send in a resume with a personal letter that doesn’t really tell the employer much and it’s pretty much just a copy-paste of other formal quite uninteresting resumes that we’ve seen.
one of my best pieces of advice for writing a personal letter part of your resume is not to tell them where you grew up and how many siblings you have instead write down why you want the job what you’ve been doing to try to get the job and why you think you should get the job that’s going to increase your chances of landing the job by a ton compared to telling them about your first pet and how in your spare time you enjoy hanging out with your friends.
and the Last one.
all right now for the final tip and probably what should be the first tip really but it’s also the most generic advice which is why I wanted to leave.
it’s the last one and that is learning to code and as I said at the start I basically learned how to code in three months and then got a job and now you might be thinking well he must have been one of those like math geniuses or he must have been super into computers since he was like five and that’s not true at all couldn’t be farther from the case.
Actually and I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again in my group of friends. I would have been considered as the parent that didn’t know the difference between sharing and commenting on Facebook. so I definitely didn’t know much and before those three months I basically only used my computer to watch YouTube. This is what you need to do to learn object-oriented programming or OOP. I learned it using Java but you can learn it using any programming language that you want.
You can think of OOP as the grammar of a language, but easier to learn. every spoken language English or French has a grammar that steers how you use it but the grammar rules in spoken language are different for French and English and that’s not the case for programming. so the grammar or OOP will be the same for every programming language. which is why it doesn’t really matter what language you learn it will be in because you will be able to switch language super easy once you understand.
What I would recommend is to do what I did and purchase the book Java head first. You might think I’m affiliated with them but I really need to cement that reading this book was the best choice I ever made.
Once you understand OOP you can start to figure out where you want to go with what you want to work with.
web development is probably where there’s the highest amount for jobs right now but also a really broad area. There are tons of technology language frameworks and no real industry-wide standard which means that it might require slightly more effort to go into something like that compared to something like databases which are more narrow.
there aren’t as many languages or frameworks to learn and there’s an industry-wide standard of using SQL as the main language of communicating with databases and then mobile development falls somewhere in between. but no matter what you choose there are tons of jobs and there’s a real demand for software developers this is also the reason why this is still possible to just spend three months learning and then landing a job because the high demand right now the barrier to entry is or can be quite low and once you’ve landed your first job you’re pretty much set, as long as you just keep trying to learn and improve and also do a good job.
Alright, so that is my best advice for getting paid to code as fast as possible I really hope this was useful and I tried to pack in the best advice that I’ve gathered that I also haven’t heard other people talk about so I hope this was somewhat useful and also unique and yeah that’s it…