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Ask HN: How to get first Dev Job with no shipped code
2 points by gremlinsinc on July 3, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 6 comments
I've got a ton of starts, startups I had ideas for... even working on some projects on Assembly.com as lead dev, but my problem is I make 30k per year now(Tech support), and I get depressed and lose focus.. If I could just up to 60k I'd be much happier, and if I could just get my foot in the door.

An apprenticeship, or something. I know rails, django, laravel, php, ruby, angularjs, meteorjs, I do lack a lot of testing experience, but think a team could help me build those skills as I watch other's workflows...

An entry level rails or django job, and I'd take 40k (call it apprentice pay) w/ a promise of 70+ when I prove myself an asset.

Github: http://github.com/pixelgremlins Linkedin: http://linkedin.com/in/patrickcurl




1. Stop undervaluing yourself. You should be aiming for at least 75-80k as a full stack / front end developer in Utah. (I'd also strongly suggest looking for work outside the state because you can both earn a significant multiplier of what you will earn in Utah, and more importantly, you'll be able to work with and make more connections in the industry. That way when you go to look for your second dev job, you can just reach out to your circle of friends in the industry and say, hey, I'm looking for a new gig, I'd love to come work with you at __, do you mind you referring me?).

2. On your linkedin profile, you state "I've spent 10 years coding freelance jobs". You need to add an entry into your professional work history that represents this. Call it 'Patrick Web Development Consulting' and list it as 2005-present. Even if you're under NDA, you can still describe what you did in general. If you set up a server with technologies x,y,z, implemented a design (or designed and implemented yourself), etc. list it.

I would separate into three sections: Business Strategy, Front End / Design, Backend / Server. This allow you to show that you have experience and skills in these areas. Right now, your profile just lists a bunch of skills, but your only experience says 'tech support'.


I run a small agency and I'm in charge of hiring our developers. I took a look at your GitHub and had a few thoughts:

1) Add a real readme to your projects. If you don't have any shipped work, that's ok, but you do have side projects I can take a look at. Help me out though, I want some information on what this app should do and I don't want to go diving into your code without that background.

The first repo I visited was cupcakes, because, well who doesn't love cupcakes? But I was disappointed when I didn't see any real information about what this app was aiming to do.

2) You should be able to get a Jr. level position for at least 70k, so don't sell yourself short. Now if you have a lot to learn, be willing to take less and get your foot in the door.

3) Focus on one language that interests you. I don't hire generalists. I look for developers who have spent the time to learn a language, not six. You can always learn more later, but you'll have an easier time if you can pitch on the language or area you know really well.

Other than that, keep applying to jobs, keep growing, you'll land something. Good luck!


Actually.. I've shipped some minor projects.. Some are nda, so can't disclose, and one hasn't really taken off: http://glitterandpoop.com (Laravel). I can migrate wordpress sites, fix wsod's, and fine-tune server performance/script performance pretty fast. (I can do a full migration in 10 mins flat, install from scratch in 2 mins.. ) I work in hosting support now, so that's 70% of what I do everyday..


I'm in the same boat but I think you're selling yourself way short. There are new grads who get 100k jobs, you might not have a portfolio but you do have work experience.


It's hard...I've been to > 50 interviews since April 2014. So far all I've gotten is hosting support for a big hosting firm @ $15/hour. Still dropping resumes though weekly.


How do you prepare for interviews and what would you say are your weak points ?




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