John Coppola was part of DigitalCrafts' Full Stack Immersive September 2016 Cohort and graduated in January 2017. John previously was an ESL Teacher in Spain, but had a passion for creating. He loves how the technology industry landscape is constantly changing, and that is why he was drawn to coding. John is now living out his dream in New York City as a Web Developer with Insiten, but it took time and dedication to start his career after DigitalCrafts. He recently took some time out of his busy schedule to give us some tips for new developers on the job hunt.
The Time to Apply
John started applying for jobs with a month left in the program. He's glad he started that far out because it gave him time to get used to the application process and experience talking about his new skills with employers and recruiters. John was relocating to New York City, so he even had time to schedule interviews with companies in NYC after the program was over.
Don't Restrict Yourself
Students can tend to gravitate to a certain job title or tech stack when looking for a job. While John was seeking a front-end position, he also applied to plenty of full-stack positions.
"I think the fewer restrictions you hold yourself to, the better your prospects will ultimately be."
Importance of a Portfolio
John placed importance on creating and maintaining a LinkedIn profile, GitHub account, and portfolio. While looking for a job, he placed importance on all three. However, in his opinion, he thinks having a well-thought-out portfolio served him well while on the job market.
"I saw most benefit from having a tight portfolio because that has appeal to both technical and non-technical employers reviewing your information."
Approach to Applying for Jobs
John applied aggressively to a large amount of jobs but would always make an effort to slow down and be more precise for a job he though looked especially interesting. While applying to a large amount of jobs, it is easy to get carried away, so John stresses the importance of double-checking resumes and cover letters.
"You don't want to make the mistake of submitting a cover letter that had the wrong company or position, left over from a previous submission. I made that mistake, which I'm sure disqualified me from the hiring process immediately."
Use Your Professional Network
John accredits his portfolio and project experience to landing a job, but his professional network also helped him along the way. Through referrals from friends, he worked a few freelancing gigs to boost his resume. He also utilized DigitalCrafts' Employer Network and alumni community to find his current full-time position in New York City.
Don't Stop Learning
1) Be rigorous and disciplined. While looking for a job, adopt a long-term mindset and get into a healthy lifestyle. Take care of yourself.
2) Track your applications in a spreadsheet so you don't lose track of where you've sent your applications.
3) Continue learning. Not only does it look great to employers that you're motivated, but it will also give you plenty to talk about during your interviews.
4) Build something useful for someone. "I built my friend a custom portfolio site, which kept my skills sharp. He could show it to people in his office while also mentioning that he had a developer friend looking for work."
Interested in how you can jump-start your career as a new developer? Download our course packet for more information about our Full Stack programs!