Tips for securing your first developer job

March 28, 2023 | Employment, Industry

You’re now entering an exciting phase of your career - starting in tech! We’ve made a comprehensive list of suggestions that will help you secure new job opportunities, prepare for interviews, and impress your potential employer.

Read on for all our top tips!

Dev Academy grads and community attend an industry event

How to find developer jobs

There are several places to find your first developer job, including:

Job boards: Popular job sites like Seek, Trade Me Jobs, and LinkedIn are great places to start your job search for software developer jobs in New Zealand. Do Good Jobs is another job site that aligns values-focused people with roles that have purpose. You can filter by job title, location, and experience level to find jobs that match your skills and experience.

Summer of Tech: Connects employers with tech students and graduates for paid internships and graduate roles. They run events and training sessions that allow you to meet prospective employers, learn technical skills and prepare yourself for the recruitment process. 

Company career pages: Many companies have a dedicated careers page on their website where they post job openings. Check out the websites of companies you're interested in working for to see if they have any entry-level web developer or developer positions available.

Network: Attend local meetups and events related to the technology stack you are interested in. This will give you a chance to meet and network with other developers, which could lead to job opportunities.

Referrals and personal networks: Reach out to friends, family, and colleagues who work in the tech industry to see if they know of any entry-level developer positions available. Referrals can often lead to knowing about job opportunities that you may not have found elsewhere.

Social media: Follow tech companies on social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. These companies often post about job openings on their social media pages, and you can also connect with current employees to learn more about their experiences working there.

Group projects are part of the hands-on learning at Dev Academy

Tips for applying for and getting your first developer job interview

Build a strong portfolio: Gather together a collection of your best projects so you can demonstrate your skills you’ve already applied as a developer. Ensure your portfolio showcases your best work and is easy for a prospective employer to navigate and see how awesome your skills really are!

Practice coding challenges: Many companies use coding challenges during the recruitment process. Practicing coding challenges can help you become familiar with common coding problems and improve your on the spot problem-solving skills.

Contribute to open-source projects: This is a great way to focus on developing your skills especially when you’re starting out, creating your portfolio and gaining experience. It can also help you build a network and make connections with other developers.

Research potential employers: Research companies you are interested in working for to find out what tech stack they use, what their culture is like, and what kind of projects they work on. This will help you tailor your resume and cover letter to fit the company's needs and also help you to find companies that align with your personal values. 

Be prepared for interviews: Make sure you practice answering common interview questions and be prepared to talk about your portfolio and past projects. Be ready to showcase your problem-solving and communication skills.

Stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends: The tech industry is constantly evolving, so it's important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments. This also shows potential employers that you are passionate about your work and committed to improving your skills.

Put your best foot forward in the interview process

Research the company: Before your interview, make sure you research the company and its products or services. This will show your interest in them and also help you prepare better for the interview questions. Ensure you know their mission and values prior to the interview as this also demonstrates you’re interested in their holistic view and not just the space you’re hoping to work in there.

Prepare for technical questions: Brush up on your technical skills and be prepared to answer tech questions related to coding jobs. This could include questions about programming languages, algorithms, data structures, or other technical topics.

Review your resume … again: Make sure you review your resume and be prepared to answer questions about your past experience and projects. Also, be prepared to explain any gaps or inconsistencies in your resume.

Dress appropriately: Dress appropriately for the interview, even if the company has a casual dress code. This shows that you take the interview seriously and are professional.

Be on time: Make sure you arrive on time or a few minutes early for the interview as this shows that you respect the interviewer's time and are punctual. It also helps you observe the employees and how they interact with each other to get a small window into the vibe of the company.

Be confident … not bolshy: Show confidence in your skills and experience, but don't be arrogant. Show an openness to feedback and let them know you’re willing to learn.

Ask questions: Prepare a short list of questions to ask the interviewer about the company or the job. This shows that you are interested in the position and have done your research.

Follow up: After the interview, send a thank-you email to the interviewer. This shows your appreciation for the opportunity and your interest in the position. If you’re interviewing for a role through a recruiter, you can send them an email also letting them know how it went.

At the end of the Dev Academy training programme, we offer one-on-one support to find your first job. We offer help with CV writing, developing your personal brand, interview preparation, and what to expect from job seeking in tech. The careers sessions are recorded so graduates can review them when preparing for a big job interview.

Remember, a tech job interview is not just about your technical skills, but also about your communication skills and how you fit into the company culture. Good luck with your job search - you’ve got this!

Launch your tech career! 

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