As each class gets close to graduation, students start to think about preparing for a career as an iOS developer. This morning, as part of our career services program, Mobile Makers co-founders Brandon Passley and Don Bora led a discussion, offering advice that draws on their extensive experience hiring coders in their own development companies.
The first goal of any job search is to get an employer’s attention and create opportunities to start a conversation. Whether you want to be an iOS developer full-time in a dev shop or work independently, you need to impress the people who can give you projects.
Brandon and Don's top 10 tips for getting started in a tech career
- Clean up your GitHub profile
- Create opportunities to talk through your thought process on how you approach challenges.
- Work on open source projects.
- Create as many polished apps as possible
- Return to past projects to clean them up
- Take on free or low-paying projects for the experience
- Clean up your resumé
- List projects and, more importantly, the challenges you faced in working on them
- Be specific about tools you used, such as Xcode, Objective C and core data.
- Make sure your resumé and LinkedIn page are consistent and professional.
- Have your work ready to show off
- Don’t simply hand over your phone to someone when showing your apps, but practice a walk-through presentation that shows off the features you built.
- If your code isn't perfect, know where the pitfalls are—and be prepared to talk about how you're going to fix them.
- Code daily
- Every. Single. Day.
- Set goals to give yourself a reason to code.
- Work on a mix of easy and hard challenges to give yourself some quick wins.
- Practice “code golf” and small challenges
- Take advantage of the many online resources for coding challenges.
- Get into the mindset for doing technical interviews by completing a range of challenges beforehand.
- Build features that draw on your weakest knowledge areas
- Identify the tools you struggle with, and work on challenges that use these areas.
- Make sure to include a challenge that requires pushing to and pulling from an API and uses core data. Most employers want you to have experience with these tools.
- Go to meet-ups and get to know people!
- Build your network and make personal connections. You never know where a referral will come from.
- Go to hackathons.
- Pay it back. Keep going to meet-ups even after you’re no longer seeking job leads. It’s good karma.
- Connect with recruiters
- Get to know lots of recruiters; they have great knowledge about the hiring process and you can learn from them.
- Don’t expect recruiters to share your technical expertise, so save the deeper tech talk for the employer.
- Recruiters are great resources for finding work, but many startups can’t afford them, so don’t rely solely on waiting for them to call.
- Start your blog!
- Write about your code and what you’re learning: employers like to see that you’re immersed in coding and continuing to learn.
- Commit to writing frequently; if you don’t have anything to say about code one day, write about non-tech things that are on your mind so people get to know you as a whole person.
Okay, you followed all these tips and just got a call for an interview. Awesome! Be yourself, be honest about your skills and skill levels, and when you’re in a technical interview, talk out loud about how you’d solve the challenge presented. If you’ve followed these 10 tips, you’ll be well prepared to nail it. You never know why companies choose you or choose someone else. Keep at it. Everyone wants you to do well, and with perseverance (and a great bootcamp experience!), you’ll find the right fit to start your career as an iOS developer.
Recruiters, start-up entrepreneurs, future Mobile Makers and the rest of the tech community: Join us at the end of each 8-week iOS Bootcamp for Meet the Makers, our open house graduation party where you can see the apps our students have been building. Register today for the May 1, 2014 event!