Finding your first job as a Web Developer

Whether you are a graduate, an experienced developer or someone willing to change careers, finding your first job in Australia will always represent a challenge.

Software developers, web developers and IT mayors in general have a big advantage over accounting graduates and professionals in many other fields. The advantage is that programming is actually a scarce and required skill. Therefore, the market is hungry for good Information Technology professionals.

However, like any other professional area, the competition is strong and if you really want to get a job, you have to beat the competition and show the employers that you deserve it. A sensible first step would be putting together an online portfolio of the products you have created and are able to code. This professional portfolio can consist of the static websites produced as assignments during your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, also any web application you have created while studying, or a summary of personal projects can be very useful to mention.

For a web developer the minimum requirement in order to be called for a job interview would be having a live website. This site would have your resume, your products (apps, sites and projects) and a decent and modern presentation (flat design and the site should be responsive!). The code behind it should display the effort you applied in learning HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ajax, form validations in PHP or any other language you claim to master in your resume. This online resume will grant you many more interviews than spamming job applications on Seek and attaching a Word or PDF resume to them.

At Career of the Day, we receive applications from many web developers and IT mayors every week that are seeking for their first professional job experience in Australia. Most of them hold tertiary qualifications and good grades. What most of them lack is a good resume that tells potential employers that not only they worked hard to get a professional degree but they are willing to go the extra mile to show that they can charge money in exchange for their skills and become a valuable asset for a company.

We usually recommend building this web development portfolio and getting creative in the use of languages / frameworks / stacks that show how current their technology knowledge is and the passion for keeping up to date to the latest trends in the field.

We also recommend minimising the use of cliché phrases that bring problems during real life interviews. If the resume for example says: “Full stack web developer”, the interviewer (if technical) will understand that you know how to create a reasonably normalised relational model, complete with foreign keys, indexes, views, lookup tables, etc. If you feel that you would hesitate under questions like: “explain triggers” then please remove full stack web developer and add: experience in SQL or MySQL and set the current ability to beginner. Or even better go back to your books or any online tutorial and refresh your knowledge.

In short, web developers have unlimited opportunities to display their skills and knowledge, way beyond a simple piece of paper that enumerates the programming languages they have heard about. Web developers can create real life products and software solutions with little or no financial resources, with only dedication and effort, which is an indisputable advantage over accountants, engineers and any other discipline. So please, sit down and develop an idea, get a domain name, a hosting provider (you can use your home computer as server) and built a product that would be the seed to start your first job in Australia or even your own company.

Here are a couple of brilliant front end developer portfolios for inspiration:

I’ll finish with a quote by Paul Graham:

“Always produce” is also a heuristic for finding the work you love. If you subject yourself to that constraint, it will automatically push you away from things you think you’re supposed to work on, toward things you actually like. “Always produce” will discover your life’s work the way water, with the aid of gravity, finds the hole in your roof.