I have hired 100 developers and can tell you how to look attractive to tech employers

By Adam Temple

TLDR; Find your motivation, learn at https://codecademy.com, make a sample project and post it at Github, send out your CV, get hired on Upwork, join a meetup.

I don’t really know the number actually, but it’s darn near 100 if not over. Here’s how to become a developer and get hired, from my perspective.

Switching to a tech career is fun move. It’s a popular thing to consider right now because it has been immune to layoffs during the lockdown. Do remember, it’s highly dependent on the internet working. In our office we simply throw our hands up and kick the soccer ball around until the internet comes back on. As long as it’s working, you can work, so let’s jump in.

First you have to find your inner geek. You might be motivated to do the work just for the money, but that’s a recipe for sadness. Being at the computer all day can be is depressing if you don’t love problem solving.

Assuming you have found your muse, you need to start your unending education. Really, this is the primary skill you must have. You must enjoy learning. I will give you a place to start though! Head to Codecademy.com. It’s a great place to learn Python, Javascript and other languages. If you want to take a risk on a new promising tech, consider https://flutter.dev (Flutter) too!

Actually, one moment. You could also try to find a real coding academy. They often have a high rate of job placement. However, I don’t emphasize that direction because most of my hires didn’t come from short term code schools. Those people are often too green and not ready for the professional demands of programming. If you weren’t a geek before you went in, you won’t magically turn into one.

Back to the goods.

I am pointing you towards web and mobile development because that’s my background. Any development platforms are available to you though. The direction I am pointing you at is full of free tools, so only your time is required to start. You can do some digging into Upwork and other rent-a-coder style sites to find out what technology is the most in demand from people willing to hiring you immediately.

After a few months of learning, you should have taken the humble pill at this point and realized it will take you many moons before you are close to passable as a junior developer. For web tech alone you will likely need to know HTML, Javascript, Python, SQL, and some frameworks. It all depends on the job! Speaking of jobs, let’s make you attractive to those people hiring!

You will need to have a resume that includes code. The CV can be one page, but the code needs to be linked from it. Meaning, go create a sample project in your chosen language and post it at GitHub.com. You must have good code quality, which means it must be efficient to run and easy to read and well architected. That only comes through experience and education. You can start ready other people’s code on Github or watch live coding streams on Twitch/Youtube to gain more architectural insight.

After your code is posted and you have sent your resume out to a few places, get professional experience. Don’t wait around for a great job, grab tiny crappy one! Create a profile on https://upwork.com, a marketplace for people renting coder talent, and take really cheap gigs. Like work all day for a $15 script cheap. You will learn so much! As your skill grows, you can start taking better paying gigs.

Are you getting a taste for the proactive nature of this path? You must enjoy working very hard, by yourself, for a very long time. I don’t know a great programmer who hasn’t taken that path.

You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room. Dr. Seuss

Next, join your local tech meetup. Even if it’s not in the technology you are learning, go and act interested. You might find a great network and want to switch technologies. Those meetups are usually sponsored by people that want to hire you and they are full of junk food and drinks.

Keep sending out your every improving resume to companies hiring that interest you. Write a caring cover letter and do follow up calls with people hiring.

While starting this adventure, be free, be loose. Learn slowly, take breaks and go outside for exercise.