How does one become a junior developer? Which skills are required to start a programming career? Our CTO shares his advice for all aspiring developers.
You’ve been learning how to code for the past few months or even years; you’ve just graduated or you’re still studying; you’re planning on starting your coding career.
Now you’re facing the question: you’ve learnt quite a lot already, but are you good enough to apply for a junior developer position?
Or maybe you’ve read the requirements and wonder why would you need to know particular technologies pretty much from day one?
Finally, you may feel your skills are polished enough but you’d like to know what to expect in the recruitment process? Either way, this post is meant to clear up your doubts before you send your application.
We illustrated with some pieces of advice from our own developers who started out as juniors here.
What skills do I need to become a junior developer, and why?
At Apptension, we believe that excellence comes from specialisation — and so the majority of programmers here are either front- or backend developers who focus on their side of the coin (or force, for that matter). That is why there are different recruitment requirements depending on the side you choose.
For backend developers, the requirements include the knowledge of PHP or Python and frameworks such as Symfony2 and Yii2 for PHP or Django for Python.
This is because these frameworks are the most popular at the moment, work well, and the majority of our projects is built with their help. Keep in mind, however, that technologies used in a given project are chosen based on the needs to be fulfilled, so you’ll have to learn more depending on the task at hand.
Whether you go for frontend or backend development is one thing — but regardless of that, some requirements are universal. At Apptension we believe that cooperation is the key, which is why being a great team player is essential. This entails being open to other people’s ideas, as well as reacting positively to their feedback. Since we’re a bunch of creative yet detail-oriented folk, we love anyone passionate about their work and the tasks at hand. Finally, given that we get clients from all around the world and not everyone here speaks Polish, to get a junior developer job at Apptension you have to speak fluent English. (But fret not — as with any skills necessary to get the job done, you’ll be able to attend a language course to polish off your command of English!)
Our recruitment process for junior developers
If you know enough of what’s expected, then it’s time for you to apply! Our developer recruitment process is fairly straightforward: here’s a step-by-step guide for you:
1. Send us your application
Preparing your resume may feel a bit overwhelming at first if you’ve only begun and you have little to no prior working experience.
However, it’s only natural that, as a junior, there’s not much to show off yet — anything you have may be an advantage, so don’t forget to add the link to your GitHub account, portfolio, or blog.
Don’t be worried if you don’t have any commercial projects to brag about. Your own coding experiments and even school projects will show us what you’re about, include them in your portfolio.
At Apptension we work hard, but also play hard, so remember to include the “hobbies and interests” section! Once you’re done writing your resume, you can apply directly through our website, or email us right away.
2. Have a conversation with us
Once you’ve sent us your application, we’ll call you to learn more about you and to discuss what’s next. Then, we’ll invite you to our office to talk to you in person and yes, we don’t usually send a recruitment task before having a conversation.
It’s because we believe that having a great team is also about having the right work chemistry — and no recruitment task can verify that remotely. We want for you to get the feel of our place, and that’s why we’re inviting you to come over and join us to talk over a cup of tea or coffee.
If you have any questions, fire away: we love anyone curious!
3. Solve our recruitment task
When you’ve decided that you like our place and we know you’d fit, we’ll send you the task to solve over the next few days.
Feeling like you might have more time on a Saturday afternoon to sit down to it? We can decide on the deadline together so you get enough time to crack it. No, the recruitment task won’t be easy — but it won’t be too difficult, either. It’s supposed to be fun and it’s supposed to be a challenge.
What we want to test is not only what you’ve learnt so far but also how fast can you acquire new skills.
Join the team!
If you’ve got this far, congratulations! It’s already an accomplishment — now’s the time to seal the deal.
We’re going to tell you what we like about you and what’s still there to learn. And if, for any reasons, we feel like it may not work out, we’ll provide you with feedback on what’s missing.
Jumpstarting your career as a junior developer may require more than just a university background: after all, not everything you need might be included in the curriculum.
Having a firm foundation in your chosen language certainly helps; so does knowing the most popular frameworks.
Keep in mind that every project requires a somewhat different set of technologies to run, and don’t skip your English classes!