In this episode we'll talk about the 3rd key to getting a job as a coder…

How do you stand out from the crowd?

You put in all this effort to learn how to code. You likely have a plan, you follow a curriculum, you seek help and learn. You practice and you struggle… but what about when it comes time to find a job?

Do you have a plan for finding a job other than: “I'll apply to a bunch of openings and make sure my resume is great!”

Most people don't. Let's talk about that.

Episode Transcript

All right, my fellow coders. Welcome to this next episode of the podcast. Thanks so much for joining me, as always. And today, we will be diving into as I'm sure you're well aware by now, the third key the third sort of secret that will allow you to unlock your future career, if you will. This is the the holy grail of, you know, achieving your goal of ultimately becoming a full stack paid web application developer, right? Well, we'll see what we'll get into the third sort of key that I talked about, that's important to know about to to achieve your goal of getting a job. So before I dive into the key itself, I want to sort of talk a little bit about, let's call him James, this is a real story. The names of three people have been changed to protect their identity, no, I just haven't reached out to James to officially get his permission to share his story. I'm sure he would be fine with me sharing it, I just am apparently not only a lazy coder, but a lazy podcaster. So I never reached out. So I won't give his last name, but I'll call him James.

So this story might be one that resonates with you, you might have one a story similar to this one. But if not, then just know this story is very common. it's by no means specific to James, but James was actually fresh out of university. So he got a college degree. He was you know, super, super proud, super happy that he had done it. But as time went forward, as he was, you know, further and further out, from his official graduation, from university, he could not get a job, let alone even getting a job interview. He was, you know, sort of living in his, you know, parent with his parents, maybe it was in the parents basement, who knows, but he was still living with his parents, and, you know, now in his sort of, you know, early to mid 20s, I guess it would have been sort of mid mid ish, 20s. And, you know, he's living with his parents, and he's tired of living with parents, he wants to, you know, begin the rest of his life, get out and get out there and get a job and, you know, get his own place and, and start to, you know, be a real adult, you know, get off of the parents pay roll and onto sort of his own. But he couldn't do it. He was he was struggling, he could not get a callback for an interview, and he was frustrated. And he didn't know how to solve this problem, right. Until one day, he stumbled upon a stranger on the internet. And the stranger on the internet was talking about this thing called boot camps. And lo and behold, he was sort of sold on the idea. So he, you know, talk to his parents about it. And his parents were a little bit skittish about the idea of, you know, you know, investing a bunch of money in a intuition again, in another program. But after, you know, I being the stranger that he found on the internet, after I spoke with his parents a little bit, I set their minds at ease. And I said, Look, you know, this is something that's very common, you know, students graduating from university still struggling to find a job and needing some extra help and guidance. And really, you know, everything that you've already heard me talking, talking about on this podcast, again, it's, it revolves around a couple things. One is a gap in their knowledge, not realizing that, you know, there's so much more that they don't know about, that they need to know in order to get a job as well as a bunch of other things. But I've talked about these already. I don't want to go into them again in detail. But he was struggling from this exact problem, and he needed some help. I spoke with him and his parents and convinced them that James should join the boot camp. Let's fast forward through the story of him being in the boot camp, obviously going through a boot camp is intensive. But six months later, he graduated from the boot camp, and he received his offer his first actual official job offer for you know, $60,000 starting salary as a Java developer for sort of an international company that has clients everywhere around the globe. And so yeah, it was a great job and he was completely he was actually unsure he thought it was a scam. This job offer he thought it was a scam. I had to set his mind at ease. I said, James, this is like, I've researched the company, job offer sounds, you know, right, right on it sounds very apropos or whatever very, you know, on par with what you know, is expected. Yeah, he had such a good thing in front of him that he couldn't even recognize it. And he was so hesitant to get excited about it. But ultimately, he accepted the job offer and started working at this place and is now as happy as could be so. And like I said, this story is, you know, this is James's story, but this is not a unique story. Okay, I've seen so many students now come through my doors, in this exact same spot, university graduate, can't get a job needs help need some guidance needs, the, the gaps in his knowledge filled or their gaps in their knowledge filled, as well as obviously some hints and tips and tricks and whatnot. But I want to dive into some of those tips and tricks right now, right? This, this sort of key number three that I want to dive into, is how you can achieve an unfair advantage. Okay, so this is all about the unfair advantage that you can get in today's marketplace. So it's how you can ensure that you actually stand out from the crowd, then ultimately increases increase your chances of actually landing that job because that's, that's what we're what we're doing this for, right, that's typically speaking, what everyone is learning how to code. For, that's why they want to do it. Sure. It's fun. Sure, it's cool. It's challenging you level up, it's a mind altering type thing, changes the way you think it's really a fun process. But hey, at the end of the day, we want to get paid, right? And that's what this is all about. So you got to make sure that how can you arm yourself with the greatest opportunities and tools to ultimately get that job. So it's all about the unfair advantage. So step one, and getting yourself an unfair advantage is you need to make sure that you are actually learning the right stuff. Okay, this is obviously not something that should come as a surprise to you. But oftentimes, even though you know this intrinsically, even though you know, this, you know, at your core that you Yeah, you need to learn the right stuff in order to get a job. People still get this, you know, look, squirrel type situation an activity, and they'll go off and get, you know, attracted to some shiny object. thing that's that's happening LIGO and learn a different technology that ultimately is not going to help them in the real world.

This also happens a lot in university, I spoke about this before, in university, you go a mile wide, on subjects, but an inch deep. So you don't you learn all you learn a little bit about a whole lot of topics. And that's just the wrong way to do it. You don't want to go a mile wide and an inch deep. You want to go a mile deep and an inch wide. If you know what I mean, right, you need to focus on teaching yourself the right stuff, and on teaching yourself exactly what it is that employers want you to know in the real world. Okay, I call this the five, the five pillars, I spoke about this already. But the five pillars of the front end the the thing that connects the front end to the server side, the server side, the thing that connects server side, the DB and the DB. Okay, DB being database. So you have the three pillars, the two pillars flanking each side, and the one of the middle front end server side database. And then the two pillars connecting those together, which is typically an MVC type framework, like model view controller connects the server side of the front end. And something like an ORM and a relational object relational mapping type thing, like hibernate or something like that, or JPA, more specific or more generically, that's a fourth pillar or the ORM layer that that that connects the server side to the to the database. So a front end connects to the server side with MVC, and server side connects the database with an O RM. So that those are sort of the five pillars, and you need to make sure that you are learning the right technologies in there. So this gives you an idea of how you can focus your knowledge, make sure that you are focusing on learning a server side language that's popular, make sure that you focus on learning, probably a relational database, those tend to be the most popular in the real world. Most jobs require you to learn a relational database. So yeah, make sure you're focusing on a popular server side language like Java, a popular database, relational database, like MySQL or something. And then make sure you're focusing on a good front end stuff, you know, HTML, CSS, maybe JavaScript in general, you can dive into a JavaScript framework as well, but I won't get into that here. But yeah, you have to make sure that you're learning the right stuff. That's step number one to gaining your unfair advantage. Step number two, to achieving your unfair advantage is and again, this doesn't come as a surprise. I've talked about this before creating a portfolio you need to make sure that you have a portfolio that in lieu of real world experience, you can lean on To show employers that you actually know how to code. Again, I've said this, but this is important to repeat. Employers want to hire people that know how to code. That is their incentive. That is their purpose. That is what they want. They want to hire people that just know how to code. Right? So how can you show them that you know how to code? The best way to do that is a portfolio, there's no better

way to demonstrate that you know, how to code other than showing them your code, right? That's a Z, that's the straight, you know, step, what does it Point A to Point B straight line, I want someone who knows how to code, here's the portfolio, right? I've even had some employers say, they won't even look at the resume. Okay, this is not all employers, but some employers will will just completely not even look at the resume, they'll just look for the you know, the GitHub profile or something, the the portfolio that's in the resume, they'll click on that. And then they don't even care about reading the resume, they, they don't care about your university degree. They don't care about your academic, you know, credentials, they don't care about your certifications, they don't care about even sometimes your past experience, if you have some, they don't care about any of that. They just want to see the code that you write. Okay, so this is why portfolios are so important. Now critical error here that a lot of people make, and I've spoken about this before they create a portfolio and proudly demonsaw are proudly broadcast it to the world, which is good. However, the broadcasting absolutely atrocious code without even realizing it. So this could lead to you not getting a callback, if you are broadcasting terrible code that is going to be shooting yourself in the foot foot in the foot, you're going to be shooting yourself in the foot. So you got to make sure that the code you're broadcasting to the world in your portfolio is actually solid code. How can you assure yourself that or assure that you have good code? Well, you need to make sure that you get it reviewed by an expert, how can you get it reviewed by an expert? Well, that comes built into the boot camp, we'll talk about that. But in lieu of a boot camp, you can obviously hire a professional coder, someone with at least minimum five years of real world experience, I would recommend 10. But anyway, five years should do have that experts review your code and make sure that it's good before you know, broadcast your portfolio to potential employers. So step one, learn the right stuff. Step two, create a portfolio and get it reviewed. Okay, these are probably things that you more or less already know about. But Step three is you need to build a network of connections, both in terms of peers, and employers. Okay, so you need to be able to build a network for yourself. You've heard this probably many times in school is it's all about your network, who you know, it's all about who you know, before you can get a job, right? You've heard this before. However, that might have been all you've heard, no one ever then follows up and says, Oh, and by the way, here's how you do that. Here's how you build the network. Here's how you meet the right people. Here's how you meet the right employers, you know, and you're kind of left on your own to figure this out. Right. So having a strong network is critical. It's so critical that this is actually how I got a job when I desperately needed one. I was working way back when as a you know, doing this teaching people how to code. Now again, I don't make a lot of money doing this, I don't make a lot of money teaching people how to code I can make far more money. Just exclusively working as a software developer. It's that's just it's a bit better pay. That's just the way it is. But I just love I love both. So I'm I'm called to do exactly what I'm doing right now. Which is teaching people how to code and impacting their lives and introducing them to this amazing salary. For you know, both a blessing and the curse in my situation is I'm called to teach people. It's a blessing because I love to do it and I love change people's lives. It's a curse, because it doesn't pay very well. But anyway, one day, I found myself in a situation where it was like, Okay, I need to pay my own bills here. I was exclusive exclusively working, you know, doing this, what I what it is that I'm doing, you know, teaching people how to code. And I was not doing any side gigs as a coder. And I had, you know, moved into a new house just had a baby. And you know, eventually hit the point where I was like, Oh, I need to make ends meet here. I need to make some some money. So I reached out to my network.

And within 24 hours, I had a job. Okay, within 24 hours, I think it was a Thursday, I reached out to my network. On a Friday, I had a phone call with a potential employer. We had a chat and then boom, they made me a job offer. I think on Monday, I started the job. Okay, so that that's even more crazy, right? I was offered a job in 24 hours. And then I started that job within whatever that is 72 hours or whatever. Yeah, within 100. You know, within three or four days, I was starting and working in that job and earning money. So that was entirely because, well, one because I'm a good coder, but two because of my network, okay, you can be the greatest coder in the world. If you have no network, you're still gonna struggle to get a job. Okay. So how do you build a network? Well, one way, again, shameless self promotion. One way is to join a boot camp, where you have peers that you're working with, that you're working alongside, I should say, learning alongside. And guess what, when one of your peers gets a job, as an entry level developer, the company that hired that person tends to be interested in hiring more people for the same position, just like the person that they that they just hired. So I see this all the time, right? One of my students gets a job at a company, and the company loves them. And then the company says, Hey, where can I find more people just like you. And then they say, well, I've got, you know, 20 other people in this boot camp that you can, you know, check out and that just tends to lead to more and more people. It's like a self fulfilling, what's the word, I'm looking for a positive feedback loop of people getting hired, right? That network just keeps building and building. So associating yourself with something like a boot camp, again, doesn't have to be mine, any boot camp that's worth their salt is going to have this sort of network effect built into their programs. It's this unfair advantage that someone like a college grad just won't have, right? A college grad will have their own peers. Yes. But I don't know. It's just the camaraderie that happens with these boot camps are, they just seem to be stronger than, than the college groups. And again, I can speak from real world experience because my college peers, none of them led me to getting my first job. My first job just, I didn't, we were all in the same boat, all my college peers were, couldn't get a job. So we couldn't really help each other out. So something like a boot camp circle, like that helps. Or just obviously, knowing, knowing other programmers who are already working in the, in the real world, just you know, knowing some coders in general is helpful. Right? So in lieu of boot camp, if you just can, can make friends with other coders in some way, shape, or form. I don't know, join a local programming enthusiast group. If there was a local one, or over, obviously, a virtual one, join some Facebook groups, or some discord channels, or something where coders are co mingling with each other, they're gathering, you know, join these groups, and schmooze a bit, right? Make friends try to be open and you know, don't jump right to the hay, who can get me a job in this group? No, you can't lead with Give me something, right. That's not how the world works. If someone just walked up to you on the street and said, Hey, give me something. You know, it's, it's tough for you to say, Sure. Here you go. Right. It's better to lead with what they call value, right? Give value first. So Introduce yourself, and then, you know, offer to help other people or, I don't know, share some tidbits and, you know, just try to make friends and, and, you know, be useful to that community. So if other people are asking questions, and you know the answer, answer those questions, right, be helpful and then ask for help in return. So hey, by the way, you know, I noticed that you're, you have a job already, can you you know, any tips or any tricks that you know, you can suggest that led you to getting a job, and then maybe organically that conversation will go towards the person saying, Oh, hey, you know, I think we have job openings at my you know, company or whatever. Maybe we can get you one or something who knows, right? It's a bit more of a there's a bit more work involved there a bit more of a roundabout way to get a job but it's it's a much more surefire way to getting a job then, you know, by building your network, other than just what we call the spray and pray, right, you spray your resume out all over, you apply to hundreds of jobs, and pray that someone calls you back, right? That's not a great strategy. I know I did that I can say with confidence that does not work. It feels like you're doing something that you feel like oh, I applied to three jobs today. You know, pat yourself on the back. That's great. That's it led to nothing It was it was just an entirely massive waste of time. So instead of spending time applying the job, spend time building your own network, okay? and forth. Step four, I should say is you know, on on the topic of applying to a bunch of jobs yourself.

You need to not do that heavy lifting yourself just like I said, Don't Don't spray and pray more or less let someone else do the spraying and praying for you so that they can work for you while you are sleeping to get you a job. Right? You you quote unquote hire someone to to be your personal marketer to be your personal Brand Ambassador to reach out to employers and say, Hey, let me let me tell you about this person who is amazing, you know, a great coder. He's got he's, he's passionate, he's got a great portfolio. You know, he's maybe done a boot camp, he's, you know, he or she, I should say, is exactly who you need to hire like. So you can hire someone like that, to do this on your behalf. And it's entirely free to you, you don't have to pay for the service. So this you might be saying, Wait, what I can have someone work for me for free, who goes out and and, and tells companies about how great I am and gets me a job for free? Yes, these people are called recruiters, right? Some some people have a negative connotation built into their mind about recruiters, although I don't know if an entry level coder would have this, this negative mindset, I have a bit of a not a negative mindset about recruiters. But for me who who has a lot of experience. under his belt, as a coder, I get hammered by recruiters all the time with messages begging for me to take a job or something that they have found. So recruiters are great. recruiters are amazing. I love recruiters. So but the point is, reach out to recruiters in your area if you're not already doing that. And and introduce yourself to some recruiters, right this is part of the building a network you can build a network of recruiters and let them do the heavy lifting for you. And they will go out and apply to jobs and introduce you to employers and essentially get you interviews. Right. So you might ask, Where can I find recruiters Well, obviously, you can do it through someone something like a boot camp. But if you want to do it on your own, you can go to you know, LinkedIn, and search just for the word like, you know, technical recruiter or something, and then look for ones in your area and just reach out to them and say, Hey, you know, my name is XYZ and I have some experience in these languages. And here's my portfolio, and I'm looking for, you know, an entry level job or something. So, yeah, that's sort of the, the approach that I would recommend for you. Again, to recap, that key number three there, it's it's your unfair advantage and how you can build yourself an unfair advantage. Give yourself a leg up from all the other competition, applying for entry level positions. So to recap, yeah, the first step is you got to learn the right stuff, right? seems obvious. But sometimes people get distracted and off track, and they learn stuff that they don't need to be learning, okay, so find a mentor, find someone who has a job or has achieved the goal that you want to achieve, and pick their brain and say, hey, I want to do exactly what you did to get to where you are right now. How do I do that? Right? What do I need to learn. So get them to tell you what you need to learn to unlock the success that they have unlocked. Again, boot camp anyway, step two, create a portfolio but not just create a portfolio for yourself to demonstrate that you are a good coder, have an expert review that portfolio, okay, it's a terrible portfolio is is not what you want to be broadcasting to the world, you want to broadcast a good portfolio. Step three is you got to build your own network. This is hard. It's not an overnight thing. It takes time. But the work that you put into building a network is invaluable. So again, find discord, you know, channels or groups that you can join and interact with, find local meetups or groups, either virtually or you know in person that you can go to and talk to fellow coders and interact with them, because you never know where your job is gonna come from. You want to you know, obviously, boot camps are a great way to have that network built into it. Or if you know, you can, you might even be able to reach out on LinkedIn to someone but I doubt that might be too difficult to reach out to a coder on LinkedIn. But hey, you might be able to do it. If there's a job that you are focusing in on, you know, you want this job, you can search on LinkedIn for people who work at that company. And maybe you can find one in your area. And maybe you can reach out to them on LinkedIn and say, Hey, you know, I love the company that you work for. I would love the opportunity to get a job there. Like do you have any any ideas are any advice that you can give to me? I don't know. Again, these are just I've never tried that before. But hey, it might work. Again, I would suggest leading with value. What can you do for that person? First before asking for something in return. Right? So I can't really think about something off top of my head that you could suggest.

But I don't know maybe it's going on taken out for coffee or picking their brain. People love to talk about themselves. Here's a good tip. I just thought of this in the moment. People love to talk about themselves. That's their, that's everyone's favorite subject. So maybe you could go on LinkedIn and say, Hey, I see that you're working for you know, company XYZ in you know my area. And I would love to work for this company. And I you know, since you're already working for this company, I'd love to buy you lunch and pick your brain. And sort of see what that company culture is like, and tell me about your you know, I'd love to learn about you and see sort of what you did to get a job there. And I don't know, again, try to frame it in such a way that, hey, I want to buy you something, I want to buy you lunch. That's the value. And at lunch, I would love for you to just talk about yourself, and talk about all the things that you did to get this job and you know, how are you so great? And how did you do that? I don't know, something like that. That might work. That might work. I've had that happen with me before, not in the in the scope of programming. I've never had a programmer, like an entry level programmer reached out to me and asked for help in that regard. But I have had other entrepreneurs reach out to me and say, Hey, Trevor, I saw you on, you know, this YouTube channel, or I heard you on this podcast, or bla bla bla bla. And I want to be where you are right now. But can I take you out to lunch and pick your brain? I said yes to that. I went out and had a lovely lunch and some drinks with an author, entrepreneur in my area. And we just chatted one evening, it was great. I loved it. I love chatting with new people and meeting new people. I'm a very extroverted type person. So I love chatting with people. So yeah, that worked. The gentleman was able to pick my brain for a bit, I got a free meal out of it, and I had a wonderful time. So that might work. There you go. The value in this podcast was just elevated, I went off script. And that might actually work for you. So there you go. Step four, leverage recruiters, right? Find a recruiter in your area. Again, LinkedIn will work here, you can reach out via LinkedIn, find a recruiter and get them to do the heavy lifting for you. So those are my sort of four steps to building an unfair advantage for yourself. And ultimately hope with the hopes of helping you get to get a job in the real world and launch your very successful career in the future. Again, you can do this all yourself, but in my opinion, the easiest, most effective both in terms of time and money. way to do this, and to achieve all of these things is to do it via a boot camp, right. I have talked extensively about why I believe boot camps are the most superior method of getting a job as a coder, I have beat that topic to death. All I will say is if you are still interested or haven't yet done, so you should check out our Bootcamp

Otherwise, you should check out any boot camp at all right, as long as they're a reputable boot camp. They've got good metrics and good numbers that they're tracking for, you know, placements, ultimately, the most important thing is that they have a good placement rate. But yeah, that's just, that's just the most effective way to do it. I've been doing this for over nine years now. There's just no better method. So check them out. boot camps are the way to go. They're the easiest in terms of you know, the provide you with the curriculum, they provide you with the mentorship, they provide you with the support, they provide you with the direction, the motivation, accountability, the support after all that stuff in terms of career support, and helping you to get ready for interviews and it's just the the value that you get inside of something like a boot camp is just it's it's unmatched when compared to anything else that I've seen in the marketplace. So check out the boot camps. I'd love it if you check out mine, go through our admission process. I'd love to chat with you if you have some prior coding experience. And of course, if you have no prior coding experience and you're just starting out your journey, then hey, you can get started for free with our bootcamp prep course. So this is for people who have never coded before you can go to to join that free bootcamp prep course and dip your toes in the waters to see if something like a boot camp might be good for you. But if you already have some experience, you've coded you know a few small applications with some simple you know, loops and if statements and that kind of thing. If you've done that already done some simple exercises, you probably are more or less ready for a boot camp so you can check it out and apply via Alright ladies, gentlemen, thank you so much for joining me yet again for this podcast episode. I love that I'm still doing these and I can't wait to see what we talk about next. Perhaps we'll we'll dive into more. We'll move away from the sort of, you know, feel good conversations and the motivation conversations and the tips and tricks and maybe dive back into some, you know, cold hard content in terms of coding related topics. So I know streams, Java, eight streams are a streams and lambdas more specifically, are a topic that is both popular and difficult for aspiring coders to grasp. So I might have some episodes in The future talking about some some streams and lambda stuff. So look forward to or keep an eye out for that content, which should be coming out to you in the relatively near future. So keep an eye out for that. Cool. So thank you take care of yourselves as always happy learning, and bye for now.

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