Landing your first dev job without a Computer Science degree seems like an overwhelming task. But it doesn’t have to be with the right attitude and the push to succeed. In an article, How to Land Your First Dev Job (even if You Don’t have a CS Degree), the author provides many tips and suggestions for a job seeker to break through the competition.
After reading the article, there were a few key tips that stuck out to me the most.
Build A Portfolio To Impress
Your portfolio should reflect what your career goals are. Fill it with projects that showcase your abilities and strengths. Do you have projects that integrate with other tools? Were you able to solve a complicated coding problem? Can you collaborate effectively with other developers? Did you develop a program that others can use?
Regardless if your focus is on back-end design, a well-organized website is your online business card to the professional world. Blogging about things that you have learned and has strengthened you as a developer is a great idea. What challenges have you experienced in your work and how did you solve them? Also, GitHub is an incredibly important tool to showcase your coding skills and should be linked on your website.
Networking can provide any job seeker in most fields an abundant source of information and knowledge. Join Meetup to learn about groups in your area that have like-minded interests in your field. You never know who you are going to meet that could eventually lead you to your next job. Not only can networking provide you with professional contacts but it can also keep you in the loop of new trends in your field as well as having a great group to brainstorm new ideas with that will make you more valuable to your prospective employer.
Networking opportunities are a common topic in my group discussions with fellow web design students. It is an important tool to help you grow as a professional, regardless of what your programming focus is. In the words of a fellow student, “You may find a job, internship or mentor. Never turn down a chance to network.”
Learn How to Present Yourself Professionally
Your impressive portfolio and your networking contacts may have landed you an interview, now what? It’s important that you can convey to your interviewer that even though you might not have a computer science degree, you’re still the right one for the job. Research how to prepare for a technical or whiteboard interview. Ask your networking friends for feedback or mock interviews. Know your strengths and weaknesses and be confident in your abilities.
Present yourself as a solver. You don’t need a computer science degree to learn how to be proactive. Even if you don’t have a specific skill that the position you are applying for requires, be proactive to have a basic understanding of the concept and be prepared to give examples on how you can troubleshoot issues. Show that you are willing to learn and that you have a good foundation of basic IT principals.