Landing Your First Programming Job
It’s time. You’re ready. Maybe you’ve graduated from a college or university with a programming degree. Maybe you sacrificed a couple months of sleep to experience a fast-paced code survival bootcamp. Or maybe you’ve just been spending a lot of time on Udemy or Khan Academy and want to turn those skills into some coin.
Whatever the situation, on behalf of us old-timers I’d like to welcome you to the club! It’s an exciting time in the world of technology, and as a creator of All Things New, you’re going to have a grand time dreaming of cool things and then making them happen.
Before you get there, however, you’ll have to survive a couple of obstacle courses that the wacky world of business has constructed to keep you out. To be fair, much of the obstacles exist to try to give the business some kind of assurances that you won’t murder your coworkers. (Yeah, they’ll also evaluate your skills, but I’m pretty sure it’s more about the murder thing.)
Obstacle Course #1 — Landing the Interview
The first course is usually the most difficult. A lot of people find themselves knocked into the ball pit just trying to get past the first obstruction.
When I graduated college back in the stone age, I sent out something like 350 resumes to potential employers. Having done well with my schooling and extracurriculars I was confident that I’d have my pick. Nothing could be further from the truth. 349 of these potentials didn’t even take the time to respond. The one potential that did respond didn’t have much of an offer, and it really wasn’t in a place I wanted to be (or even knew existed before sending the application).
It was a disappointing time. I took on a part time job working in a local computer shop while preparing another box of resumes for a bunch of places I really didn’t want to be, and worried that student loans were going to become a problem before there was any money to do much about them.
Fortunately, that first opportunity did come, and it had nothing to do with my resume or skills. As it turns out, I knew a guy who knew of an opening, and that opened a door. Fortunately, it was a good opportunity, so I tried not to think too hard about the fact…