How Can You Prepare for Your First Programming Job?

Some know-how (and a coding portfolio) would be needed in order to land a programming job in the first place. Some companies have tough interviews, others are bearable — but all of them have a minimum bar you need to pass.

The first couple of years are rough. I’ve explained the employer’s perspective in Mario Peshev’s answer to How do companies expect someone to get 2 years of experience as a junior developer if almost all vacancies are for people with 2 years of experience?

You definitely need the basics covered, and that often includes some grinding outside of your traditional CS curriculum (think of pet projects or other coding challenges).

Also, your job will teach you a lot once you start. Whatever you work during the first 2–3 years, there’s plenty to learn.

Even the most boring, repetitive, basic jobs in companies I’ve ever seen have been educational while nurturing beginners during the first year or two.

And even the most incredible job out there won’t teach you everything.

It’s a matter of continuous learning, experimenting, keeping in touch with the software engineering ecosystem.

I’ve heard beginners counter me with the Catch-22 dilemma:

“How to gain the skill set before landing my job anyway?”

So I shared some nuggets of wisdom in a YouTube video in my series for juniors:

Bottom line: Try with internships, bet on pet projects, and other forms of a coding portfolio. Some do well with competitive programming though it works for certain companies.

 Get as ready as possible for your job, and keep hustling after

Once you’re in, I have some tips for moving further – How To Become A Better Programmer On The Job

It’s a never-ending process when it comes to the evolution of software engineering.