One Big Disadvantage Of Junior Software Developers

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What is the biggest disadvantage of a junior developer?

That every employer doesn’t like.

That every senior-level developer doesn’t have.

That often becomes the number one reason why junior developers are not invited to the interview.

What’s that?

Nobody wants you without work experience.

Picture this.

You open a job board website, enter the position you are looking for in the search bar, press enter, click on the first job advertisement, look through the job requirements, and find such line:

Looking for Junior developers with 1-2 years of experience

This is the moment when you face reality:

Nobody wants to hire a developer without real-world experience.

Yes, it seems illogical.

You are a young developer who has just graduated from university or finished a programming course, you feel ready to get real work experience, but companies don’t want to give it to you before you get it.

Why?

There are a bunch of reasons, but here are the main two:

  1. Junior developers need to be trained.

    After graduation or finishing the programming course, you won’t know what it is like to work in a real working environment with a typical workflow, you won't know how to work with technologies software companies use for their daily work, you won’t know how to communicate effectively with developers and people from other departments, you won't know thousands of things companies want you to know.

    And where to get it?

    Practical experience. Without it, companies need to spend time, money, and involve other developers to train you.

    It's costly.

  2. Junior developers are risky.

    What you have learned in college, university, boot camps, and programming courses are useful. Still, you didn’t try to fix an unpredictable bug that eats company money every minute until it gets fixed, you didn’t merge the wrong branch into master and crashed production server, you didn’t face a lot of tense situations that can harm a business.

    This is why companies are afraid to hire developers without real-world experience. It can be too risky for them.

And here we are.

You don’t have work experience.

You don’t know where to get it.

You don’t know what to do.

Solution?

Imitate it.

Imitate work experience.

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Imitate with side projects

If you have little or no work experience (that every company wants you to have), you could imitate it with side projects.

Generally, work experience shows recruiters that:

  • You can code.
  • You have worked in a team and know how to communicate effectively.
  • You can do things on your own.

Side projects show recruiters that:

  • You can code.
  • You can do things on your own.

2 of 3.

Not bad.

That’s why side projects kind of replace work experience in the eyes of recruiters.

What side projects should you build?

I suggest building:

  1. Projects that fit your position (backend, frontend, full-stack, etc.)
  2. Projects that fit your position and field (backend engineer working in the AI field, a fronted engineer in the eCommerce field, etc.)
  3. Crazy ideas from your head that you want to put into reality.

To find ideas for side projects, you can use google: "[YOUR POSITION] side projects ideas"

How difficult do the projects have to be?

It all depends on the job market and you.

If 10 candidates apply with a calculator application as a side project, you can stand out with something slightly difficult. But if 10 candidates apply with the YouTube clone application as a side project, at a minimum, you should build a YouTube clone too.

Don’t panic. From my experience, the average level of side projects (that I reviewed as the interviewer) is very low.

Here are some examples of “good” and “bad” projects ideas so you can understand what minimum difficulty level you need.

Example of “bad” side projects:

  • To-do list
  • Calculator
  • Hello world

Example of “good” side projects:

  • Chat application
  • Soundcloud like an audio player
  • Clone of any big website with basic functionality (login, admin panel, etc.)

How much side project should I build?

2-3 projects.

Where to list them?

You should add it to 2 places:

  1. Resume (to the “Projects” section).
  2. Github profile.

Talking about Github, I suggest publishing your side projects online if it’s possible.

Recruiters have other things to do besides pulling your project from Github and running it locally.

Save their time.

Deploy what you have built to a public domain.

In the end…

Thanks for reading!

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