In the Absence of Opportunity, Create Your Own

 

Entry-level/Junior coders are everywhere right now. They are so easy to find that companies hiring then barely even need to advertise their openings. An entry-level opening can get 200, 300 applicants in the first week alone.

And that creates an impossible challenge for any junior coder right now: They're applying to 500+ places and often getting no response.

If this sounds familiar, keep in mind that everyone started there. Arguably, the situation has only become more challenging as the market has become more saturated - but I think the same fundamentals still hold: The beauty of working in Technology is that, in the absence of opportunity, you can easily create your own.

Looking at my old resume - I realized: when I was getting started, my resume was empty - I had no professional experience. But within 1 month, I'd had one small gig that got me the next gig which got me the next. Whenever I'd get rejected, I'd find the reason ("You don't know SQL...") and give myself a project so I could build that skill. Otherwise, I'd turn to Craigslist or my personal network and offer the same refrain: "I may not be the expert, but I'm hear to learn. I'm gaining experience not pay - and I'm driven to get this done and done well, because my career depends on it."

If I sound at all as if I'm bragging, I don't meant to be: If I've been successful at any one thing in my career, it's simply been to look for how to provide myself the opportunity others weren't giving me. I still do it to this day: In 2017 I learned about PMP, Agile PMP and formalized my understanding of Scrum and Kanban by giving myself specific projects that helped me understand the fundamentals. In 2018, I did the same with DevOps. In 2019, it was with Product Management. 2020 it was around Finance and understanding accounting and balance sheets. 2021 was more about developing Visions and Strategies - and on the story goes.

If you're struggling to land that first role right now, don't stop applying - but make sure you're equally investing time in covering gaps in knowledge, and giving yourself opportunities to build the very experience that's keeping you from getting hired.

This is my original resume - because we all got started somewhere. ❤



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