Apply to that tech Job (Don't wait till you learn it all)
This Article aims to encourage self taught, early career techies to overcome their fears and apply for jobs, because that is really the best way to grow in my opinion.
This article aims to help provide some clarity and encouragement to early-career software engineers to apply for jobs and practice what they've been dreaming about. Most people who learn software engineering, especially self-taught ones, find it difficult to know the right time to apply for a job or even an internship because there are many things to learn or they lack confidence in their skills.
The advice that is given in this article is based on personal experience and might not work for everyone, but I guarantee that every beginner reading this will become more confident in their skills no matter the tech stack they use. Also, this article is helpful for software engineers, data scientists, and even cloud practitioners.
Start calling yourself a software engineer.
The first step to becoming mentally prepared to start applying for jobs is to start referring to yourself as a software engineer or front-end developer, depending on what area of tech you belong to. I recall that I used to find it awkward to refer to myself as a software engineer. It wasn't until I began to feel at ease using the term that I truly felt like I belonged in the tech industry. Many people make the mistake of always referring to themselves as aspiring developers without knowing that this statement only makes them feel too comfortable in the learning phase that they don't think of making a move to the professional phase of their career.
Make sure your resume is consistently updated.
I can remember letting different job applications pass me by simply because my resume wasn't updated. The moment I updated my resume to accurately depict my skill level, I noticed that I became more confident in sending applications to jobs without even worrying if I would get the job. Since applying for jobs is one of the most popular ways to find employment, having an updated resume will undoubtedly increase your chances of getting hired.
Join an active tech community
The value of becoming a member of a tech community cannot be overstated. One can join a variety of tech communities, including WhatsApp groups, Slack channels, and tech Twitter. Joining an appropriate community is essential if you want to have access to more experienced developers and have people to look up to or ask questions about when you run into problems. Additionally, you hear about the achievements of your peers who have been hired, which may inspire you to start applying yourself. When you hear about other people's success, it's important to remember not to feel envious or put yourself under undue pressure; instead, choose inspiration and use it to fuel your own journey.
Be open to working for local companies.
While it is always possible to work for big tech companies, we must understand that it is much more difficult to get in. Therefore, my advice is to apply to tech companies in your region so that you can start getting professional experience as soon as possible. This way, you can work towards getting into your dream FAANG company in the future. Being mentally prepared to apply to a local company may not be as difficult as doing so for a foreign one, so the fastest way of getting job experience is by working with companies around you.
Be open to learning tech stack.
To be clear, I'm not suggesting that you switch between programming languages or tech stacks on a regular basis; rather, what I'm essentially saying is that you shouldn't be too rigid when it comes to choosing the technology to learn. For instance, I've always loved React and had even started taking React courses, but when I applied for an internship, the company was using Angular, so I decided to switch from React to Angular, which is how I got my start in technology and during which I also fell in love with Angular. As a result, I would advise you to be flexible when it comes to learning a tech stack but to exercise caution by refraining from jumping from one stack to another needlessly.
Read job descriptions.
To focus your learning on a specific goal, try to read job descriptions as often as you can to become familiar with the buzzwords used in your particular field of technology. There is always a catch, and this time it is that most job descriptions list more skills than are typically required and you must be careful not to become overwhelmed.
Algorithms and data structures
Most companies hire talent by passing them through various levels of coding challenges, and knowledge of algorithms and data structures is very helpful in solving these challenges. Therefore, I recommend taking some algorithm courses and getting your hands dirty by practicing on various platforms like Leetcode and Coderbyte. This is a crucial area that is typically intimidating for many beginners because they find it difficult to apply it to real-life projects.
In conclusion, there are numerous other ways to develop the confidence to apply for tech roles, such as going to tech meetups and building projects in public to gain visibility. However, as I stated at the beginning of this article, this was only my personal experience.
In my opinion, working on real-world projects is the best way to improve one's skills, so this post is not intended to be taken as gospel truth; rather, it is intended to encourage beginners to start applying for jobs.
Finally, if you still don't agree with my blog post and you refuse to apply, just note that even when you get that job, you'll still have to learn to remain on that job, so why not apply now and continue learning on the job? What else do you have to lose by applying? A rejection? You had better start getting used to it because rejection is also part of the process. 🙏
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Odinaka is a dedicated and pragmatic software developer with a goal to create top-notch products and have a positive impact on my surrounding environment at the same time.