yet another dev blog | by brian deutsch

Tips to help land a junior software developer job

Published May 31, 2021

I’ve been so fortunate to learn from and work alongside many talented people in my engineering career so far. I’ve also never forgotten the months grappling with a harsh and competitive job landscape after bootcamp. These programs don’t like to discuss how frustrating the search can be; instead glorifying the hiring rate of their graduates. Often times I’ve been asked, how does a recent bootcamp grad or self-taught developer land their first role? While there’s no formula, these concepts helped me to gain confidence as I navigated the post-bootcamp job hunt.


Bootcamps don’t usually discuss how frustrating and difficult the job search can be. Juggling applications, cover letters, sharpening skills, and building a portfolio all feels like a job itself. Rejection and ghosting are common and leave you feeling dejected. It can never be said enough: don’t give up, and don’t lose hope! Interviewing is a specific skill that requires practice and patience to develop. I walked out of General Assembly under the assumption I’d soon be living my dream, solving problems through code professionally. I had no idea what would lie ahead; months of rejection stoking my anxiety to the point where I needed a break. The job search experience is different for everyone. Take it easy on yourself! Be meticulous in your approach, and understand rejection is merely a part of the process. Every phone screen, practice algorithm, and lunch hour of studying is an opportunity that will eventually lead to your first role.

Solidify your Foundations

There’s a lot to know in the world of software development, and it moves quickly. You’ll never be able to know everything, and yet I’ve seen resumes packed with every hot tech buzzword out there. As a junior developer, it’s expected that you’ll learn on the job. Companies are looking for someone passionate, with an aptitude for learning and a solid, growing understanding of programming core concepts. Applying for front-end web dev positions? No one is going to care that you built a mobile to-do app using React Native. What might be more valuable is reinforcing your knowledge of core JavaScript concepts like scope, closure, promises, and the call stack (to name a few). Understanding the foundational pieces can make us more flexible as developers, and allow us to more easily adapt to new languages, frameworks, or techniques. Your interviewers will recognize and appreciate that.

Articulate your Technical Knowledge

In an interview you’ll likely do a deep dive into technology you’ve leveraged in a project or learned in bootcamp. I will always remember describing Active Record (an ORM for Ruby On Rails) as “uhh, a thing that works with the database” in an interview :facepalmemoji. I knew how to use the technology, but didn’t know how to articulate that knowledge. This specifically takes practice to improve. Have a classmate, friend, or loved one ask mock interview questions describing a technology. No one around? Describe to the mirror why Node was a good backend for your project, or talk to the cat about React lifecycle methods. You (or your cat) might think you sound crazy - but the more you hear yourself articulating your knowledge, the more comfortable you’ll begin to feel and sound.

Use networking to your advantage

Just applied to a junior developer position that you feel is a great fit? Use LinkedIn to search for engineers at that company in a similar position. Send an introductory message and ask for a few minutes of their time to discuss the position and company culture. Though many messages go unnoticed, there are folks who will deeply understand the struggle job searchers face. To this day I keep up with several bootcampers who messaged me on LinkedIn, one of whom is now a colleague. At the very least you’ll create a lasting connection - and in some cases you may even end up with a referral.