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How do you know when you're ready to apply for your first web developer job?

My vanilla JS learning resources are focused on beginners, and many of them don’t have jobs as web developers yet.

Sometimes they’re designers or UX professionals looking to break into development. Other times, they’re people looking to make a career change.

I often get asked some variation of this question:

How do you know when you’re ready to apply for your first job as a web developer?

It’s comforting to think there’s a moment where you’re like, “Aha, I know what I’m doing now!” But in reality, there will always be things that make you feel like you have no idea what the hell you’re doing.

A big part of being successful as a developer is acknowledging the things you don’t know, asking a lot of questions, and staying curious.

I applied to dozens of jobs over a two year span.

I got ignored by many of them. Just no response at all.

I got invited to some “get to know you” interviews that never went further. I had some horrible technical interviews at a few, and got “surprise technical interviewed” at what was supposed to be a casual “get to know you” interview.

When I finally got my first gig as a web developer, I felt like a giant fraud.

Apply anyways

The thing you should keep in mind is that there are tons of people with the same skill level as you that companies would love to (and do) hire.

The only difference between them and you is that they just kind of went for it.

Going through an interview process also helps you more clearly identify gaps. You’ll get asked questions you choke on, and be asked to do things that leave you totally stuck.

Then you go home, research them, and do better next time.

It’s wildly uncomfortable. But if you can push yourself to do it and not take the rejection personally, you’ll grow a lot and become a lot more focused on what you need to do to get there.

And who knows, one of those long shot interviews may turn out to be your first gig.