Blog Reader

13 Dec

Finding, Landing & Negotiating Your First Dev Job — Pt. 1

This article’s purpose is to illustrate to you the experience of a strenuous application, interview and negotiation process for the junior software developer position I obtained recently. This is a detailed description of the experience but it is to the point and full of practical as well as applicable information. My goal is for you to understand the process and the persistence it takes to get a junior developer job. Step 1: I decided on what type of company in which I wanted to work. The company’s goals, mission and vision needed to be aligned with mine. For example, I wanted to work for a company where I could help spread the word of God. This helped me identify the company I would apply with when a position it came to me in a job alert. Step 2: I set up daily alerts for Junior developer positions in the cities in which I wanted to work. I did this on Indeed, Monster, Career builder, etc. There are numerous companies looking for junior developers so when I received an alert I would research the company to see if it was in alignment with step 1. Step 3: I used Glassdoor, Indeed, Google reviews and the company’s website to research the company’s values, mission, vision, benefits and culture to see if it was a fit for me. If the company and I were aligned, I applied for the position. I applied via the company website as well as on the job search websites. This sent my resume and application to the company in multiple ways. It also showed I was very interested in the position. Below are supplemental questions asked in the online application with my responses. Since the company and I were aligned I was easily able to provide my motivation and why I would be a good fit. Why did you decide to study software development? Software development is a great way to reach millions of people. It allows me to use creativity and technical skills which are some of my strengths. You can help change many peoples' lives with computer software and I would like to change their lives in a Godly and positive way. What was your favorite Computer Science course in school? My favorite was probably my most challenging course which was Python. This course really taught me how to be neat and organized with my code. It taught me how to use modules to my benefit. I had several "ah ha!" moments in this course and I feel I developed as a developer the most. What is the hardest project you worked on while in school? What role did you play in it? What was the outcome? I participated in a coding challenge at my school. I worked on a two-man team. It was in a sprint type of task. The task was to develop a webpage that allowed the user to encrypt and decrypt data typed into a text box on the webpage. We had a time constraint of one hour and had to work together to create a functioning website that had some style to it. Communication was key and we quickly divided up the project into our strengths. I took the style side of the webpage using HTML and CSS. We successfully created a functioning webpage that looked nice and ended up winning the challenge. What is your favorite programming language? Why? My favorite language is C# since its versatility can be used for a number of types of applications and web projects. Using it with .NET helps it become multi-platform compatible which allows me to make a variety of apps for a variety of operating systems. I like the fact that I can use ASP.NET with it to help create dynamic webpages as well as creating a nicely organized project file using Visual Studio. Visual Studio is the best IDE I have used and C# is easily accessible in Visual Studio. Step 4: After I sent in my applications I went to the company’s website to find an email address and phone number to the customer service department. I also searched for the HR department’s email but couldn’t find it. I used the format of the customer service’s email to blindly email the HR department. For example, I sent the email to as well as and The email I used is below. I considered this email my cover letter/follow up letter. Subject Line: Position Title on job post Hello, I hope you had a nice Christmas! I recently applied for the (job title) position at (company name) and wanted to follow up with you. Ever since I set a goal to become a software developer I wanted to use the skills as a means to reach people who were in need of God. I believe that the technology (company name) offers is a unique avenue to reach out to believers and non-believers. (Company name) is looking for someone like me who is a passionate developer without a lot of experience. I have worked in the IT world for almost 2 years and have learned several programming languages in the last 8 months while attending The Tech Academy. I love the team environment and can also work independently. I experience both in my current position. I currently work for a great insurance software company, however, (company name) offers a way to reach the public in a Godly way. When I saw this opportunity through (Company Name) I felt it was God connecting me with (company name) to use my talents, aspirations and skills to help advance His kingdom on earth. If there is any additional information you need please feel free to contact me by phone or email. I truly look forward to the opportunity to speak with you about the Junior Software Developer position and hope you have a blessed day! Thanks, Name Phone Number Email Address I also called customer service, told them I recently applied for this position and would like to speak to the hiring manager. They transferred me to HR’s voicemail. I left a message stating my name, contact information, the position I recently applied for as well as my motivation to work for the company. Step 5: I received an email from the HR department with a request to complete an online assessment. It was to “help us ensure that this position will fit your personality, attributes and strengths.” The assessment was multiple choice and the answers provided where: Strongly agree, Somewhat agree, Neutral, Somewhat disagree, Strongly disagree. Whatever I answered I made sure to answer the questions using the Strongly agree or Strongly disagree. This tactic shows you are able to confidently make a concrete decision. After I completed the assessment I called customer service again and asked to speak with HR to follow up on the next steps. They transferred me to HR’s voicemail. Again, I left a message telling them I completed the assessment, provided my name, contact information, the position as well as my excitement to work for the company. Step 6: I was then contacted by the Lead Developer of the company. He wanted to setup an in-person interview and for me to take an assessment at the company to make sure it was me completing the assessment. Below is my email to the Lead Developer: Hi (Lead developer’s name), I hope all is well. This is great news! Does sometime in the afternoon on Tuesday (date) work for you? I look forward to hearing from you. Have a blessed day. Thanks, My Name Phone Number Email Step 7: I met with the Lead developer. I first took the additional in-person assessment then was interviewed by the Lead developer. Some of the questions he asked are below: Why do you want this position? Why do you want to work for this company? What are 7-10 strengths? What are 5-7 weaknesses? Who was your favorite boss? Why? Who was your worst boss? Why? How would my last 5 bosses rate me on a scale from 1-10? In software development, is it better to be a jack of all trades or master of one?- I chose Jack of all trades which was what the lead developer agreed with. We had a good conversation. I asked him what were the next steps and he said he would like me to continue in the interview process. The next interview was a technical interview. We coordinated a time and date for the technical interview. Once I got home from this interview I sent him the following email: Hi (Lead developer’s name), It was nice meeting you today. Thanks for considering me for the Junior Developer position! I'm looking forward to the next step. If you need any additional info call, text or email me. Have a nice evening. Thanks, My Name Phone number Email Step 8: I wanted to know what to study for my technical interview so I sent the following email to the Lead developer: Hi (Lead developer’s name), Good morning! I'm looking forward to tomorrow's practical assignment and want to be as prepared as possible. Do you have any insight to the language(s) or what I will be doing that you would share with me? If not, I completely understand. I want to be able to display my skills as best as possible for you tomorrow so any info is much appreciated! Thanks for your time. Thanks, My Name Phone number Email He sent the following email: Corey, The practical will be building a web application using and C#. Thanks, Step 9: Practical Assignment/Technical Interview I was given a set of requirements that I was to use to create a web application that would provide a user a car insurance quote based on the personal information the user provided in the web app. The lead developer stated he didn’t expect me to complete all requirements and to do the best I could in the 1 hour 45 minutes allotted. Once time was up we would review the web app I created. I actually didn’t get the web app to display a quote but was able to show the lead developer my thought process, pseudo code, actual code and my intentions on completing the web app. I was able to come up with a car insurance quote formula that would divide the year of the car by the driver’s age. This allowed for the younger the driver the higher the quote. He asked me what would be my next steps so I explained that in a real life scenario I would first get the app to display the quote value. Second, I would like to gather more info from the user to provide a more accurate quote. All of this led to the lead developer telling me I passed and we would be moving on to the next step. We set up a day and time for the department manager, lead developer and I to meet. Step 10: I had a very in-depth interview with the department manager and lead developer. This was called a “top grading“ interview and consisted of situational and behavioral interview questions. Some of the interview questions are below: Tell us about a time you disagreed with a management decision. What was the most difficult course in school and why? What books did you use in your courses? Why are you looking for a job? What do you know about this company? Tell us about a time when you had to work with a team member to accomplish a task. Tell us about a time when you helped your team improve. What was your biggest career/academic accomplishment? There were additional questions as well. This interview lasted about 1.5 hours. They really wanted to know about my school and professional background as well as how I worked in a team. I asked them what the next steps were and they said if we decide to move on they will contact me. I didn’t have a good feeling after this interview because it seemed like they were on the fence about hiring me and wanted someone with a 4 year degree in Computer Science (I had a 4 year Business degree and a programming bootcamp education). After the interview I went home and sent the following email to both interviewers: (Names of both interviewers), I wanted to thank you again for your time and consideration for the Junior Web Developer position at (name of company). I know you stated you are going to take a deeper look at my resume so if there is additional information you need please feel free to contact me via phone or email. Since I couldn't remember the titles of the JavaScript books I used in school I looked them up and wanted to provide you with the titles and links: · Murach's JavaScript and jQuery · Thinking in JavaScript I look forward to hearing from you and hope you have a nice weekend! Thanks, My Name Phone number Email — Written by Corey D., The Tech Academy Graduate


  • Corey Mosher on 1/10/2018 said :
    Thanks for the advice/sharing your story Corey. You made a really good point by aligning your personal purpose to your job. I feel most people just do it for the benefit or the money. I was happy to hear you landed the job with the company that met your likemindedness. Hope to be in your shoes someday.
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