It is no secret that applying for a job can be nerve wracking. Even for people who have the best backgrounds for job listings, such as a great education, long years of work experience, volunteer work etc. In the programming world, jobs are growing 50% faster than the overall market. Most people think that with the competitiveness of programming jobs, one must have a degree to get a programming job. Well, we would like to debunk that myth and let you know that it is very possible to get a job being a self-taught programmer. Here are some tips and tools on landing the job you deserve without a degree.
Gauge your skill set and how much you know and apply to jobs that match your skill set. You should be prepared to defend what you put on your resume. In other words, you should be able to prove that you know what you say you know. Since self taught programmers don’t have a transcripts for the courses they’ve taken, you should be able to explain how and why you’ve created things as a self taught programmer.
Learn a programming language
The first step to learn programming is to learn the language. There are several resources available that teach programming language, such as books, webinars, and podcasts. You can figure out what kind of language you will like to learn by narrowing it down to interest and career goals. Python is usually recommended for someone new to programming since it is easy to read like the English language.
Be open to work as a freelancer
There are several websites that offer freelance work for programmers. Usually companies are more prepared to take the risk of employing someone with little to no experience and no degree when they are independent contractors for the company. Websites such as Upwork and Freelancer have several projects that pay a salary from $25 to $10,000 per project. With each completed project you have the unique opportunity to work your way up to better paying projects whilst building your work experience.
Build a portfolio
You will need to prove you know what you know and the best way to do this is to build a portfolio. This goes beyond a resume to display your experience. Having a portfolio gives you opportunity to show of your work, talk about your skills, highlight your accomplishments and give past clients the opportunity to leave testimonials on your website. You can build a portfolio by starting a blog or creating a website which lists your skills and training. Add all the exciting projects you have worked on and showcase your accomplishments on your personal blog or website. This is an opportunity to shine brightly using your platform. Sometimes employers may also want access your skills at coding. Having a public code can give them the opportunity to do this. Your skills will become more evident and this will evidently give the employer more confidence to hire you.
Even though networking can be sometimes intimidating, you will need to go out of your comfort zone and be open to helping and connecting with other people in order to land your next programming role. Build your professional platform, create relationships and connect with other people. This could be people from your own network, from previous jobs, and schools or new people you have never met. Everyone you meet can help you land your next role as a programmer. Each connection is valuable in your job search. Networking is key to landing your next role. After all, about 85% of open positions are filled through networking.
Train some more
As you network, you will realize that you may need some skills that you may be lacking for the programming market. Knowing the skills that you don’t have gives you advantage because you can always go back to learn them. Don’t stop training and don’t stop learning. Stay current with the new skills in the programming market.
Master your technical skills
As part of your interview, employers would like to assess your technical skills. This is another opportunity to showcase your skills. One way to prepare for the technical skills assessment is read books on programming and time yourself when doing projects. As a programmer, you have an unlimited amount of time to work on your projects. During the interview however, you are timed, because the employer would like to know how you work under pressure. So practice how to work well, when you are timed and under pressure.
Don’t be shy to sell yourself. Identify your strengths and talk about them. Also mention some of your weaknesses and mistakes you made in the past, and how learning from those mistakes have made you a better programmer. When you get the opportunity to be invited for an interview, you have to look the part. Dress professionally in clean and appropriate attire. Your body language, such as you hand gestures, eye contact, tone of voice and posture reinforce what you’re selling. Develop an elevator pitch and prepare meaningful anecdotes for conversation. Do your research about the company. Find out which technologies they are currently using and how you can help him. Everything counts! Your interview starts from the moment your interviewer sees you, from the moment you walk into the interview room, whether it is in person or via web cam. Also don’t forget to ask questions. Ask unique and memorable questions that will help distinguish you from other candidates.
Landing a programming role without a degree is easier than you think. Work hard, believe in yourself, polish your skills, create your website and portfolio and get out there! You’ve got what it takes to land your dream job as a programmer