How to stand out as a software developer with no experience

How to stand out as a software developer with no experience

Stand out amongst the crowd of developers trying to land their first job.

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Introduction

I've worked as a software developer for almost a year now.

When I tried landing my first job, I did my research on standing out amongst the crowd. I surely didn't give my best. Looking back, I could've done much better.

I dropped out of high school and had no previous experience aside from my personal projects when landing my first job as a developer, so if you are teaching yourself software development and wondering if you can land a job as a software developer, you can. 🔥

This article will be the one I wish I had read and listened to if I could go back in time.

In the end, I got a roadmap for you to start standing out today!

Ways to stand out 🚀

Writing ✍️

Writing is an important part of software engineering.

Documentation

I wish I had documented my projects properly.

  • What does it do?

  • What did I learn from it?

  • Which technologies does it use?

  • How to get it up and running locally?

  • What was the toughest challenge I encountered?

  • Include a video showcasing the project quickly?

This is something you would document in the README file of your repository over at GitHub.

There is always a lot of room for improvement as with everything in life, but I think one example that you could have a look at is the README of my side project Madara.

Blog

Writing blog posts is just invaluable.

As I'm writing this, I can clearly tell you that I've fallen in love with writing. It is extremely beneficial for you in so many ways aside from the beautiful fact that your posts may help others.

  • You better remember what you've learned

  • Store your knowledge in a second brain

  • Build your brand

Most developers don't have a blog. By having one, you'll stand out instantly.

Twitter

I wish I would've documented my journey on Twitter:

  • Network with others

  • Expose yourself to more opportunities

  • Let people see your work

Testing 🛠️

When it comes to writing tests, writing code that asserts our software works as it should, most developers who are learning to code completely skip it.

Some developers who are working already, aren't even writing tests, because not every company does it.

Learn to write tests, it'll make you stand out.

While working on your side projects, you won't have to manually test your software. Let the tests do it for you. This will save you time.

Why should we write tests?

  • Ensuring our software does what it should

  • They help us catch bugs much faster

  • They allow us to refactor code with confidence because we can be sure if we broke something in our application

Quote by Michael Feathers:

Code without tests is bad code. It doesn’t matter how well written it is; it doesn’t matter how pretty or object-oriented or well-encapsulated it is.

With tests, we can change the behavior of our code quickly and verifiably. Without them, we really don’t know if our code is getting better or worse.

Reading 📚

Reading technical books is something I wish I had started with earlier, they come with so many invaluable lessons:

  • Techniques

  • Approaches

  • Writing better code

  • Soft skills

  • Architecture

Don't forget to share what you learn in public. It'll make you stand out even more!

Accessibility 🧑‍🦼

If you are a Frontend Developer, one way to stand out is to learn about Accessibility.

It's very important, but most ignore it. Both experienced and inexperienced developers.

Personally, I didn't even know the concept of Accessibility existed till my second month of working.

Learn the fundamentals at least. It'll make you stand out, whether you got experience or not.

Roadmap 🛣️

Let's dive into your practical next steps.

  1. Document your existing projects on GitHub.

  2. Create a Twitter account and connect with other developers. To use your time wisely, you can block out time throughout the day to scroll the feed and check the notifications.

  3. Add tests to your side projects. You don't have to cover everything. Cover the main actions of the side project. Your aim is to learn to write tests and show that you're able to do it.

  4. Learn the fundamentals of Accessibility. Do this workshop on Frontend Masters which is roughly 3 hours long on Frontend Masters.

  5. Build a habit of reading one technical book a month. The three books I would've started with:

Conclusion 🥳

It's possible to stand out as a developer with no experience!

It won't be easy, as with everything in life, things are difficult at first, in whatever you do.

Be consistent and patient.

To be focused on something, we need to be interested or motivated.

It is difficult to stay motivated all the time. The book Unlimited Memory speaks about motivation, it says to stay motivated you need to ask yourself the right questions.

  • If I land that job as a software developer, how would my life change?

  • If I lose my current job today, what would happen?

  • What if one of the loved ones that I deeply care for needs money somehow due to an incident that has happened?

I hope this article helps you land your first job as a software developer, the steps are clear, now, hunt for your goals like a drooling lion, you got this! 💪 🔥

Believe it, visualize it, achieve it and become it! 👊