6 Signs You’re Ready for Your First Dev Job

No one feels 100% confident and ready when applying for jobs, but when it’s your first one in a new industry, it can feel terrifying.

Here are 6 signs that you are ready to apply to your first developer job.

1. You can break a feature down into smaller steps.

You don’t have to know 100% of what to do, but you do have to be able to break the task down into smaller steps.

For example, if you’re building the page below, you can break the page down and have a good idea of how to achieve each of them.

  • a header with a logo to the left, a navigation and a button to the right
  • a section in 2 columns with an image to the left
  • a section with a heading and a tagline
  • an embedded video
  • a section with 3 columns with an icon on the top and text below
screenshot of Slack home page

If you’re adding a feature in a full-stack application, you can design a database table, create new routes, construct new models and code the new views.

2. You know how to debug your code.

Debugging is a huge part of a developer’s day-to-day, whether it’s figuring out why what you’re building doesn’t work or fixing a bug ticket.

To become good at debugging, you need to know:

  • how to interpret error messages to locate the file and line of code where the error occurs and why it’s happening
Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property 'length' of null in line 54

  • how to use interactive debuggers to step through the code

3. You are not afraid of the terminal.

If you want to be a developer, you better get comfortable with the terminal.

The terminal might look frightening at first glance with its black screen and flashing cursor. However, it’s just another interface for us to perform normal tasks, such as navigating folders, creating files or installing new applications.

You’ll need to use the terminal to set up your dev environment, configure your machine and install the codebase you’ll be working on.

4. You can articulate your questions and issues to other developers.

Do you know how to ask for help from other developers? Do you know how to explain what is wrong with your code?

When you’re first starting out, you might not have the language to express your issues. As you get more comfortable with your coding, you should be able to talk about the specific problem with your code, what you want the code to do, and what you have tried.

Knowing how to ask for help in an effective way is key to your success.

5. You can find solutions through Google and read documentation.

This should be no surprise as sometimes developers are also known as “professional Googlers”.

Unless you are in innovative fields, like blockchain or AI, the issues you have faced have been solved and documented by others already. Google is your best friend when you need to find solutions.

You also need to learn how to read documentation in general. You will have to learn to use different libraries, frameworks and third-party APIs, and sometimes, it’s obscure, so the only way to learn is through the official documentation.

6. You know how to use git.

Git is an essential tool for a dev team to collaborate and keep track of all the codebase changes. You must learn and be comfortable with this. You will be expected to understand general concepts such as pulling, updating, committing, pushing, branching and tagging.

Most of these skills are developed through repetitive practice. For example, the ability to debug code will come when you’ve solved many of your own bugs as you learn to code. Or in the case of articulating yourself to other developers, once you get comfortable with the terminology through exposure, you will naturally get better at it.

Are you ready for your first dev job yet? Which skills do you still need to develop to get there? Let us know in the comments!

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Hi, I'm Jenny. I'm a developer with 3 years of experience. Welcome to the most supportive community for female developers!

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