How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

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#1 lamentofking  Icon User is offline

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How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

Posted 02 April 2015 - 06:09 PM

I'm finding myself going through junior level interviews only to get denied. The reason isn't because I can't code (the respective companies told me themselves) but because my problem solving and analytical skills don't meet expectations.


Now I've worked in one Mid-level role (it was actually my first and only business developer role) before, but they were willing to accept a junior level developer to fill the role. That interview was more of a conversation about my experience and how the company works. There weren't any problem solving questions or for me to write code. I'm starting to think that junior level developer roles are made harder to obtain than mid-level roles on purpose only because companies are afraid to hire a junior developer that wouldn't make them any money.

If all of this is the case then how can one become a mid-level developer without job experience? Do I just have to work on a ton of projects?

Also I won't ignore the comments about my analytical and problem solving skills. What can I do to work on those? I figured that with project experience those would strengthen. Also I figured that companies may be scared about developers with weak problem solving skills because they would struggle with projects or take a long time to figure something out but isn't that what Google is for? There isn't one project that I've worked on that I didn't have to Google something and I can honestly say that I probably wouldn't be able to finish solo projects if I could not look something up.

My thought process is I could somehow obtain the experience of a Mid-level developer then when I go to a junior level interview I'll knock it out of the park and get hired. Then depending on the company get a salary increase in the first 6 months due to my "mid level" work. Also if I was at a mid-level I probably should be looking at mid-level interviews but that just means I can look at two sets of job pools then.

This post has been edited by lamentofking: 02 April 2015 - 06:13 PM


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Replies To: How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

Posted 02 April 2015 - 06:12 PM

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but because my problem solving and analytical skills don't meet expectations.

In what ways? Programming is all about problem solving and analytical skills.

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What can I do to work on those? I figured that with project experience those would strengthen. Also I figured that companies may be scared about developers with weak problem solving skills because they would struggle with projects or take a long time to figure something out but isn't that what Google is for?

Google is about finding the right tools and reading up on approaches. The developers are still making the decisions, which involves analyzing the tradeoffs between different approaches and picking the best one.

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There isn't one project that I've worked on that I didn't have to Google something and I can honestly say that I probably wouldn't be able to finish solo projects if I could not look something up.

We all feel this way.
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#3 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

Posted 02 April 2015 - 06:31 PM

Sorry, but honestly this comes across as, "How do I become CEO with out business experience?"

Until you have work under you, on a professional level, time in grade, and more experience tackling larger problem sets, you are a Jr Dev. And that isn't a bad thing. But if you can't meet expectations of a junior role, why do you think that you would be able to meet the expectations of a more senior role? Mid and Senior developers make more decisions on the how and mentor the junior developers. You just aren't there yet. Keep trying and keep working on your own projects, and try developing your problem solving abilities.
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#4 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

Posted 02 April 2015 - 07:31 PM

View Postastonecipher, on 02 April 2015 - 09:31 PM, said:

Sorry, but honestly this comes across as, "How do I become CEO with out business experience?"

I know the secret handshake, & I refuse to share.
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#5 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

Posted 02 April 2015 - 07:46 PM

Daddy owns the company? Free Mason? Entrepreneur?
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#6 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

Posted 02 April 2015 - 08:25 PM

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Also I figured that companies may be scared about developers with weak problem solving skills because they would struggle with projects or take a long time to figure something out but


Yes, very much so.

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Isn't that what google is for?


No. Actually, it isn't. Google is useful for finding very specific information that you already know you need, and it's useful for presenting you with options if you're able to specify your requirements in a way that google can understand. Google is not a magic brain that turns you into a seasoned developer.

Yes, every developer relies on the vast collection of information searchable via google. Without it, we'd be sunk. But you have to start with an ability to analyze a situation and determine what's needed, and understand what that's going to look like - before you ever start looking for it. You have to be able to figure out what exactly is the problem you're trying to solve, and what are the usual ways this is solved, and what are the local constraints that apply here that mean you want to do it this way instead of that way. Those are three sorts of knowledge that google simply can't provide, you can only get them through experience.

Look, if the problems a developer solves could be solved just by searching for the answer at google, then developers wouldn't make the money you're hoping to make. In fact, there wouldn't be developer jobs, because anyone would be able to do it. Yes, google provides a lot. Now the question becomes, what do you bring to this party?


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I'm starting to think that junior level developer roles are made harder to obtain than mid-level roles on purpose only because companies are afraid to hire a junior developer that wouldn't make them any money.


If they didn't want to hire a junior developer, they wouldn't waste staff time reading resumes and interviewing to try to hire one. The junior developer role is hard to hire because you're trying to see not just what the candidate can do today, but what they can grow into in six months or a year. You're knowingly taking on someone who's not only going to be less productive than a more senior candidate, but is also going to soak up some productivity from the rest of the team. That's a hard bullet to bite, and you want to make sure the effort will be worth it - this is probably why you've experienced a lot of whiteboarding and logic puzzles.
If someone can say "yes, I've done that, and here's how I did it" then the conversation is usually at a much higher level.
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#7 lamentofking  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

Posted 03 April 2015 - 06:16 AM

I see what you all are saying. Sometimes google has what I need almost cut-and-paste like. Sometimes I have to apply what I've learned to my specific problem.

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In what ways? Programming is all about problem solving and analytical skills.
They haven't told me in what ways my problem solving skills aren't meeting their expectations but I do know that I haven't been able to get every question right that they ask. And these are random questions that they ask like how many marbles do you have to choose before you get 1 of each color, knowing how many of each color you have. I know questions like that would have similar logic when dealing with searching and sorting and I can code something like that.

Quote

Sorry, but honestly this comes across as, "How do I become CEO with out business experience?"

Until you have work under you, on a professional level, time in grade, and more experience tackling larger problem sets, you are a Jr Dev. And that isn't a bad thing. But if you can't meet expectations of a junior role, why do you think that you would be able to meet the expectations of a more senior role? Mid and Senior developers make more decisions on the how and mentor the junior developers. You just aren't there yet. Keep trying and keep working on your own projects, and try developing your problem solving abilities.
That's why I was asking how to get experience without actually working somewhere because apparently I haven't done enough business projects to have good problem solving skills. I mean my first developer job was a Mid-level role after all. Shouldn't I just go for another Mid-level role then? Seems like it is easier to get.

And if there is a good book on strengthening problem solving skills I'll be more than willing to read it.

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Look, if the problems a developer solves could be solved just by searching for the answer at google, then developers wouldn't make the money you're hoping to make. In fact, there wouldn't be developer jobs, because anyone would be able to do it. Yes, google provides a lot. Now the question becomes, what do you bring to this party?
Well google just provides the information but what I'll be able to do is apply the information into a working solution. If I've completed several independent projects and one business project on my own before I don't see why they don't think I'd be able to handle a Jr. Dev position.
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#8 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

Posted 03 April 2015 - 08:32 AM

Discrete mathematics, helps your logic. That is why math is a big part of a CS degree.


There are red and blue socks in a drawer. You can only pull one sock out at a time. What is the maximum number of socks you need to pull out of the drawer before you have a matching pair?

This post has been edited by astonecipher: 03 April 2015 - 08:33 AM

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#9 lamentofking  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

Posted 03 April 2015 - 09:48 AM

View Postastonecipher, on 03 April 2015 - 11:32 AM, said:

There are red and blue socks in a drawer. You can only pull one sock out at a time. What is the maximum number of socks you need to pull out of the drawer before you have a matching pair?
At first I was going to ask you how many socks of each color are there but that is irrelevant. The answer is 3 socks.
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#10 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

Posted 03 April 2015 - 09:50 AM

What if your 2nd attempt lands a sock with a hole in it?
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#11 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

Posted 03 April 2015 - 09:54 AM

Grab some logic tests online and start running through them. It has two goals.


1 you may run across questions that you will see again from job interviews.
2 it lets you flex your logic skills.

I have done badly on those as well. Nothing you can really do about it.
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#12 andrewsw  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

Posted 03 April 2015 - 10:03 AM

Life is simpler with unmatched socks
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#13 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

Posted 03 April 2015 - 10:04 AM

Does the sock still count if it is crunchy?
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#14 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

Posted 03 April 2015 - 10:11 AM

Crunchy socks can only mean one thing.

The neighbor has started locking her windows before she goes to work, again :/
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#15 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get from Junior to Mid-Level Developer without Job Experience?

Posted 03 April 2015 - 10:43 AM

View Postlamentofking, on 03 April 2015 - 08:16 AM, said:

If I've completed several independent projects and one business project on my own before I don't see why they don't think I'd be able to handle a Jr. Dev position.


There are two sides of that interview desk. It sounds to me like you're putting a lot of responsibility on the far side of it. Perhaps you should see if you can find somoene who would be willing to conduct a mock interview with you and help you assess your performance. You might ask friends in tech, or you might call a professional career counsellor, since this is the sort of thing that they're likely to be good at.

Also, you might consider going to recruiters. They can be a big help if you're trying to get your foot in the door, and since they're paid by the placement, they have a lot of incentive to get you into something that's going to work for you.
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