How to Get a Job as a Web Developer: 9 Tips

Anyone can master the profession of web developer, as it does not require any serious technical background – it is enough to school curriculum and basic skills of working with a PC. However, the main problem is not learning the necessary skills as such, but finding the first job, gaining practical experience, and further career growth. A properly composed resume, relevant work in the portfolio, the right behavior at the interview, as well as other points should help to get a web developer’s first job.

Important tips for getting a job as a web developer

You should start looking for a job only after you have more or less sufficiently mastered the set of in-demand technologies. In web development, there are three areas with which it is advisable to decide at the stage of training:

  • Frontend. Responsible for the external design of pages – layout, animation, some very minimal functionality. Since it is enough to learn HTML, CSS and JavaScript to master this direction, you can get down to work more quickly. However, a lower entry threshold makes for a higher level of competition in the initial stages.
  • Backend. Requires a more “technical” mindset, since this is where server-side solutions are implemented. In addition to a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS, more advanced knowledge of JavaScript as well as server-side programming languages such as PHP, Python and others will be required. The competition in this field is lower and the pay is higher, but this one requires more time for learning and will not suit everyone.
  • Full-stack. Able to work both with the front end and the server side. A good full-stack developer needs a long time to learn, because it is required to master a large number of tools. However, this is not a bad option for a beginner: it is easier to get the first job, because the requirements are lower and the number of applicants for the vacancy is also lower; however, this is true for low-cost projects.

Already more or less mastered all the necessary skills for web development – you can start looking for work. It is also advisable to decide on the direction in which you want to work before you compile your portfolio, resume and send your feedback.

Is it worth to become a full-stack developer

You can often see the advice that it’s easier to get into web development through full-stack. This position can really be justified on the following points:

  1. By learning full-stack you acquire skills that will be useful in both frontend and backend. If you haven’t decided exactly what sphere you want to go deeper into, it is better to choose full-stack.
  2. At the initial stages, it is easiest to gain relevant experience in full-stack projects. The demands there are up to the beginning developers’ level, and the competition is not as high as in other areas, though the pay is not so high.
  3. Working with full-stack projects will help you to decide whether you want to remain a “multifunctional” developer or go deeper into a particular sphere of activity.
  4. There are good prospects for growth – good full-stack developers can take expensive projects for full-fledged website development. There are a lot of such options and the competition is low, but to be successful you already need practical experience and more or less developed skills.

Becoming a full-stack developer for a beginner is recommended only if you yourself want to develop in this or do not yet know what exactly you want to improve in. You should not choose this direction just because there are more projects and a little less competition.

Next comes practical advice related to finding the first job for the novice web developer.

Tip 1: Determine the necessary skills and tighten them

You have taken a web development course or found all the information on your own and already know something. However, before making a portfolio and resume, it is advisable to read the list of skills that employers indicate in the list of requirements for the job or project, if we are talking about freelance platforms. Highlight the skills and technologies that are found in the requirements for most positions or their presence is implied. Refresh your knowledge on them or fill in any gaps.

It’s important here not to overdo it and go into a “perpetual student” position. Master only technologies and skills that are found in most requirements. There is also no need to try to master them at a perfect level – a basic understanding and skill is enough to qualify for the project. Also, some knowledge and skills can be “completed” through hands-on tasks.

Tip 2: Do some work for your portfolio

One of the most trivial tips, but, an important note, the work must be current. Research the job market and determine what a potential employer might require of you. Based on that, “make up” a small project for yourself and do it. After passing the courses students often already have some work in their portfolios, but it looks too “raw” and not always relevant to the current situation on the market, so it will be difficult to find anything with them.

Ideally, if you can find a real project and execute it. However, you can make up a project for yourself or take TOR from public sources, such as freelance sites, and also perform it. Of course, you won’t get money for it, and most likely you won’t get feedback from the client either, but you will have an actual project in your portfolio. A couple of pieces will be enough to already start applying for real jobs.

Tip 3: Get your portfolio right

It’s not enough to put together a project or two in a portfolio; you also need to get it right and present it to the prospective employer. It’s a good idea to put a story behind every single piece of work in your portfolio: what was the challenge when you started out, how you solved it and why you chose the solution you did. The more information you provide about the project, the more likely it is that you’ll get the job. But here, too, you should not overdo it – you should only describe the task and the methods of its solution.

An important point is to submit a portfolio. Throwing a potential employer a bunch of links to work with minimal explanations is not the best idea. At a minimum, each link to the completed project should be accompanied by an explanation: a clear title of the work, and what was the task that was to be solved.

Tip 4: Create a competitive resume

It is quite possible that you will have to create several resumes and test them. This is also necessary if you have not decided on a specific position – you will have to create resumes for several positions. These positions should be close to each other in terms of the list of skills required, such as full-stack and backend developer.

Use these tips to get a good conversion rate on responses and interview invitations:

  • Write your contact information closer to the header. Include your name, desired position, and preferred method of contact there.
    Don’t make a big spread in the type of employment. Yes, the web development profession allows it, but when your resume combines “full-time”, “project work” and “part-time” at the same time, it can scare off a potential employer. It is better to create multiple resumes by preferred employment type.
  • Don’t specify an exact expected salary. Even if you have researched the market, you can make a big mistake out of inexperience, scaring off HR managers or, conversely, attracting the attention of unscrupulous companies. Salary is best discussed during the interview.
  • Specify the knowledge and technologies that you can work with and the approximate level of their mastery. It is desirable to be limited to an evaluative judgment, for example, medium, low, high level. It is not recommended to indicate the level of mastery in percentages or to describe in detail what you can do from the considered technology.
  • Work Experience. The hardest part for a novice developer, as experience is either none at all or very modest. It is not recommended to lie here. If you have no experience, it is better to write so, but at the same time write that you have already performed tasks in your specialty and you will not have to learn from scratch. If you have experience, then specify it, detailing where you have worked previously and what you have done, but the experience must be relevant to the job.
  • Think about the layout of your resume. Of course, you can make it a simple Word document, but if you can, it’s better to design it (within reason). So it will look different from most, which will increase the likelihood of a potential employer’s attention to you.

Tip 4: Develop Networking

Find communities in your field of interest, network with colleagues, preferably more experienced ones. This way you can better understand the inner workings, learn what others are doing to find a job, keep up to date with current technological solutions. Active interaction with such communities will help the developer get the attention of more experienced colleagues, find mentors, and possibly his first clients.

Tip 5: Find a mentor

With a complete lack of experience, it’s best to try to find a mentor in the form of a more experienced colleague or development manager from some studio rather than a full-time employer. The ideal is to get a job as an intern at some studio, or ask to be an assistant for a nominal fee. This way you get your first experience with real projects, feedback with mistakes and recommendations.

Finding a mentor is not that easy – you need to prove that you have a technical background and can be useful, and spending time on you can be profitable for one reason or another. Often, mentors are looking for in web studios, applying there for a position as an intern. In this case, you have to send your resume to many studios and explain in detail why they should pay attention to you. Often, after a developer has proved his usefulness, he is invited into the staff as a permanent employee.

Also, it is not uncommon when mentors look for their own helpers in professional communities among young developers. In this case, you will work for a nominal fee, but you can get fast and detailed feedback, and if everything goes well, the mentor can share complete projects or customer contacts.

Tip 6: Use multiple job search sites

Register on job sites and freelance exchanges as well. There you will need to fill out a full profile: information about yourself, portfolio, work experience, links to resumes. By actively working with multiple job search sites, you can reach more people. Even if you’re looking for a permanent job, don’t sweep away freelance exchanges and theme sites. There you can easily take the first job, albeit temporary, but so you can better understand what is required of a web developer and how best to present yourself, plus, get practical experience. Also on the freelance exchanges often one-time projects are gradually flowing into a full-fledged stream or a contractor’s device in the developer’s staff.

Tip 7: Develop your personal brand

Relevant not only for freelancers, but also for developers looking for work on staff. If you have some kind of themed blog or other personal project where you share your expert opinion, your chances of finding a job increase. Listing a developer’s personal blog in your resume or profile description on a freelance market always gives you a competitive advantage over other job seekers. A promoted personal brand will allow you to passively receive more lucrative job offers in the future.

Tip 8: Evaluate yourself adequately

Don’t over- or under-value yourself. Although in the development of wages of 100 thousand rubles a month is not uncommon, the beginner is unlikely to offer such sums, so demanding them from the employer is extremely unwise. Excessive expectations can scare off recruiters. However, the fact that you are just starting out as a web developer does not mean that you should work for a low price. Dumping is not welcome either. Yes, it’s true that sometimes you can get your first job faster, but it’s not always worth it.

HR experts advise to study the market carefully and make a picture of the average salary for the positions for which you are applying, based on the region, skills and experience. It is considered acceptable to ask for a payment slightly above the average market, so you show that you value your time and do not look for work on a “just for something” principle.

Tip 9: Participate in competitions

Some freelance exchanges and professional communities hold contests by potential employers. Developers need to solve a given task and those who do it better than all the other candidates will receive a monetary reward and possibly a steady stream of orders. Despite the fact that no one guarantees you victory or at least first places in competitions, a novice developer is recommended to take part in them. This way you can:

  • get a hand in solving real customer problems;
  • get some extra work for your portfolio;
  • prove yourself as a promising novice specialist, even if you don’t get prizes.

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