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Most junior level positions are being filled with the massive influx of new grads from really strong intern programs at most companies now. If you're in college now, make sure you get an internship at a company in your field. If it's too late for that, then you'll have to do a little extra work and probably work on a couple side projects and post them on GitHub. That first job will always be the hardest to get, so don't feel bad if you keep getting turned down.

Definitely agree with this. It's not that the junior developer position doesn't exist anymore, it's that there's an overwhelming supply of strong candidates with the CS pedigree, multiple internships, side projects, and well balanced technical/soft skills.

For juniors to be cost effective/neutral, you can only really have 1-2 per mid/senior engineer. Most companies don't have that many mid/senior engineers to begin with, much less ones that are willing to take on a junior to mentor for a year or two.

It takes a better part of a decade to transition a junior into an independent, mentoring capable senior. The current software boom only started in 2009ish. That means there's only a few cohorts of seniors created in this cycle, and I would guess not very many of them given the job market in 09. Give it time, years of experience don't just happen overnight.

> For juniors to be cost effective/neutral, you can only really have 1-2 per mid/senior engineer. Most companies don't have that many mid/senior engineers to begin with, much less ones that are willing to take on a junior to mentor for a year or two.

I think you're off by the reciprocal of the ratio. It should be something like two experienced devs per junior dev. Any more junior devs than that and your senior devs are spending too much of their time mentoring and not enough time getting their tasks done, which is going to frustrate them. Fortunately, with a good junior dev, it doesn't take long at all to reach mid-level dev. I've seen it happen in under a year for smart new grads.

When I say cost neutral, I mean from a productivity standpoint. The 2x junior+senior accomplish the same amount of work as the senior would by themself.

It takes about a year for a junior+senior combo to be more productive than a senior alone. And another year before they're not a noticeable cost on the senior. 2x senior to a junior definitely brings the junior up to speed faster, but I think it's less efficient use of the seniors cause it also introduces a synchronization cost between the seniors.

I like to stagger the juniors so they're not at the same level; the +1 junior can take some part of the workload of mentoring the fresh junior. Plus it starts them on practicing mentoring early in their career. The fresh junior still has two mentors, and there's a clear pecking order.

I remember being a Sophomore in college 5 years ago, and it was hard even finding an internship. My first internship was unpaid because it was the only one that actually called me back.

It's funny how many business cards I picked up from recruiters during career fairs, only to have none of them return my calls or emails.

This seems like a pretty common misunderstanding of the point of recruiting events.

The recruiters aren’t there to let you know they’ve got jobs. They’re there to talk in person to young people, and figure out which ones have passion for the company/project/etc., and put the passionate people’s resumes at the top of the queue.

If you just pick up a business card, it’s indistinguishable from being a cold call/spray and pray resume sender; companies and recruiters get so many of these there’s a good chance no human ever even looked at your resume.

I did not mean to imply that I LITERALLY just collected business cards and spoke to no one. Of course, doing so at recruiting events would be absurd.

So, I don't think it's a common misunderstanding. I think it's common sense that you're supposed to speak to the recruiters and build your network.

Ah! In that case, sorry to hear you had such a hard time! If you talked to recruiters with enthusiasm and gave them your name/resume, I think you did the right thing.

This. If you're graduating without an internship or two, you're in trouble.

As someone who graduated in the summer of 2016 without having done any internships, I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment.

Finding a job was much more difficult than I thought it would be. Part of that is because I was looking in a very specific geographic area so I could live with my girlfriend (now wife) , part of it was a low GPA, but most of it was because I didn't have any experience outside of college classes.

Eventually I lucked out and found a job with a company that was looking to train someone because they develop software for IBM mainframes and weren't having any luck finding people in that field in the area.

Define "trouble". I'm ten years into my career now, but I graduated with no internships and feel like I've done OK.

I think he is referring to people entering the field now. If they don't have internships then it will be hard for them to compete with others vying for Junior Dev positions that have done internships.

Also applied when I started work in 2001. Having 3 months experience as an intern I think helped - making me appealing to smaller companies who needed someone to get stuck in rather than the big companies that spend the first 10 weeks in a training course. (Those companies were not doing well in 2001)

Anecdotally, I didn't factor in internships at all when I was last hiring for a jr. I didn't interview a single person who didn't have a public code repo.

You don't consider real world work experience relevant when hiring? Just side projects or contributions to open source projects?

That seems like you're looking for someone who lives and breathes programming. Do you have something against developers who work 40 hours a week and instead of programming as a hobby as well, they do other, non-tech, things for their hobby?

I don't consider work experience relevant at all unless I can verify the work done or hold a particular recommendation in high esteem. Not getting fired for a length of time, while a skill, is not often what I care most about. Without knowing a company's policies, culture, and tech leads I cannot accurately judge whether someone spent 3 years playing ping pong with the CEO or was responsible for programming a successfully delivered system. In a perfect world, I might try to suss out each candidate's strength and then decide based on the totality of data, but I don't often have that kind of time. I look for public or provided code first, and if it's reasonable, will use that to begin a pointed conversation on our trade.

I was asked about that kind of "programmer universe" stuff during my interview process with my current employer. I said I didn't have a GitHub, never been to a programming conference, didn't participate in the local dev scene, and didn't really program on my free time. I said in my free-time I like being outside, hiking, camping, and fishing...It didn't hurt me because I got the job, of course, I'm working for a utility company and not some flashy SV/NY tech startup...

You aren't graduating then are you? You graduated ten years ago. So they weren't addressing you.

I didn't do a single internship either when I was doing my undergraduate either. I wouldn't recommend doing that to young people in a million years now.

As in it will be a lot harder to get your first job. Once you have that first position or two, it's not really trouble from there obviously. I'd also point out that the dynamics of the junior dev position and the competition have changed a lot since 10 years ago. I suspect this level of experience wasn't as needed in 2006 or 2010 (maybe in 08 after the market crash).

The job market for newly graduated programmers is a little different than it was 10 years ago. I'm 20 years into a development career, but I'm not going to pretend that what was true about the market when I entered it was true about it when you did.

You're already 10 years in. Completely different.

This is 100% true in my experience as well. I hadn't thought of it before, but this seems like a major ethical problem for the industry -- from MegaCorp's perspective, internships are by far the best way to find junior talent, but access to internships is gated on being in a program at a top school with all the accumulated bias that implies.

I've seen some efforts at work along these lines, but nothing within even probably two orders of magnitude of the established internship program.

Curious if anyone is aware of companies offering entry level contract positions that aren't conditional on active enrollment in an academic program?


I love hiring and mentoring junior developers, but the barrier to entry is quite high. Employers love junior developers with aptitude and enthusiasm.

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