Fresh out of university? Looking to land your first job as a Junior Developer?
Here at Digital Gurus, we love placing Junior Developers. It’s great to see how you guys develop and really hone in on your specialisms as your career progresses.
At the same time, we know it’s not always easy to land that first job. So we put together some of the most frequently asked questions we get from Junior and Graduate Developers to help you get your foot in the door.
Can I compete if I haven’t got a degree or done a specific course?
While it’s true that Graduate Junior Developers sometimes have a head start, here is the true story: Junior Developers are hired because of their passion and what they can bring to the table. Companies know that Graduates are not the only ones that can create some wicked code!
What do I include in my portfolio?
As a junior, you aren’t expected to have a huge amount of work examples – but at the very least, you need to have your own website! It can be as simple as a short About Me section, your CV and some code examples. After all, if you can’t do your own site then how can we (or anyone else) know that you are confident to do anything else?
What about everything I don’t know yet?
Junior Developers are almost never hired based on their domain knowledge. It is taken as a given that they don’t have much of that yet. What’s important is passion, energy, and a hunger to learn more!
How much salary should I expect?
A lot of Junior Developers with no experience come to us with very misled salary expectations. The reality is that salaries for junior roles typically range from £18k – £25k. However, the good news is that if you’re good at your job and work hard, you can expect to receive a significant pay increase in your second job with as little as one year experience!
What do I do once I got a job interview lined up?
- Prepare for your interview – Competition is strife out there and getting an interview is one of the hardest parts. Your CV and Portfolio have done a good job and got you in the door – don’t fall at the next hurdle! Research the company and think about questions to ask, even if it’s your second or third interview. More tips here: How to Prepare for a Job Interview
- If the company has an app or software, use it – During your research, make sure to check whether the company you’re interviewing with has a software or app. If they do, make sure you sign up/download it and have a play around with it before your interview. This extra effort speaks volumes.
- Look at the company source code – This will either be from open GitHub repositories or at a very minimum the companies’ brochure site. Comment on this in the interview and for bonus points talk about potential improvements to the code (this can be as simple as pointing out poorly named classes).
- Try and find out who is interviewing you – This is a general rule that goes across all industries but it can be even more important within tech. If your interviewer isn’t a Developer, they are more likely to focus on whether you are a good team fit and what your motivations for working there are. If it is the Lead Developer interviewing you, they will want to hear you talk the tech talk. So make sure you know your audience! LinkedIn is a great source to find out your interviewer’s background.
What do I need to keep in mind during my job interview?
- Don’t lie about experience or bluff questions – If you are asked about a particular technology/code you don’t know anything about, just say so. If you know it is similar to another code you use so you can transfer the skill, tell them that. Do not start waffling about something you know is rubbish. As a Developer, it’ll become obvious pretty quickly that you can’t actually write that code or produce the work, so save your future self!
- Show that you have a genuine passion for what you do – One of the most important things for Junior Developers to have is passion! Explain to the interviewer why you want to work in this field and show the energy you can bring to the company.
What if there’s a coding challenge?
These challenges are about how you explain your thought process and how you communicate your code. If the code is wrong but the thought process is there, chances are you will be smart enough to pick things up quickly and make an amazing addition to the team.
What’s your most important tip once I start my first job?
Don’t become complacent! Keep on top of code, continue to look at other source codes you don’t know yet, and stay curious. Choosing Development as a career means you will never stop learning. Tech never stands still and if you don’t keep up, your skills can quickly become outdated.
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