I often sit staring at my screen taking in all the information in front of me, wondering how I managed to retain so much in such a small space of time. Writing endless cypress UI tests or functions in PHP, dealing with the latest Laravel update, then trying to upgrade my site that's three versions out of date (Taylor slow down already), this Development stuff is hard, there are zero other ways to see it, and sometimes it sucks, big time sucks! But there are those moments when it works, those wonderful little eureka blips in the timeline of our working life.
Most of us end up working for minor tech companies, insurance firms, medical enterprises, and other non-tech related companies. Some of us will work for the big guys, Spotify, and Google's of this world. The chances are slim but it is possible. And some of us will freelance and create a wonderful little bubble that manages to get us through life, healthy and happy. This post up to this point may seem quite a depressing affair and I promise you it's not meant to for that purpose. This post is to tell you after 20 years in this industry and working across the web the hardest part of being a dev is getting through an interview.
Yep, that's right folks, the interview. The 3 stages, meet the dev, then the CTO, and then the director, with a tech test thrown in for good measure interview. To explain your working history to an army of people time and time again. To answer those awkward questions of 'What happened between 2018 and 2019 as its missing from your CV' or 'Do you plan to have a family any time soon'. Then there are the companies who show you around the office and they have free coffee, free drinks, ping pong tables and yes this happened once, a CHEF!!! an on-site cook who makes three meals a day! That sounds wonderful I hear you say! And on paper it does, but let me ask you this. If a chef is cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the office has access 24/7 how long do you think you are expected to be at the office. In my case, it was 15 hours a day!
Interviews are tough, expect tough questions, expect to answer everything including the 'What are your weaknesses?' question. And most of all be prepared to deal with recruitment agents! Oh, the agents, who call you up, make you feel like a king and never get back to you, never provide feedback and never give you insight as to why a company never got back in touch. This all sounds a pian, right? Well, it is, but if you are prepared it really doesn't matter how many Udemy courses you do, or how many CSS drawings you have, Interview prep is just as important.
In my time I've seen half-qualified devs employed because they interview well. Because they have a hunger and because they smile. The dream is real but the real world can be a nightmare, the real world is tough but you know that, so be interview prepared and you will smash the doors down and get the roles. Know your craft but know how to talk, be social, and be kind.
That's my advice and it has done me ok over the years. And if someone asks you what your weaknesses are be honest, and always be willing to change and adapt, be vocal about that.