A New Grad’s Guide to Landing Their First Web Developer Job
Finishing school and entering the working world can be a challenging experience. But let’s be positive – you graduated. The next step? Landing your first post-college job.
When it comes to job hunting, the process can sometimes be a bit tricky. You know you need to put together a resume, create a LinkedIn profile, and create your own website. But what else can you do to stand out?
We asked our web development team a few questions about what job seekers in the industry should consider as they pursue a career in the web dev field.
What are some fundamentals you should know?
It’s important to have some general baseline knowledge surrounding data structures and standards, and you’ll certainly need to know core concepts.
Most tech companies have adopted the same style of interviewing that revolves heavily around the use of data structures and Leetcode-style questions. To get past those technical interviews, our team suggests practicing some sample questions, while also making sure you’re able to explain your code.
Tip: Having a background in computer science is helpful as you can dive into many different niches throughout web design, development, and software engineering.
Is it better to be specialized in only one area of web development?
The bottom line is that it all depends on what you’re interested in. If you’re not 100% certain on what field you want to settle into, try spending some time figuring out your likes and dislikes during your early years. There’s more money in specialized areas, but that also means you’re cornered into one function.
There’s greater demand for tech and software jobs now more than ever, so it can be helpful to become familiar with different areas of web development. It makes it easier to adapt to other fields and gives you a greater ability to specialize in a specific area once you figure out what you really like. It truly all depends on what you’re passionate about.
Tip: It’s rare for programmers to stay at one spot for an extended time, especially the younger you are.
Any specific skills and development languages should you be familiar with?
Be great with Google – seriously. There are almost always people who have run into the same problem you’ve had or will encounter someday, so it helps to know what to Google specifically as you build your skillset and resources. Our team highly recommends using Stack Overflow; a platform used by web developers to share codes and collaborate on projects. Another recommendation is to use a database like GitHub to store your work.
Tip: Another important skill is not being afraid to ask questions. You must be willing to swallow your pride & ask for help from other web developers when you’re stuck or lost. It’s how you grow.
What should recent grads entering the web development field look for in a company?
Make sure there’s someone in the company that has more experience than you. Having a mentor in the field is crucial for your development as a programmer. Also, keep a close eye out for red flags during the interview process. For example, any company that asks you to write code or has no development process should oftentimes be avoided.
Also, do your research and make sure you’re asking for proper compensation based on your background. Never bite at anything off the bat – some companies will try to underpay you. You should be awarded an appropriate salary for your skills and experience.
Respect is everything, and when it comes to salary, working environment, and employee sentiment- make sure you’re entering an environment that treats you, and your skill set, in the highest regard. Any company that values your work ethic and acknowledges your effort and input will treat you how you should be treated as an entry-level employee.
Tip: Pay attention to how the company treats its developers and other team members (look through their social, Glassdoor reviews, etc.).
What is a company looking for when hiring a new Web Developer?
There are a lot of things a hiring manager is looking for, but one thing is for sure, you need to pass the vibe check right off the bat. A first impression is everything – your resume may fit the position, but if you lack maturity, creativity, or openness, it will create problems immediately. Most companies want someone who is willing to collaborate, ask questions, remain enthusiastic, and who has an eagerness to learn.
Also, your educational background is important. If you don’t have a degree in the field, a web certificate is good too.
Tip: It’s helpful to include any college courses on your resume that are relevant to the position you’re applying for.
10 Essential Skills a Web Developer Should Have:
- Critical Thinking
- Debug your own code
- Passion for your trade