The ROadmap: 5 Steps to Getting a High-Paying New Job as a developer
Step #1: Choose the Right Programming Language
Choosing the wrong programming language will stall your career. No matter how proficient or brilliant you are at writing code, if you don’t have the specific skills most employers require they won’t be willing to work with you.
On the other hand, simply choosing the right language can get you unstuck at a job you don’t like and catapult you to a new company that treats you like a rock star.
It’s basic supply and demand. Choose a language that most companies rely on, and master that. You’ll have employers competing over you, rather than you competing against other developers.
That’s why the typical “Which programming language should I learn?” question is the wrong place to start.
It’s the tail wagging the dog.
Ask that question on Twitter and you’ll be flooded with arguments about things that don’t matter. Remember - coding trivia is great for winning a feud in a forum, but won’t score you a great job in the real world.
Here's how the decision usually happens:
Entry-level developers fall in love with the coding language adopted by their favorite startups. The dream is that if they learn the stack of the companies they use every day then perhaps they will work at their favorite startup, or one like it.
Experienced programmers have the opposite problem. They wont budge from the language, framework, or pattern that's been working for them for the last decade. They'll stick with it even if the world has moved on and their job prospects are shrinking.
The new, better question is: “Which coding language will get me a stable, high-paying job?”
Which language and framework is used by companies that offer eight-hour work days, ample vacation time, sick leave, and generous 401k plans?
Which language and framework is in high demand at the companies you can trust to be around for a while so you won't find yourself looking for a new job every three years?
That's why at Coder Foundry we teach the .NET framework.
We find .NET is used by the type of company you should target if you want a great job in any area of the country.
Take a look at the chart below from Indeed.com. It compares the number of programming jobs for various technologies. Throughout the eight-year period represented on this chart, .NET is consistently the most sought after skill.
You don’t hear a lot of news about .Net in the tech press. But don’t be fooled. Microsoft .NET is a platform that drives business technology at many of the top corporations in the United States, like Starbucks, Chase, 3M, Match.com, and more.
.NET is the predominant technology used to drive enterprise-scale business technology, and the demand at these companies for coders that can use .NET is overwhelming.
If you want a programming job from a company that’s been around for 25 years, and will be around for 25 more, .NET is the way to go.
(Note - if you're interested in learning .NET we have a new class starting on Sept. 28th. Learn more about it right here.)
Step #2: Learn As Fast As Possible
Every profession follows the 80/20 rule. That is, 80 percent of the stuff you do in your job comes from 20 percent of the stuff you learned in college.
Working as a full-time programmer is no different. Out of everything there is to know about a coding language or framework, only a tiny bit of it is needed to solve the business problems you'll encounter every day at a job.
The trick is knowing what to master, and what to skim over.
Memorizing everything is a waste of time and won't give you the deep skills you need for a job.
And focusing on the sexy features of a language that never get used in the real world is just as bad.
That's why at Coder Foundry we don't teach computer science theory, and we don't let you spin your wheels with coding minutia. Instead we give you three or four real projects to accomplish during a tight 12 weeks. We teach you enough of the front-end and backend languages to make it work - nothing more, and nothing less.
Because the course is structured this way you graduate from the class with indelible, hard earned knowledge that won't evaporate after you leave the class. Instead you'll have the confidence to ace any technical interview and hit the ground running at your next job.
That's "what" we teach. "How" we teach is also important.
We use the Montessori method, a hundred-year-old Italian approach to teaching that puts the emphasizes hands-on learning over sitting and listening to lectures. In our class you get a brief lesson, then we set you loose to do a lot of individual coding.
Andrew Jensen, our Director of Education and Lead Instructor explains it well:
"Computer science students at the undergraduate level don't get an opportunity to code as much as I believe the need to in order to be a competitive in the job market
Typically an undergraduate student might only get about a hundred hours coding during the course of their work in getting a computer science degree.
Here Coder foundry we do so much more. In 12 weeks the students that we have right now are going to be completing about six hundred hours of coding. So they get a substantial amount of coding compared to [what] undergraduate students get.
And we believe that makes them far more marketable in terms of being competitive in today's job market."
So, learn the right things the right way. That's the second step in the roadmap to getting your next job as a developer.
(If you're interested in this accelerated "bootcamp" style of learning, then we have a new class starting up on Sept 28th. Click here to learn more.)
Step #3 Build Your Portfolio With The Right Projects
As a programmers there are two mistakes you should avoid with your professional portfolio:
Mistake #1: Relying on applications you created for a previous company.
If you include a project in your portfolio you should have full access to the app and full access to the code. You shouldn't be telling your interview what's on the other side of a password-protected area. And you must be prepared to show your code when asked.
Typically with an application you built for someone else you no longer have the ability to show off the elements of the project that prove your ability. So you need to have your own project, one that you have complete control over.
Mistake #2: Relying on applications you created for yourself.
That app you created to make your life easier may impress your coder friends, but unless it has a well-designed user interface it shouldn't be shown during a job interview.
Even if the hiring manager has technical aptitude, you still only want to present your best, most polished work. You don't know who else will be in the room for your interview, or who else wants to see your work before the final decision is made.
So not only does the project need to be yours, it has to be attractive and easy for your next job to understand.
At Coder Foundry we have you fill your portfolio with job-winning projects.
We know what employers are looking for. And we know what bores or confuses them. That's why we have you focus on projects that resemble the type of work your next boss will have you doing day-in and day-out.
The logic is simple. We want you to get immediate recognition from an employer that you know what you’re doing and will be a perfect fit for their organization. The right portfolio has that power. So choose your projects wisely.
(Want to know which projects fill our students' portfolio? Read our complete syllabus.)
Step #4 Win the Technical Interview
The technical interview is the part of the job hunt most developers focus on. "If I can just an employer to see how skilled I am, I'll land a great job" is the thinking.
It also causes you the most worry. What if you're not as smart as you think you are? What if they "expose" you with a particularly tough question?
In reality the technical interview is the easy part.
If you've followed the other steps in the Roadmap you can take control of the interview and prove that you're the right person for the job.
If you've chosen an in-demand language you'll have your pick of many different jobs. Your entire career won't rest on a single interview at a single company.
If you've built a winning portfolio you won't have to memorize technical trivia. You'll be able to impress with projects that matter to a business.
And if you've learned your skills the right way you'll have confidence that you can contribute to a company on day one. And that confidence will show to the interviewer.
The technical interview is won weeks before you ever meet with an employer.
If you follow the right process the interview becomes more of a formality than a make-or-break event.
At Coder Foundry we focus on making you the best candidate for a job. So everything we give you prepares you for the moment you're in a board room showing off your code to a company.
(Want face-to-face interview help and personal instruction from our team of real hiring managers? We're starting a new class on Sept 28th. Click here to apply and we'll tell you more details.)