Shortly after college, I interviewed for my first position as a web developer. I had a little experience writing desktop applications, but virtually no experience in web development. At that time I was fond of learning Ruby on Rails, so I started learning it for fun. It was around 2008 before Ruby on Rails went mainstream. My friend was trying to convince me to learn Python and PHP. He told me that what I was learning was completely impractical, not matching the real world.
I told him I really didn’t care.
I jumped and created my first web application using language. It was great to see my ideas become a reality. Shortly after, I graduated from school and set out to find an actual programming job.
One Saturday morning, I went to my college library and started looking for my job. I found 100 job listings and applied for each one of them. These jobs fall into a few different categories:
- Some used programming languages I gained experience with during school
- Some Used Programming Languages I Didn’t Know At All
- Some used Ruby on Rails…. I was really excited seeing my fascination for the language.
Over the next few weeks, I started hearing answers from companies and employers.
I gave interviews directly through two recruiters and a few companies. There was one company that used Java, which I used in school. I still remember well. When I went in for my interview, the hiring manager took me to a large room with a large desk. Two youths were giving interview. After shaking hands and introducing ourselves, we got into the interview.
To start, one of the men asked me a question:
“How well do you know Java?”
I thought about it for a moment, then replied:
“Awesome. I’ve used it a bit in college, and I have some experience with C#, which is a similar language.”
The man thought for a moment and asked me a follow-up question:
“So how will the JVM’s garbage collector deal with the following scenario…”
He continued to describe a scenario I was honestly very unfamiliar with. I responded:
“I’m not really sure, to be honest. I usually focus on writing code and solving problems with the language, I don’t know how the JVM works under the hood.”
The man shook his head. Then he asked me some more nuanced questions. I didn’t know the answer to any of them! I remember leaving in bewilderment. I was wondering why he expected me to answer all these questions.
The company decided not to pursue with me for this position.
I still had many other interviews
They all went better than the first interview. I loved some of them… but still… none of them developed into official job offers. But I kept coding, applying and looking for the right position for me.
Eventually, I landed an interview for a position using Ruby on Rails. I was really excited, but also nervous. The position was focused on Rails, but it also required some coding in the Python language, which I hadn’t worked with before. I studied Python a little earlier to prepare.
The interview was very technical. At least 5 different team members came into the room and asked me deep technical questions.
The first interviewer, a man named Neil, was the head of the team. If it works, he’ll be my boss.
Neil told me a little bit about the company, the position, and its background. Then we got into technical questions. I still remember the specific questions he asked me.
“Your resume says you know C.”
I answered something like this:
“Yes! It’s been a while since I got used to it, but I’m comfortable using that language.”
“Ken, can you reverse a string in C?”
He gave me a piece of paper and a pencil.
“Tell me when you’re finished.”
I remember being surprised by the format. Most interviewers ask candidates to code on the whiteboard. It was a bit awkward to do it using paper and pencil.
It was a relatively easy question…it involves doing pointer arithmetic in C. The question is designed to filter out anyone who doesn’t know the language. Luckily for me, I knew what I was doing.
I quickly wrote up the solution and handed it over to Neil. He studied my code, then asked a few questions about my background. It seemed to me that everything was going very smoothly.
The next few interviewers were up.
They worked for different (but related) companies that Neil worked for. This is because Neil was actually the only employee in his company at the time.
He talked a little bit about the situation and asked me a few questions about the database. I came up with a viable solution to the question he proposed… but it wasn’t right or most beautiful Measure. He examined me and inspired me to solve it in a better way. I told them I wasn’t 100% sure how to do it the way they were suggesting.
They seemed fine with it. So we went beyond the problem and talked at a high level about Neil’s company and his role in the companies involved.
Overall the interview was fine.
It didn’t go very well. It didn’t last much.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I held my head high. I kept in touch with him over email. the next step was to talk to them chairman of the board of the company
I talked to him about high-level things about the direction of the company, and it went well.
And things worked out! I received an offer and accepted it almost immediately.
on dFor the first time at my first job, a strange feeling hit me.
My boss gave me a brief description of my responsibilities, asked me to fill out some paperwork, and then asked me to run the app on my computer.
I was really struggling to get things set up on my computer.
For some reason, I could not install MySQL on my computer. I struggled for a few hours to get it set up.
“How’s it coming?”
I embarrassingly explained that I was struggling to get MySQL installed. Neil gave me some pointers, and I finally installed MySQL after an hour or so.
The experience scared me a little. I struggled a lot to set up simple programs. I had virtually no experience in web development, and felt like I was in over my head.
In this moment, I was convinced that I had tricked the team into hiring me.
I really didn’t want to quit my first full time position, but I thought it was possible. So I did what any ambitious child would do.
i stayed late, I worked long hours to compensate for having no idea what I was doing. I shipped to facilities and learned the various tools and techniques I needed to perform the responsibilities that were expected of me.
One night I stayed until 2 in the morning… debugging a problem the day we started a new feature.
I volunteered to do things I didn’t know how to do.
For example, I had absolutely no experience with server configuration. But my boss asked me to make some changes in our apache configuration to make the files load faster. Before this post, I didn’t even know what Apache was! I didn’t know how to do this. But given the fact that I made my way into the situation, I figured it was something I had to do.
I made some mistakes. But more importantly, I learned to fix a lot of mistakes. I also built systems to make it easier to recover from these types of mistakes, whether my own mistakes or those made by another employee.
Sometimes I asked for help. I tried to figure things out on my own, but sometimes I knew the only way to figure something out would be to ask for help. My coworkers were incredibly smart, so I used them as a valuable resource.
During the next 9 months, I achieved much more than I imagined.
I overcame a serious matter of deceitful syndrome, i don’t feel like it anymore junior web developer that I was hired as. I stepped up and achieved a lot.
My play till you get The approach to my first job really helped me learn everything I needed to excel.
If you think about it, that’s really what every developer should be doing on their first job.
If you land a job as a junior developer, it’s probably not because you tricked the team into hiring you. Rather, it is because you have a base level of skill and it shows that you have a willingness to learn and grow on the job.
So, do you want to get a job as a developer?
Gain the skills needed to convince someone to hire you, work really hard, and push yourself outside of your comfort zone as much as possible.
Eventually, you’ll look back and realize you didn’t fool anyone. You have just proved that you are ready to step up to the plate when the opportunity comes.