So I posted on my social media that I got a job as a Junior Web Developer. Many people wanted to know the tips and process so I decided to share what I did here 🤓

Just to avoid disappointment, I didn't go through technical interview. My position was Entry Level so salary is not super high, but it is good place to start for me. The job is not exactly coding, it is CMS (Drupal) developer job. But I needed HTML, CSS and basic JavaScript skills. So if you know how to use these technologies and would like to get an entry job, you may find below tips helpful 🙂

About me and my background

I was born in Japan, studied English and worked as a passenger service agent for a few major airlines after I graduated Uni. I did the job for about 4years then moved to Australia in 2012. The first year I was a typical backpacker, travelling around and picking fruits 😳 I had almost nothing but met so many amazing people. Then moved back to city environment, went through hospitality jobs as waiter and cook. I saved up some money and studied Early Childhood Education, which eventually got me citizenship here. Last year I left the job and worked as a short period contractor for government project (nothing too complicated, entry level clerk job). So I had no experience in IT / web development.

When I was in high school, I was bad at Math, really not good at all. I loved English, history, art etc instead. I remember adults saying that IT is for math people and mainly for boys. Hmm old days.

My Web development journey

I started web development at the beginning of 2020 while I was working full time in education. I took a Certificate IV Web-based technology course with an online education provider. To be honest, I didn't finish it. I enjoyed HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Web design (AdobeXD), Brand design part. Then I got stuck with Database project for almost 3 months. I finally finished the part, but I was exhausted. I cancelled the course and took a break from web development, seriously for about 6 months. Meanwhile I studied other course related to my full time job, but I started missing coding 😭 So at the same time I got the office job, I decided to go back to coding again. I started again with Udemy. Colt Steele's The Web Developer Bootcamp (https://www.udemy.com/course/the-web-developer-bootcamp/) is a great course and with very supportive facebook group. Since I joined the community, it wasn't lonely journey anymore 😊

Job search

Things got serious from here, I spent most of my free time coding, building projects, researching and watching tutorials. I managed to create my portfolio and a few other projects, practiced my skills with Frontend Mentor (https://www.frontendmentor.io/home). About four months ago I started looking at local jobs. It is interesting to see what sort of skills companies are looking for. I highly encourage you to research in early stage, so you know the job demands, levels etc in you own local areas. It sucks when most of the ads are asking for senior level skills or years of experience, computer science degrees etc. But don't be discouraged, there are a few junior/entry-level developer jobs. Also try keyword search "HTML CSS", "JavaScript". I realised there are jobs which require very basic coding skills especially for digital marketing, email marketing etc which are not exactly in IT categories.

I had LinkedIn and occasionally made posts but personally didn't use much. I found it a little awkward to save the search and jobs with it. (I wonder if it's different if I become a paid member.) But for sure, many tech people use it and it will become helpful!

So my learning journey was bumpy one, mixture of ups and downs! I listed up some courses and resources which helped me to go back into coding.

Courses I took

Additional resources which helped me

Portfolio

https://ytwebxdesign.com/

When I applied for jobs, I included the link to my portfolio page in my cover letter and resume. It's nothing fancy, very simple static website. Code is ugly because when i built this I didn't know anything about proper naming convention, Sass etc. Important thing for me was to have stories for each project I am showcasing. The workflow, the challenges/errors, proud moments, things you learned through the project... interviewer asked details on them. One of the portfolio tips I got is "don't take too much time on portfolio, even some professional web developers have very simple website". This made me decide not to redesign or recode my portfolio.

Resume

I heard someone saying that resume shouldn't be more than one page. But I made it two-page documents🤪 First page I wrote general information such as contact details, coding skills, qualifications, educations, work experience and the second page was full of my past project. I even listed my Frontend Mentor challenges, design documents (PDF so I attached the link to google docs) and Database project documentation. That course I didn't finish... l listed up the units I completed 😳 because it's true that I passed those even though I didn't finish the whole course.

Cover Letter

Unlike portfolio and resume, I changed details every time I apply for jobs. It is important to read job advertisement and know the requirements. Some advertisement ask you to answer a few questions so it's worth taking a little extra time, although some people say that recruiters don't read cover letters. (not sure if that's true)

Job interview preparation

I was lucky to have good 5-6 days preparing for this from the day the interviewer called me. I generally try to think each interview is a practice for next interview just to reduce my emotional stress and pressure. English is not my first language, so it was very important for me to practice.

(Just to clarify again, I didn't go through technical interview.)

Here are the things I did:

Job interview

I studied a lot about HTML CSS and some other technical questions but none of them was asked. It was mostly behavioural questions and a lot about my past projects. They were really friendly and I actually had fun talking about web development, because I don't usually talk about it with friends or anyone but people on facebook and twitter. Job interview is really like a first date 😂 Meet, talk, greet then wait for the reply... thinking "maybe I talked too much", "I hope I didn't say anything wrong", "I hope he(they) liked me"... waited for about 3-4 days, I was invited to next round.

Second interview was with company CEO, they said it's just "meet and greet" I didn't now what that was. I thought it was another serious interview. But apparently it means more like a casual talk with key person(people). Most of time I was asking questions in this round.

While I was waiting for the outcome for another two days, I had another interview and on the same day, I was offered the position. This job was in other city so it required me to relocate.

I ended up getting two offers, both about same salary with full training provided, but I decided to go with the first job. I felt that I fit better with the company and job role.

Thank you for reading this, I hope it helped someone going through the process. I just wanted to thank the community because that's where I learned the most. Being part of this supportive people really helped me to go through tough time.