How to Get a Job Offer as a Junior Developer
Embarking on a career in IT can be daunting for beginners who lack hands-on experience. However, securing your dream job is entirely possible with proper interview preparation. In this article, QA Automation Lead Serhii Mohylevskyi and Lead Software Engineer Yevhen Bodnia share insights for juniors on how to get a job offer at NIX as a junior.
Skillset As a Junior Developer
Contrary to popular belief, your theoretical knowledge plays a crucial role in the evaluation process for junior-level positions. While practical skills are essential, overlooking the significance of theory can hinder your job search. Dedicating around 20% of your focus to theory in your chosen field is sufficient for juniors. However, you’ll likely be asked to showcase 100% of your theoretical understanding during interviews.
Serhii Mohylevskyi advises, “The initial months in your role will involve routine tasks such as writing checklists, identifying bugs, and participating in project meetings. To navigate this, you must grasp the fundamental approaches to testing and development and the principles of test documentation. During interviews, expect questions about testing strategies and various development methodologies, even if you won’t choose them independently initially.”
Building a successful career in IT requires an ongoing commitment to learning. Assess your knowledge level by searching for “Interview questions for testers/developers” online. It will reveal the essential areas you must focus on to stay ahead in your field.
English Language Proficiency
Ideally, you should learn English (Intermediate and above) first and then send out your resume, especially if you are considering outsourcing IT companies. Reading technical and project documentation demands an understanding of specialized terms. Without language skills, your career prospects are limited. While securing an offer without English proficiency might be possible, intensive language study significantly enhances your chances.
Yevhen Bodnia recommends, “Candidates without IT experience should focus on learning technical terms. I took The Pronunciation of American English course from the University of California to bolster my confidence in speaking English, especially with native speakers.”
Serhii Mohylevskyi: Preparing for English-language interviews is crucial to increase your chances of success. Practice articulating your thoughts about your skills and experiences. It’s a common practice for candidates to initiate a conversation on a topic of their choosing. This can range from travel and sports to environmental issues or education. Watch English-language videos before the interview to make expressing your thoughts easier. This way, you’ll remember relevant phrases and expressions after viewing them.”
Several platforms offer resources to help you improve your English language skills:
- Coursera. Courses from the world’s top universities.
- Udemy. Courses from specialists at affordable prices (from about $15) or free of charge.
- Promova. A mobile application that is available on iOS and Android.
Enhance your listening skills by tuning into English-language podcasts:
- Learn English with Bob the Canadian
- Learn English with Papa Teach Me
- Learn English With TV Series
- Instant English
- POC English
- Speak English With Vanessa
Challenges During Job Search
1. Handling Rejections. Experiencing rejection from multiple companies can be disheartening, but it’s crucial not to lose hope. Keep preparing and send your resume to where you would like to gain experience.
Yevhen Bodnia emphasizes that each unsuccessful interview provides valuable experience, highlighting areas for improvement. Beginners often make common mistakes like lacking knowledge about the company or failing to ask relevant questions. Being unprepared can be a red flag for recruiters.
Yevhen Bodnia: “Don’t give up. Learn from each failure, understand typical recruiter questions, and be better prepared for the next interview. Avoid mistakes such as not researching the company, failing to ask questions, and not understanding salary expectations or the reason for your interest in IT.”
2. Honesty on Resumes. Avoid “inflating” your resume by claiming skills you don’t possess. Don’t copy the skills of other professionals from templates you find on the Internet. If you don’t know any technologies, don’t mention them.
Serhii Mohylevskyi: “When I see knowledge of 3-4 programming languages in a beginner’s resume, I immediately realize that the person does not know all of them. It is logical. Otherwise, it is difficult to gain this knowledge without experience. You don’t need to add anything extra to your resume so that high expectations don’t play against you.
For beginners, 1-2 programming languages, such as Python and Java, are enough. Then, you can take on almost any other. Learning will take less time because most languages are created using the same pattern.”
3. Maintaining Sincerity. Impersonating qualifications, hobbies, or experiences on your resume is a common mistake. It is important to be honest, as any insincerity can be quickly uncovered during an interview. Fabricating details may erode your credibility, so being genuine about your skills and experiences is essential.
4. Effective Self-Presentation. Being able to articulate your skills and passions is crucial. Practice talking about yourself, listing professional skills, and discussing hobbies. Your interests outside of IT demonstrate a well-rounded personality and an ongoing commitment to learning. If you’re unsure whether to discuss your passion for snowboarding, dancing, cooking, or boxing, go for it 🙂 It will give the recruiter an understanding that you can balance work and personal time because you have hobbies outside of IT.
Yevhen Bodnia adds, “IT people work in teams to achieve a common result. That’s why pay attention to your communication and expression skills during interviews. Your tone, gestures, and even attire matter. While IT doesn’t demand formal business attire, a casual approach should still be professional.”
6. Navigating Job Requirements. Job postings often exaggerate requirements. Don’t expect a 100% match. If you don’t meet every criterion, don’t be discouraged. Discuss discrepancies during interviews and emphasize your strengths, such as certifications, for testers such as ISTQB, language fluency, or a portfolio. Don’t interpret job requirements literally; focus on showcasing your skills and strengths.
A Portfolio Will Increase Your Chances of Success.
Possessing a portfolio enhances your likelihood of success in the competitive IT job market. A sample of your code is a tangible representation of your programming skills and offers insight into your coding style. How you structure code—using spaces, skipping lines, or aligning to coding conventions—impacts its readability and overall quality. Leveraging your technical skills during the interview process, particularly the technical stage, allows for a more comprehensive evaluation of your abilities as an IT specialist.
Developers can practice writing code by solving problems on the following resources:
- LeetCode and Codewars. Here, you can choose a programming language and the level of complexity of the tasks; you can compare your results with the answers of other community members.
- freeCodeCamp. This learning platform contains courses for IT professionals. There are many programming tasks.
Testers can choose the lowest level of difficulty and complete the same tasks.
Yevhen Bodnia: “Take on a pet project you invented to enhance your skills. This could be a website, mobile app, chatbot, game, or blog. Creating a To-do list application is practical for beginners, incorporating features like filters, comments, or pinned entries. Completing courses with final projects allows you to showcase your knowledge. This is a great combination: “brush up” on your knowledge, add a certificate (if you have one) to your resume, and add the project to your portfolio.
At my first interviews, I showed my graduation project and several works I did at the university. These were a social media platform for marketing professionals, a pizzeria website, and an online furniture store.”
Serhii Mohylevskyi: “Testers must include test documentation in their portfolio, such as a self-created test plan. While examples are available online, originality is crucial, as experienced specialists will review your work. Having a pet project showcases motivation and problem-solving skills, demonstrating your ability to set tasks and solve them—qualities vital in the workplace.
When I started my career as an Automation QA and learned programming, I created a website with my girlfriend’s (now wife’s) favorite music. Nine years ago, it was relevant. However, the relevance of your project’s topic is not a prerequisite. Do what you like. Then, you will have more desire to work on the task and be motivated to improve the result. Are you interested in cars? Create a resource that conveniently collects information and photos of your favorite models. And then approach this product from the point of view of a tester, namely: check how buttons, links, forms, and navigation work, measure page loading speed, etc.”
Besides technical knowledge, soft skills are pivotal in the hiring process. Employers often favor candidates with well-developed personal qualities:
- Motivation. An employee can remain effective for a long time if they are interested in further development in their field.
- Readiness for continuous learning. This should be a continuous process because the IT market is constantly changing. Are you ready to admit that you don’t know something in ten years and learn it?
- Communication skills. Clearly and easily express your ideas and interact with clients, colleagues, and other stakeholders.
- Ability to accept criticism. To offer the best result to the client, you need to be able to listen to different points of view. Do not give up after negative feedback and conclude.
- Ability to be creative in solving problems. Offer innovative approaches and solutions. Do not only what is written in the terms of reference, but also figure out how to improve the project.
How to make job search for juniors less stressful
You will not be less anxious if you open many tabs with offers, “catch up” on test tasks, and forget about sleep while preparing for interviews. Organizing your job search can alleviate stress. Create a document outlining your goals and steps, noting what’s necessary to secure an offer. Track company names and the status of your applications, including sent resumes, interview invitations, rejections, and feedback. Record interview results to monitor progress systematically.
Avoid common pitfalls, such as forgetting test tasks or details from previous company interactions. Establish a systematic approach, maintaining detailed notes at each stage to prevent awkward situations. As a beginner, anticipate rejections but remain proactive. Solicit feedback from recruiters on your resume, test tasks, and overall interview performance to identify areas for improvement. Not every company may provide feedback, but seeking it demonstrates your commitment to growth and development. If rejected, request specific reasons, emphasizing your desire to learn and improve for future opportunities. This approach contributes to continuous improvement and increases your chances of success in the dynamic IT job market.
Useful resources for self-learning:
For junior software developers:
- Matt Pocock. TypeScript tutorials and tips.
- Decoded Frontend. Video tutorials on Angular and website development.
- Angular. Training materials news for those who are learning Angular.
- Kevin Powell. CSS/SCSS lessons for beginners and those who use the languages in their work.
- ng-conf. Meetups, webinars, and conferences on Angular.
- NG-DE Conference. Angular conference.
- Rainer Hahnekamp. About Angular Cypress (E2E tests), NgRx tips.
For junior testers:
- Automation Remarks. Testing news guides for Automation and Manual QA Engineers.
- Postman Beginner’s Course – API Testing. To understand how to use the Postman tool.
- Software Testing – Web Application Testing Checklist with Test Scenarios. A checklist for testing web applications.
- How to Report Bugs Effectively. How to report bugs effectively.
- W3Schools. HTML, CSS, XML, JSON, SQL tutorials.
- Chrome DevTools. Overview of the main features of Chrome DevTools.
- DemoQA. A website with tasks for learning and testing.
- Cem Caner, James Bach, Brett Petticord. Lessons Learned in Software Testing.
- Rex Black. Critical Testing Processes. Plan, Prepare, Perform, Perfect.
- Robert Culbertson, Chris Brown, Gary Cobb. Rapid Testing.
- Glenford Myers. The Art of Software Testing.
- James Whittaker. How to Break Software: Practical Guide of Testing.
It’s great when you have a technical degree from a university or IT courses, but you need to continue learning independently. This also applies to the specialists who received the offer. The IT industry is dynamic, and new technologies, approaches, and solutions are constantly emerging. Keeping abreast of trends that often simplify and speed up work is essential. With each new project, their specifics may change. It will again require you to master new knowledge. Make learning a habit at the beginning of your career. Then, you will be able to grow in your profession continuously.
While possessing a technical degree from a university or completing IT courses is undoubtedly valuable, the reality of the IT industry demands ongoing independent learning. This also applies to those who have secured job offers. The dynamism of the IT landscape means that new technologies, methodologies, and solutions are perpetually emerging. Staying informed about these trends, which often simplify and expedite tasks, is beneficial and essential. Keeping abreast of trends that often simplify and speed up work is essential. With each new project, their specifics may change. This will again require you to master new knowledge. Make learning a habit at the beginning of your career. Then, you will be able to grow in your profession continuously.