One of the hardest things about landing your first job in tech is meeting the experience requirements for entry-level positions. Even with top-notch coding skills and a growing portfolio of projects, you’ll need to show recruiters that you’ve got what it takes to do the job.
When we recently interviewed hiring managers for entry-level tech roles, they all agreed that the resume is the most important document in a candidate’s application. Your resume is not just a list of your technical skills and work history, it’s also an opportunity to flex your personal projects and open-source contributions.
We created Codecademy Docs to give people some helpful reference material when they need a quick refresher or a method or concept. As an open-contribution resource that lives on GitHub, writing Docs can also be a great way to build a portfolio of technical content that you can link to on your resume. Here are five ways that contributing to Docs can give you an edge in your job search.
Showcase your technical know-how
Contributing to coding documentation shows recruiters you understand the nuances of programming languages, frameworks, and tools. Software developers and engineers often build and work with large and intricate codebases. While you’re not expected to remember everything, you do need a strong understanding of programming tools, standards, and best practices.
Another bonus? Contributing to Docs also demonstrates your proficiency with GitHub — a popular cloud-based code repository developers use to store and manage their projects. You’ll see GitHub listed as a requirement on many job postings, so it’s a great inclusion for your resume. If you’ve never used GitHub before, check out our course Learn Git & GitHub to familiarize yourself with the platform. Then read our Docs contributor guide to get step-by-step instructions for writing and submitting your first entry.
Demonstrate your communication and collaboration skills
Developers need to know how to communicate effectively with folks on their technical teams as well as non-technical stakeholders, like marketers and sales teams. That often includes presenting complex technical concepts and processes in a way that’s easy to understand.
Writing documentation not only shows that you can distill complicated subjects into easy-to-read language, but also that you can collaborate with a larger team. All Docs are reviewed by Codecademy team members who provide feedback and suggestions before entries are finalized and published. Once you’re hired in a developer role, you’ll have team members reviewing your code on GitHub all the time, so Docs is a great way to practice the workflow. Making your first pull request can feel a little intimidating, but you got this! Read this blog for some tips for making your first PR on GitHub.
Engage with the open-source community
Contributing to Docs gives you a chance to feed two birds with one scone. Writing documentation will help reinforce your knowledge and provide a deeper understanding of a given subject. And by contributing to Docs, you’ll also assist in countless other learners’ growth and development by providing a helpful educational resource, so it’s a nice way to give back to your programming peers.
Not to mention, extracurricular activities like open-source projects show that you have a genuine interest in the field — and that you’re willing to go the extra mile, which signals to hiring managers that you’re passionate about coding.
GitHub keeps track of your contributions, and having a few Docs under your belt can add to your professional reputation and even help you develop your personal brand. It can also help you qualify to join Codecademy’s Code Crew, our team of super users that have access to exclusive networking events in return for their contributions to the community. Check out this blog to learn more about the Code Crew and how to get involved.
Keep your skills sharp
As you immerse yourself in coding documentation, you’ll learn more about your preferred tools and languages. Learning and upskilling is important in any job, but developers have an acute need for continuous learning, because the tools we work with are constantly evolving.
Looking for more ways to buff up your resume? Check out this list of open-source projects for some ideas.