Pet projects, course projects, community projects, and internships. Engaging in or working on these activities can definitely help you land your first job—and, even entry-level positions at your dream company.
A pet project is something you’re passionate about. You start small and keep building on top.
Working on a pet project teaches you new skills and improves your problem-solving aptitude. What differentiates tutorials and basic courses from real apps is hitting edge cases and building a more complex application than a generic login form or a CRUD dashboard that doesn’t validate data properly.
Course projects and community projects are about teamwork. Oftentimes, documentation is as well. Most people figure out that version control is needed in some capacity and hit real-case scenarios of overriding code, merge requests, missing bits, and pieces, and improper testing.
Internships teach how “work” works. Sticking to business hours. Office collaboration. Teammates slapping you on the hand for implementing changes without thinking about context. Studying the importance of context and business results in seeing the grand scheme of things. Understanding work at scale.
Going to meetups, conferences, and seminars helps you meet people who work in tech. These events are full of chances to learn and make connections. You’ll meet experts and others who love tech. Participating in talks and discussions at these events also helps you learn about new tech trends and shows others you’re interested and knowledgeable.
Online networking is just as important. Joining IT forums and online communities keeps you up-to-date with tech news. In these online groups, you can ask for advice, help others, and talk about your own tech experiences. This helps you build a good online reputation in the tech world.
Networking is about making real connections, not just collecting contacts. It’s about finding people who can help you grow in your career, offer advice, and open new opportunities. Be open to meeting new people and sharing your ideas and knowledge. This can help you in your IT career.
These are skills that can be very valuable to your prospective company, but you cannot easily learn these skills unless you gain sufficient relevant experience somewhere.
All of those bring bonus points, and usually, a way to cross-check references (via a coding portfolio and/or mentors to talk to.)
Which of these options have you already worked on? How was the experience?
Do you feel the need for more experience? Share with us what is holding you back. Feel free to contact us with your questions!