Landing a development job

By far the question I get asked the most is how you can go about landing a development job, especially if it's your first one. It can be tricky to stand out of the crowd when you're self-taught and don't have professional experience to show off to companies. But you obviously need a job to get experience - the classic chicken and egg problem!

However, there's a few things you can do to greatly increase your chance of getting hired as a developer. I tweeted about my favourite tips for this recently, but want to expand a bit more on it in this post:

Top 3 things you need to land a development job: 1. A solid portfolio with a few projects (shows basic skills and personality) 2. A well-written job application (shows communication skills and proficiency in writing) 3. A blog (shows passion and interest in the field)

So let's start with the first one:

  1. You need a solid portfolio website. Your portfolio is how you show employers what you can do when you don't have experience from previous jobs to do it for you. ​It's a way for you to highlight what technologies you're proficient with, and you do that by literally showing live, real-world projects you've built. It doesn't need to be large projects, as long as they're complete. Having 3-4 projects on your portfolio with a title, an image, a brief description, some indication of what technologies you used, and a link to the live project is great. Throw in some personality and animations and your portfolio is off to the races!

  2. Spend time writing a good application. I can't stress this enough. Sending out 100 copies of the same generic application won't get you anywhere. Instead, focus on tailoring each application to the specific position you're applying for. Include words from the job specification and the company website, to prove that you did your research. It's made a big difference for me in all the applications I've ever submitted. Yes, it takes more time and effort. But hey, you only need one company to take a chance on you, so focus on selling yourself well.

  3. Start a blog. I believe that a blog is one of the best ways to stand out and show your passion for development. It tells companies that you care enough about development to write about it in your free time. It also improves your writing skills, which is hugely important in every single development job. Plus, you get to help others and retain knowledge by writing about it. Win/win/win!

There's obviously a lot more to say about landing a development job, but these should serve as great pointers to get started. And if you're curious, I have another blog post further expanding on some of these points and including other pro tips to land your dream job:

Catching attention when applying for jobs