Landing a job in tech: 11 tips from our grads

CodeClan graduates standing outside CodeClan Edinburgh

Hundreds of CodeClan alumni have already launched new careers in tech. How did they get started? What helped their process, and what mistakes can be avoided? Read their tips about applying for jobs, interviewing, and what to expect when starting a new tech role.

1. Job hunting

Shortlisting

“When you’re looking for a job in tech, the shotgun approach of sending applications to every company in the hope that one bites doesn’t work so well in my experience. Researching and shortlisting a few companies you really like and tailoring your approach to each one will probably get you better results, and if nothing else, more specific rejection feedback.”

Make yourself a schedule

“Practise coding in the morning, send off a few job applications in the afternoon, go for a walk and then watch Netflix in the evening. The job hunt can feel like it’s lasting forever if you don’t allow yourself time off to see friends and do other things.”

2. Making the interview work for you

Always stay positive

“Keep in mind that you can end up going through some terrible interviews – the process is not always great. If you leave an interview feeling negative, don’t worry. You don’t have to work for a company you don’t like and most of all you don’t want to work for people like that. Take that interview as good experience, getting into the habit of going for interviews and move on.”

No ranting!

“I’ve had to interview several people who came from bad previous jobs and spent a lot of time ranting about the terrible conditions they had to put up with. If you left because of bad reasons, just say you felt you had reached your peak or wanted to explore alternatives.”

You’re interviewing them too

“The advice that ‘you’re interviewing the company as much as they’re interviewing you’ cannot be overstated. Look for those red flags and take them seriously.”

Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know

“Focus on the extra things you bring to the table that University grads do not, soft skills being a key one. Being keen to learn outweighs ability at that point, and anywhere that would look down its nose at you for not knowing certain things coming out of the course is not somewhere you are likely to flourish anyway.”

Leverage all of your skills

“It depends what you did before CodeClan, but most people have a good few years of work experience behind them. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it isn’t valuable when applying for dev jobs because it is.”

Take the initiative

“Don’t put off reaching out to a company that doesn’t have a vacancy advertised. Just drop them a quick message and explain you’re an awesome career changer and you want to test the waters for opportunities. You never know, your correspondence and CV might make them reconsider!”

3. Starting on the right foot

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

“Once you’re in a job, realise that it’s normal, even for very senior devs, to take several days to have your computer set up and then a couple of weeks or more to be contributing anything productive! Nobody will think you’re rubbish if it takes a little while to get used to the tools, processes, codebase, etc.”

Your first job doesn’t have to be the perfect one

“If you realise it’s not, figure out what you want to gain from your first job and find job postings that fit that criteria. Cover letters get easier (and significantly better) the more honest you make them.”

Get the experience you need

“Try and be a bit canny about what you want to get out of those first, potentially imperfect jobs. If you have an idea of where you want the general direction of your career to go, then try and identify the things about your current job that will help you down that path. Be pretty ruthless about getting experience with those things.”

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The comments in this article were originally posted on a closed community forum and have been anonymised to maintain privacy.

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