How to go from non-tech to tech job.
Updated: Nov 3, 2019
The journey of becoming a developer comes in many different ways except being easy. Yup, being a developer is not an easy thing to do, but not impossible.
First, you need to know your WHY. Why do you want to become a developer? It is the most helpful question that you need to remember. So that when challenges come your way, you can remember why you started.
Second, you need to have a focus. There’s a lot of courses right now that teach programming, and it could get overwhelming. A self-driven mentality is necessary. You need to choose and stick with it for a certain period, instead of just scraping the overview of every course.
Third, study the industry. You need to know what the company wants and expectations on its candidates, the hiring process, what will make you stand out as a candidate.
Last, apply to hundreds or thousands of jobs, and don’t just submit the same resume for all of those job lists. Each job has its own unique requirements. Here’s a tip for you, you can use our chrome plugin to check if your resume is a good match for a specific job, and you can easily see what are the things you need to add in your resume to increase your chance to get an interview.
Take an online course
We are in the age of having every information available to you instantly on your hands. It’s easy to learn anything you want by signing up for online learning platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, Linda and a more expensive one like Udacity. With all of these available platforms, we understand that it is also very easy to feel overwhelmed. So here are the exact courses that I recommend that can cover a wide range of topics you need for a developer job, and you can get it for a low amount of $10.
Udemy boot-camp algorithms and data-structure. You’ll need this to help you answer algorithm questions in your interview.
Udemy web-developer boot-camp. For web development.
Udemy complete course. For developing iOS and Android apps, taking this course literally landed me an internship.
Freecodecamp This ONE is FREE!
If you feel like these courses aren’t for you, look online. There are plenty of options.
How to network
Attending Meetup or networking groups can help you find the right people who are already working in the industry so you could get a feel for what’s it like to be in the tech field. Few tips on networking is that:
Just be curious about the person you’re meeting, don’t think you will talk to a certain person to connect and land you a job in the tech field, most of the time people would feel that and they don’t like that.
After you know each other a little better, that’s the time you can ask them logistic questions like, “how big is the company you’re working for?”, “what’s the work environment like?”, “what frameworks or programming language do you use?”.
If you found out they’re not hiring, then you can be friends with that person, connect on LinkedIn, maybe ask programming questions. So with this method, it’s most likely a win-win situation; you have someone to refer you or a friend that could help you in your programming journey.
Look for opportunities within your current employer’s company.
Another way to gain important tech skills to increase your marketability in the job search is to pursue opportunities within your current position or company to develop tech skills. For example, if your team works with developers to bring products to life, volunteer to be the point person to liaise between teams. Being able to effectively communicate across the “tech divide” is incredibly valuable. Most people don’t take the time to learn skills outside the silo of their day-to-day work. Before you know it, your team will begin thinking of you as the team’s technical subject matter expert (SME). You may notice new opportunities for career advancement opening up for you that will allow you to expand into a more technical role.
Have a mentor/colleague.
Similarly, finding mentors and colleagues to help you along your journey is key. Seek out individuals at work or in your community who currently or formerly held positions that you are interested in. Sharing your aspirations and demonstrating a strong initiative to learn technical skills will attract people into your life who want to see you succeed. Enthusiasm, curiosity, and a willingness to work hard and overcome difficulties are important traits to develop if you want to transition careers. Be clear on what you would like mentorship on to make the best use of your mentor’s time and energy.
How to manage your time developing tech skills while having a full-time job.
Speaking of time, it is not easy to juggle a full-time job with developing tech skills. Find ways to increase organization, time management, and productivity. Track how you spend most of your days’ work and begin finding patterns in your day. If you notice certain productivity and attention peaks and valleys, consider how you can arrange your day to complete the most difficult or time-consuming tasks when you are at your prime. Sticking to a calendar and working smarter (not necessarily harder!) can also help you free up more time in your day to practice tech skills. Time management differs from person to person- try out a variety of hacks and see what works for you.
I could split this process into 4 parts:
First are the common interview questions like:
Tell me about yourself.
Why should we hire you?
What are your greatest strengths?
What are your greatest weaknesses?
What were your responsibilities at your previous job?
How do you handle pressure and stress?
Second is the technical skill interview, this is where the Udemy course about algorithms recommended above will come in handy.
Third, collaboration, they would want to know how you would respond to feedback from other team members and how well you get along with other people.
Last is about culture fitting, if it’s a startup company, culture really matters. In this part, you’re the one who gets to ask the questions (most of the time). You can ask your interviewer(s): “what’s the work environment here?”, “how long have you been working here and what do you love the most at this company?”
Practice with a friend.
If not, then practice some speech on how you can market yourself during the interview. About what you’ve done, your skills, your excellent questions, and don’t forget to talk about what makes you human. Do this while walking.
You’re ready to walk into your interview. Before you touch that doorknob, make sure you are wearing your confidence and leave your ego behind. Not just that kind of ego, but the other one that shakes up your great persona, nervousness. We can kind of predict it, but we can’t control it when it comes. Just like an earthquake, it has a reputation of demolishing what you’ve built and practiced all along.
However, thanks to the existence of spiritual gurus and scientific studies, nervousness can be prevented from happening. Some simple recommendations prior to your interview: eat healthily, drink enough water, get a good night’s sleep, and if meditation isn’t a part of your daily regime, try it before the interview. Just think about the importance of balancing your inner and outer self above all the pressures in life.
We’ve all heard a million times about editing your resume, review it ten times; go out there and network yourself, announce yourself to your friends, old colleagues, LinkedIn recruiters, etc. While all of that is very important, being able to express your skills before you step into an interview is as critical as your resume. Here are more tips on how to format your resume that can slip your way easily through the ATS system.
Create a clear and concise portfolio(s) to show to recruiters. Make sure that it is structured precisely to be able to see your point on why having it. A straightforward explanation for this is to have a profound user interface and experience. Spend hours running QA tests on it and have multiple people do this for you as well. Then take the best advice you can get.
On the day of your interview. Don’t forget to print out a flyer containing your resume and some work samples, if possible. Leave this with them. This about it a like a gift to help them remember you as they move along with their next scheduled interviews. Make sure to design your flyer as if you graduated with a graphic design background (if you haven’t already). This can also be done through email as a thank you follow-up for taking the time to meet you.
This flyer idea can also work for when you go out there networking. In general, be extra, that’s what marketing is.
Keep a mindset of solving the companies challenges instead of just getting a reasonable rate.
While expressing your self worth is very important, it is also as important as to give them a sample of what you can bring to the table. It can go to having an impeccable business plan to better what the company already has. Although you shouldn’t give too much of that information. That is your creation, and the goal is to have them hire you for it because they technically don’t have all the detail to implement it.
It is like being on a date. You impress your date without revealing too much. It is most likely that you will get that second date. But this isn’t a dating advice blog ~ perhaps at another time.
It sounds like a lot of work right? What are you waiting for? Get started! You got this!