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How to get a job as a developer

Developers have one of the most rewarding jobs out there. From synergistic, collaborative work environments to the satisfaction born out of contributing to something greater, there's a little something for everyone. Plus, the constant evolution of technology means you'll always have room to learn.

If you're motivated by growth and new opportunities, a career in development could be right for you — and we'll help you get there. In the video below, front-end engineer Pat DePuydt explains how to get a job as a developer.

Before getting started, we want to recognize that everyone's situation is different. But whether you're self-taught, have a computer science degree, or completed a coding boot camp, these tips will help you find the best job for you. Read on — or watch the video below — to learn more.

Figuring out where you want to work

When you're looking for a position as a developer, start with the end in mind. What kind of work do you want to do? It's important to know this early on because your role as a developer will vary widely depending on the company you work for.

One factor that will influence the responsibilities of your new position is the size of your new employer. Because of their limited capacity, startups typically have their developers take on a variety of tasks. Developers at mid-sized companies have more defined roles that they usually don't stray too far from. At large companies, developers often have a narrow specialty that they focus on.

If you're unsure which role is right for you, try reaching out to a developer you know and ask about their day-to-day. The Codecademy Forums are another great resource. You'll find dozens of posts by learners and Codecademy team members about their experiences in various roles.

Building your skills

Knowing what kind of work you want to do is the first step towards ensuring that you're happy in your new position. It's also important to note that, along with your duties, the technology you'll use will also vary between companies.

In the video above, Pat tells us that every company he's worked for as a front-end developer has used different tech stacks. Still, he provides a list of universal skills and concepts that every developer should know:

  • Command Line
  • Git
  • APIs
  • Programming patterns
  • Code editor/IDE (integrated development environment)
  • DRY coding and why it's important
  • Linting, formatting, conventions, and project structures

Because different companies use different technologies, we recommend making a list of those you want to work for and reviewing their job boards and postings. Codecademy Community Team member Fede echoes this sentiment in the Codecademy Forums and explains how job postings usually list all the skills you'll be expected to know.

For example, as a front-end developer, you'll probably use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (including libraries like React, Angular, or Vue.js). On the back-end, you might use server-side scripting languages like Node.js, Python, or Ruby, along with databases like MongoDB or MySQL.

As you add languages, frameworks, and other technologies to your tech stack, make a list of their advantages and limitations. You'll need to explain why and how you've used them once you start interviewing.

The hiring process

After you've made a list of the companies you want to work for and built your skillset, it's time to start applying and interviewing. Interviews can be intimidating, but they're exciting opportunities to learn more about your prospective employers. Here, we'll walk you through the three steps of the hiring process: phone screening, in-person interviews, and technical interviews.

Phone screening

The hiring process for developers is similar to that of any other position, with a few key distinctions. It usually starts with a phone screen, where you'll speak to the hiring manager or leader of the team you'll be working on to see if you'll be a good fit.

In-person interviews

After your phone screening, you'll move on to the in-person interview. The duration of these interviews varies with the seniority of the position you're applying to — they can range from a few hours to several days. In the video above, Pat tells us that he's interviewed with up to 30 people for a single position.

Pat goes on to remind us that interviews are a two-way street and also help you decide if that company is worth working for. Ask questions about the position's responsibilities and their expectations. Ask your interviewer about the company's mission and values as well as their personal experience with the company.

Technical interviews

The key distinction in the hiring process for developers is the technical interview, which can come before or after the in-person interview, or even the phone screen. Also known as coding challenges, these assignments help you showcase your abilities by solving a technical problem.

Pat tells us that technical interviews are typically designed to be more complex than the projects you'll undertake in the position you're applying for. While it's great if you get the answer right, what they're really testing is your process, so be sure to explain your approach. Things rarely go according to plan when you're building a website or developing an application, and companies need people who can think their way through problems.

To help you launch your career in web development, two of our Curriculum Developers compiled a list of tips to prepare you for your next technical interview.

Getting started

If you're interested in building the skills you'll need as a developer, check out the Career Paths below. Our Career Paths teach you all the skills you'll need to succeed as a web developer — complete with projects, portfolio building, and interview prep:

Get more practice, more projects, and more guidance.

Jacob Johnson

Jacob Johnson

Jacob Johnson is a Content Marketing Associate at Codecademy with a background in writing about technology.

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How to get a job as a developer
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