Thoughts on the Junior Developer’s Job Search | by Nina Loeterman | May, 2022

Suggestions and tips for succeeding in software program developer interviews

Photograph by Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash

Some background on myself to preface this text — I’m a self-taught (bootcamp included) software program developer with about one and half years of expertise, largely within the frontend JavaScript world. Whereas I labored at two corporations earlier than this job search, I bought to these corporations by probability, by no means actually having gone by a correct job search.

Regardless that this information is aimed toward much less skilled builders, I believe it may be fairly related throughout the board.

Really feel like I am leaving one thing out? Depart a word within the feedback!

Earlier than we dive into the interviews themselves, a job search takes some preparation.

Excel sheet

Create an Excel sheet of your alternatives. That is essential. I by no means thought that with so little expertise so many corporations can be reaching out to me. I by no means thought I’d neglect who I talked to and at what stage I used to be at within the course of. Simply keep organized — maintain an Excel file.

I used the next columns in my Excel sheet:

  • Firm
  • Wage expectations (The place I reside, that is usually mentioned within the first dialog with expertise acquisition)
  • Rounds — Which interview rounds occurred (expertise acquisition, technical interview, HR, and so forth.) and the end result of every interview
  • My degree of curiosity within the firm
  • Normal feedback
  • How I bought the interview
  • Present standing — in progress, rejected, stopped (After I selected to cease the method with the corporate), and acquired contract

My Excel sheet seemed one thing like this:


“The best discovery of my technology, is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their perspective of thoughts.” — William James

Along with an Excel sheet, it’s essential to hold your self with confidence. I actually imagine it’s a should have. Pretend it until you make it — reply the telephone confidently, talk about your expertise with delight, and know how one can spotlight your strengths.

I discovered this to be straightforward with the primary few corporations I talked to, however having unbelievable posture in each interview will get exhausting fairly rapidly. That being mentioned, take some time. Confidence is such an enormous a part of how we’re perceived and in exhibiting we’re competent.

There’s no alternative for a sure degree of information of your tech stack and algorithms, however there are some tips you may pull out to make it seem to be you realize your craft.

Keyboard shortcuts

Know a variety of them. It makes it seem like you realize what you’re doing.

In my job search, I used to be requested to do a variety of reside coding. The truth is, I did reside coding for each firm I interviewed at. Having the ability to simply navigate, spotlight, and alter issues in your code by keyboard instructions makes it seem like you realize your craft.

I discovered interviewers to be impressed by this and suppose it gave a sense of me having extra expertise than I even have. As well as, figuring out some ins and outs of your IDE can provide the same impression.

Know your language

Corporations actually need to see that you just’re fluent in your major programming language. I’m a giant JavaScript individual, so this implies figuring out strategies for arrays, strings, and objects, and usually having syntax on the suggestions of your fingers.

Everyone knows that at our jobs (some entry-level jobs particularly), we’re not at all times doing such riveting issues with our major language. Taking the time to observe all of the strategies and having them within the entrance of your head will be helpful throughout an interview. I used to be requested at a number of interviews to deal with dates with JavaScript — one thing I undoubtedly wanted to clean up on.

Apart from syntax, know the way your major language works. Is it single or multi threaded? In JavaScript, for instance, know closures, scope, and different complexities. Study them not solely to regurgitate their that means, however as data you need to use whenever you’re explaining a solution to a posh downside.

The primary time I used to be requested how JavaScript works, I failed horribly. I knew to say that JavaScript is single threaded however could make asynchronous calls, however I actually couldn’t clarify the method. I threw “occasion loop” out within the air, however it wasn’t sufficient. Realizing the foundations of your programming language will assist alongside the best way as a result of somebody will ask about this.

Cool syntax

Present you’re keen on programming by utilizing cool syntax. Don’t overdo this! However throw in a selection operator, a ternary operator, object literals, and new cool syntaxes in your language. It reveals you’re updated and primarily that you just’re serious about your language and its capabilities. By no means compromise readability for cool syntax, however present fluency and an curiosity in writing clear, environment friendly code.

Follow speaking a few main characteristic or challenge you constructed

At each technical interview I had, I used to be requested to speak about an fascinating challenge or process I had labored on recently. Interviewers need to know the way you suppose, they usually need to hear that you’ve expertise engaged on complicated issues.

Take the time to take a seat down and craft a solution to this query, and study to speak about your expertise prefer it has nice worth. Even when you haven’t labored on such unbelievable options, make it sound such as you did. I struggled with this query the primary few occasions an interviewer requested till I crafted a solution that confirmed what I labored on, what impression it had, how I deliberate it out, and what challenges I confronted.

Know the corporate

Take quarter-hour earlier than every interview and browse up in regards to the firm. When the interviewer asks you if you realize what they do, say sure and inform them what their firm does. Doing this reveals engagement and curiosity. I discovered that it was straightforward to learn up on the primary few corporations I interviewed with, however I began to get lazy as the method went alongside.

Don’t slack on this; take the time to know the corporate earlier than each interview. Corporations need to see that you’re engaged, that you’ve a spark, and that you’ll like working with them. Step one in that’s figuring out who they’re and what they do. By figuring out the corporate, you additionally present them that you just worth their time and funding in you.

Ask questions

Present you’re engaged, and ask questions. You may and may ask many alternative sorts of questions throughout an interview. From clarifying a query the interviewer has requested you to asking for elaboration on what the corporate does to these commonplace “Do you might have any questions” on the finish. Ask and have interaction.

One firm I interviewed at was a bootstrapped firm that had simply raised a big enterprise capital spherical, that means that the corporate began not by elevating VC, however existed by earnings from the beginning. The present firm I labored at was additionally a bootstrapped firm. So when the interviewer talked extra in regards to the firm than what I researched, this got here up, and I requested extra about it, which led to an incredible dialogue about some great benefits of bootstrapped startups.

I engaged. I advised him my ideas about how a bootstrapped firm appears good available in the market. It gave him the sensation that I’m concerned within the startup world, and that I’m serious about how corporations work and the way a product finds its market. This was completely further, however my interviewer appreciated it, and we had an incredible dialog.

Pondering and sharing your ideas

After the introductions and normal questions in technical interviews, the interviewer reveals or asks some technical questions. That is at all times a tricky second since you simply don’t know what to anticipate.

Take your time, repeat the query, and it’s okay to say “I’m going to suppose for a second.” If it’s an algorithm query or another nonstraightforward coding process, at all times repeat the query. Repeating reveals that you just need to perceive what the duty is, and it may be good on your personal understanding as nicely. I at all times say, “I’m going to suppose for a second,” and I felt just like the interviewers appreciated that.

Fixing an algorithm

At first, simply make it work. Doesn’t matter if it’s horrible code. As soon as it’s working roughly, refactor for readability and effectivity. Categorical what you’re doing to the interviewer. Don’t be too shy to say, “I’m going to start out by simply attempting to get one thing working,” Then, when you’re there, say, “Now I’m going to consider how one can refactor to make this higher.”

Edge instances

Take into consideration edge instances, and you’ll ask the interviewer about them as nicely. I felt like this was one of many predominant locations the place my lack of expertise confirmed. I’ve bother pondering of edge instances.

Relying on a operate that takes three arguments? What if it solely has two? What in case your algorithm makes use of two pointers, however the array of nums has a size of 1? Are you assuming what forms of values you’re going to be getting?

Edge instances are exhausting to observe by Leet Code as a result of Leet Code will at all times let you know if it’s failing on some use case. If you’re working towards, try to beat the assessments to it by imagining what enter values might create points after which observe dealing with them.

Dealing with rejection

Rejection is difficult. It may be actually robust to listen to somebody let you know they determined to maneuver on with different candidates. Ask for suggestions the place you’re feeling it’s applicable, and when you get suggestions, replicate and attempt to enhance. At all times thank the individual for his or her time, and when you had a constructive interview expertise, allow them to know that.

Hold it respectful, and maintain your head excessive.

It’s straightforward to really feel like nobody will ever need to rent you or that you just’re not sensible sufficient or ok. However attempt to not dwell. Brush your shoulders off, and concentrate on bettering. Come to the following interview assured and higher ready.

The job search is exhausting.

So many issues to excel at. A lot to recollect. You need to carry your greatest recreation to each single interview, and it’s a journey. I felt like every interview ready me for the following.

An important factor? Consider in your self. You are able to do this :).

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