Landing your first front-end developer job

You're getting ready to start applying for your first front-end developer position but aren't sure what to expect when it comes to the application process? Read on for tips on how to best prepare and present yourself.

  1. Get a sense of the job market by looking at job ads.
    • Almost all job ads are written by HR personnel whose technical understanding often revolves around framework names and buzzwords. As a result, you may come across a job ad that doesn't make sense, like being required to know Java for a front-end developer position. Don't be dissuaded from applying to such jobs because of mistyped job ads.
    • Job ads are often written specifying requirements for an ideal candidate. Rarely ever is anyone a perfect candidate so feel free to apply to jobs for which you don't satisfy all requirements, but also don't hide that fact.
  2. Update your resume with course projects and personal projects from Steps to becomming a professional front-end developer.
  3. Get familiar with the job application process. There's a slight difference between the hiring process for developers in Serbia, where I'm currently working, and the United States. Below are the typical application steps I see in Serbia. For a more U.S. perspective check out this article as well.
    • Submitting your resume. I recommend using Joel Spolsky's tips and these guidelines to prepare your resume. Feel free to use this resume template I created as a starting point. You should send a personal note alongside the resume expressing your enthusiasm for front-end development. Check out Bill Mei's write-up of how he got his dream coding job for inspiration.
    • A personal interview, during which you talk about yourself. You should prepare answers to these common interview questions to ease the interview anxiety. And if you want to ace this interview, ask a friend to mock interview you using these questions.
    • A technical interview, during which most companies ask technical trivia and/or ask you to implement algorithms, despite the fact that answering these kinds of questions has surprisingly little to do with being a good programmer. Unfortunately, this has become an industry standard and most people end up spending a lot of time practicing how to answer common algorithm questions. I think that time would be better spent building your own projects. I've never specifically prepared for technical interviews. Instead, I reviewed my Anki cards daily and this is what I recommend others try as well. I also recommend you check out Interview Cake's advice on how to get better at technical interviews without practicing.
    • A take-home assignment, which is usually a small application that you're asked to write at home. Make sure to request the assignment only when you have the time to work on it.
    • Salary negotiation. Little has changed since 2012 when Patrick McKenzie wrote this article on salary negotiations.

Good luck! Hit me up at [email protected] if you have questions.

Updated 2 March, 2019