How I got my first developer job out of bootcamp
4 min read
Getting my first job in the tech industry was one of the hardest things I've done. One tip I have for anyone trying to make the switch is that it's a numbers game. According to my career coach, it takes on average 600 job applications for bootcamp graduates with no prior experience in tech to land their first developer position.
It takes a mindset switch from growth and learning to sales and marketing. Once you feel like you are ready to start applying I recommend applying to as many jobs as you can and trying to get to that 600 number as quickly as possible.
When I was applying to jobs, I completely stopped learning new things and focused on honing my interview skills through leetcode and applying to as many jobs as possible. I did something called creative outreach which is basically the same as networking. I connected to as many people on LinkedIn as I could and tried to get meetings and referrals.
Make sure you keep your Linkedin headline and links up to date with projects so when recruiters see your profile it is immediately obvious you are a software engineer. Since you don't have prior experience it will be very easy to screen out your profile. Your profile headline should say "Software Engineer" even if you don't have any experience yet. Link any projects you have done and include a link to your portfolio site and Github profile on your projects. Check this out to learn how to build a quick portfolio site for the job application process.
The most important advice I can give is to stay focused and schedule your time. You have to work efficiently. You want to get your first developer job as quickly as you can. If you slow down and take a vacation, it is very easy to fall off the wagon. If you stop practicing and coding it is very easy to fall into old routines and forget things.
When I was in the job hunting phase, I used a technique called time boxing. This is a time management technique that made sure I used every day effectively during the job search. According to Parkinson's Law, "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion".
The concept was first introduced by James Martin, the author of the book Rapid Application Development, as a part of agile software development. To do it, allot blocks of time for a specific activity and do as much as you can during that time. Once that time is over you can stop working on it.
You will surprise yourself with how much work you can do in such a short amount of time. For example, if you allot 1 hour for leet code questions, you may be able to finish 2 or 3 questions. This is much better than planning on doing 1 leetcode question then switching gears and doing something else.
My strategy for creative outreach was to connect with people on LinkedIn and attempt to get a meeting to learn about their company and grow my network. I actually got my first job through a LinkedIn connection!
This also helps you in the future as well because if you expand your network you'll see posts from other developers when their companies are hiring.
I used a tool called PhantomBuster. It is an automated lead generation tool. What I did was scrape my 2nd and 3rd degree network for any recruiters or software engineers. Then I used PhantomBuster to connect with them with a message template asking for a meeting to learn about their companies. I did not ask them for a job immediately.
Another tool I used was called MixMax. They are an email tracking extension that connects with your Gmail. I liked making templates to help me quickly send emails. It also tracks when people open your emails so you can know they are seeing your emails.
This is where my previous experience doing commercial real estate sales came in handy. Just like in sales and brokerage, getting a job is a numbers game. Keep working hard and eventually, your funnel will land you multiple offers!
Thank you for reading my article. This was my submission to the 4 articles in 4 weeks challenge. Please leave me a comment if you're interested in learning more about automated lead generation or creative outreach. I gave a Q&A about how I landed a job in under 1 month at App Academy before I graduated. It goes over a lot of the same topics as this article. You can watch that here. The passcode is 2s=Pea3=. The recording starts 6 minutes in, but I think it will help you if you're trying to break into tech.
If you don't know my story, I am a bootcamp graduate who quit my job to become a software engineer.
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