How long does it take to become a Junior Developer?

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#1 juniorcoder20   User is offline

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How long does it take to become a Junior Developer?

Posted 19 November 2013 - 06:03 PM

I've been studying java on my own for 3 months, focusing all my time and energy into it. I do not have a technical college degree.

What are the main requirements to get a job as a junior (java) developer? What skills do I need to be focusing on? How long did it take you?

I know this is really subjective, but I believe many beginners like me would like to know how much they need to learn to be able to start writing software for the real world.

Thanks!

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#2 creativecoding   User is offline

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Re: How long does it take to become a Junior Developer?

Posted 19 November 2013 - 06:22 PM

I don't have a career or anything but I've been really trying for a junior position.

Thing is, a lot of places have different ideas of what junior means (and unfortunately not many of them includes those who some still call "junior"). I've seen places asking for four year degrees with a couple years work behind them just for some $10 or $15/hour.

I can't offer much advice though, but I'm also interested in this and will be following the thread. However I do have something to add,

How DO you find jobs? It seems as if many, if not all job sites are for full time positions and careers more than jobs. I've been listening to some people and right now what I'm doing is expanding my portfolio with personal projects, listening to recruiters, branching out as much as I can in Highschool, and occasionally applying to jobs on Craigslist.

And that reminds me something for you, OP. Do personal projects. If you have the skills you can surely do them. They're a great way to show your strengths.
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#3 supersloth   User is offline

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Re: How long does it take to become a Junior Developer?

Posted 19 November 2013 - 07:36 PM

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creativecoding is such a different person from when he joined. it's amazing.
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#4 NeoTifa   User is offline

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Re: How long does it take to become a Junior Developer?

Posted 19 November 2013 - 09:46 PM

He's still 13 though.

Wait, $10-$15 an hour?! Are you fucking kidding me? Is that all? I haven't even begun looking for jobs in the dev field yet, but I'm making $15 just pulling wire in my blue collar job. WTF? I'm not getting a degree for a job that pays less than my entry-level construction shit...
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#5 Dogstopper   User is offline

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Re: How long does it take to become a Junior Developer?

Posted 19 November 2013 - 10:08 PM

I'm making $17 an hour as an intern, but my company also pays at the low end for software development. I would say your best hope of landing one of these jobs is to do as much work as you can and have a portfolio. I don't have one, but I have job experience in my field (I got lucky in high school to land some nice jobs). For you though, I think the ability to demonstrate your knowledge will go a long way.
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#6 depricated   User is offline

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Re: How long does it take to become a Junior Developer?

Posted 19 November 2013 - 10:34 PM

I just landed my first real, true dev job, and I love it.

That said...I joined here in 2008. I learned PHP when I was 16. I'm 30. I graduated with a 2 year degree from ITT in 2010. Since I graduated I casually kept my eyes open for a Jr. Dev role and applied when I thought I might be able to land one. I spent 2 years building up my portfolio with samplings of projects that I worked on for free. When I lost my Tech Support job in June 2012, I went back on the market and strived to find a dev position. Nothing. I spent 3 months unemployed and searching until I found another pseudo-support role in September. Immediately understanding and grasping my love of programming, and not one to let a valuable resource go unused, my boss quickly designated me the 'team developer' and had me building an application to facilitate our processes. It's a beautiful thing. Our entire team was axed this year on September 30th.

I decided then that I was done with tech support and that entire toxic environment. The company offered to let me transition to other support roles. I thanked them politely, took my severance, and rewrote my resume. This time I had a year of experience developing on the job. Even if it was only as a sole developer without a team, it was a foundation to get started with. We knew our team was being terminated as early as June - the writing was on the wall. If you've been in corporate environment where paper tigers are gnashing their teeth at each other, you know what I mean. I began putting my resume out in July. We were given 3 weeks notice, and that's when I really started applying everywhere and working with staffing agencies.

There were jobs I turned down because they asked me to lie about my abilities. "I know you have the skill, but HR needs to see 'team foundation server' on your resume." No, I didn't know it so I refused to say I did. In every interview I addressed my shortcomings in a way that showed first that I wouldn't lie about them, and second that I was confident they would not be a roadblock. I'm pretty sure that's what cost me the dream job I interviewed for - but so be it. Perhaps some day in the future. I spent 2 months dedicated solely to interviewing for dev jobs (if my severance had run out before I got an offer I could have had a tech support job the day I called a staffing agency and said place me), and then in one week I got 3 offers.

Unfortunately, it's hard to say exactly when my search began. It's something I always wanted to do. When I was 18 I was trying to interview for dev jobs. When I was working tech support, I pushed to segue into any open jr dev position. After I got my AAS I tried more confidently and seriously. But it wasn't until I sat down and really focused on breaking into the field I wanted to be in that I managed it. And then it was only, what, 4 or 5 months.

Every day I go in to the office I'm ecstatic to be there. The company is as great as I had always heard (in my hometown it's a legend, people bust their ass just to get in to the mail room) and my salary is significantly higher than when I was doing tech support. The magic of being where I've wanted to be for so long will probably wear off in a few months, but for now I'm on cloud 9.

Tifa...the pay is much better. It most definitely is worth it. Just don't settle.

This post has been edited by depricated: 19 November 2013 - 10:36 PM

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#7 creativecoding   User is offline

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Re: How long does it take to become a Junior Developer?

Posted 20 November 2013 - 01:26 AM

Thanks supersloth. I fill my quota on xbox live nowadays :)

@neotifa: Yep. In fact there's so many of them I can pick one from recently (like so). In fact that's almost exactly like I described. Bachelors degree + 1-2 years outside-of-school experience. Doesn't say pay however.
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#8 belgarion262   User is offline

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Re: How long does it take to become a Junior Developer?

Posted 20 November 2013 - 02:16 AM

View PostNeoTifa, on 20 November 2013 - 05:46 AM, said:

He's still 13 though.

Wait, $10-$15 an hour?! Are you fucking kidding me? Is that all? I haven't even begun looking for jobs in the dev field yet, but I'm making $15 just pulling wire in my blue collar job. WTF? I'm not getting a degree for a job that pays less than my entry-level construction shit...



Wish I was that lucky.

I'm getting $4.32 (or rather £2.68) at my apprenticeship. I would LOVE to be making $10 an hour.

Heck, It's why I have 2 jobs :P/>

This post has been edited by belgarion262: 20 November 2013 - 02:16 AM

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#9 lordofduct   User is offline

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Re: How long does it take to become a Junior Developer?

Posted 20 November 2013 - 07:54 AM

I count myself lucky.

Wrote my first line of code in July 2007.

December 2007 got a job offer from a start-up in California (through a forum none-the-less, guy just messaged me after seeing my activity on the place).

That didn't last long, I was very green-thumb and I HATED California (I was constantly angry), gained a ton of experience though and came back home.

From there I free-lanced for a few years using the experience I gained out there. Picking up bigger and bigger contracts along the way. Worked on some fun stuff including some online games, point of sale system, shopping carts galore, and other various odd things like this weird pick your own adventure video thing.

Then I secured a job where I am now working now. Kind of actually stumbled into it. My buddy asked me if I wanted stable work that was easy so I could still freelance on the side doing support for this company. Came in, day 2 they were doing training with the database our software uses (it's a multi-dimensional database that most people don't have experience with unless they've worked with legacy software like ours, it's called PICK, some people here probably know it). In the training they were getting into some basic programming stuff, and the green-thumb programmer they had hired the same week (didn't know the position existed) was having trouble with it and I was giving him some pointers when the lead developer was like:

"you a programmer or something?"

"Umm... kind of, I freelance develop online stuff. Mostly Flash, PHP, and a little bit of .Net"

"I have a test I want you to take after this meeting."

Took the test, it was in VB.Net, had to go online to MSDN and research it to pick up the syntax. Finished the test in like 30 minutes. Got promoted right away. From what I was told all their interviewees that last week took upwards of 3 hours to finish the test.

I don't necessarily make amazing money here. But I certainly make a lot more that 10 or 15 bucks an hour.
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#10 supersloth   User is offline

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Re: How long does it take to become a Junior Developer?

Posted 20 November 2013 - 09:37 AM

my first job as a junior developer i was making $15 an hour (this was in 2004). after the first year raises came very quickly.
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#11 NeoTifa   User is offline

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Re: How long does it take to become a Junior Developer?

Posted 20 November 2013 - 12:41 PM

That's just cuz ur a beast.
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#12 KYA   User is offline

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Re: How long does it take to become a Junior Developer?

Posted 20 November 2013 - 11:37 PM

My first job out of school, as a junior dev, I was making $31.25/hr.
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#13 supersloth   User is offline

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Re: How long does it take to become a Junior Developer?

Posted 21 November 2013 - 12:41 AM

to be fair i assume you mean your job after graduating college with a CS degree? my job was at 18 with a HS diploma.
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#14 Craig328   User is offline

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Re: How long does it take to become a Junior Developer?

Posted 21 November 2013 - 11:40 AM

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So, this conversation kinda sorta touches on one I had with my kids in the car just a few days ago (they're 13 and 11 respectively). The conversation turned to grades and then college and then what to do once they're grown and out on their own. I had related my almost haphazard path from school to one industry then to being a developer and then a small business contractor.

Anyway, along the way I mention how unfortunate it is that because of the ridiculous cost of a college education these days that if either one of them want to pursue a degree something ridiculous (I think I mentioned a major in French post-impressionist art) that they'll be discovering the wide and wonderful world of borrowing...because the Mrs and I won't be ponying up tens of thousands for that crap. The daughter (who wants to be a nurse and knows 2 such so her ideal is something she's actually aware of) trying to make fun of her little brother pipes up and says "haha Garrett...you're going to be a mechanic". I then mentioned that it's telling how she decided to pick on "mechanic" as though it were somehow a less than desirable job and she came back with that they're not paid and the work is dirty.

I then related what I could recall from reading the following article about an interview/exchange Mike Rowe (the guy from Dirty Jobs) had with some young woman. That article is here and something like it ought to be required reading amongst young folk today. It came to mind when Tifa mentioned that she's already getting $15/hr for pulling wire and it prompted my recollection asking my son to do me a favor when we got home.

I asked him to do two things: get on the computer and look up what a "machinist" is...and then look around for jobs for machinists and see how much they make. He was fairly shocked with what he discovered about both.

If you're under 25 and reading this post, in all seriousness, read the link above. Our society is so heavily tilted towards "everyone-needs-a-college-degree" these days that the degrees themselves are no longer special like they used to be. Our economic system has one long standing rule: expense is determined by demand for an item versus its supply. There are virtually no young people going into skilled trades anymore and our existing workforce is retiring in droves. Beginning machinists start around $20/hr and if they get into specialized work, have been known to pull down $100K/yr. Electrician apprentices (outside workers...think linemen and guys running line from grid to building) make close to $40K their first year. Apprentices. Journeymen (the title once your apprenticeship is complete) routinely make $45-$50/hr.

In other words Tifa...keep pulling wire.
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#15 supersloth   User is offline

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Re: How long does it take to become a Junior Developer?

Posted 21 November 2013 - 11:51 AM

i have many friends with english/french literature/whatever degrees that work jobs in retail. and friends with no degrees that work as machinists or in electronic clean rooms that make twice (or more) as much as them. you're absolutely right.

it's kind of a shame how much emphasis is put on going to college in high skools when it's just not the right path for everyone. i think most people should be pushed towards trades and more emphasis put on things that matter to people every day (i.e. getting a good mortgage, making sure you aren't getting fucked on phone contracts, everything about credit cards, etc).

hell, my degree didn't teach me anything about my day to day job. the only thing i really learned was how to get a degree.

oh, also fill us in on the reaction when your daughter learns how dirty a job being a nurse is.
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