Make the Jump from Coding Course to Job Offer

Make the Jump from Coding Course to Job Offer

How to be certain you’ll land a job after completing a coding course

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Photo by NESA by Makers on Unsplash

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earning to program can be frustrating if you’re not sure you’re headed in the right direction. How do you know you’re making real, legitimate progress? Is it when you’ve earned a certification? Completed an online course?

Chances are, you’ve taken a course from Codecademy, Data Camp, or FreeCodeCamp. You may have even completed one. Online courses are great because there are clear goals. They tell you, “if you complete an intermediate class, you are now an intermediate level coder”. You’re meant to feel accomplished after completing each course module.

I remember the time I completed Coding Dojo’s intermediate Python course. I felt happy and accomplished because Coding Dojo told me I “knew” Python. Yet, something didn’t feel right. I would look at other people’s Python scripts on GitHub and feel completely lost. I would look at intermediate-level interview problems and have no idea how to solve them. Worst of all, I would “complete” different tutorials by copying and pasting code. When I realized I wasn’t learning anything I felt uncertain and adrift. I wasn’t sure if I was heading in the right direction or completing online courses and tutorials in circles.

As accessible and simple as these courses are, they don’t paint a clear picture of what it takes to learn a language.

Almost everyone struggles with this part of the learning process. How do you get out of the copy and paste rut? How do you apply what you’ve learned so you can garner interviews and get a job? Here are the ways you can overcome all those obstacles:

Find Topics You’re Most Passionate About

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Photo by Dose Media on Unsplash

If you want to apply your coding knowledge, I encourage you to find coding niches that interest you. You may have no idea where to start or what to look for. Here’s a question to help you get started:

What types of projects did you dream of completing when you decided you wanted to code?

I want you to pay attention to the types of projects you found yourself thinking about. Did you want to code a mobile app? A fancy predictive algorithm? Did you want to write a script that automated all your reporting? When I started to learn Python, I loved the idea of data mining and finding scrappy ways to pull data. I thought the idea of being a data geek was (kinda) cool and, at the very least, valuable in the job market.

I started to google phrases like “data mining” and “best beginner’s data projects”. Those searches brought me to articles about API’s, web scraping, and Selenium. Most of the information was way over my head, but I didn’t care. I was having fun. Several searches later, I settled on web scraping. I found a simple tutorial that scraped a NASDAQ stock name and price. I liked this tutorial because I understood what it was saying-I wasn’t copying and pasting! The tutorial took me three hours to complete. I had a ton of fun mulling through the code, debugging, and running the script on various stock prices. You can check out my simple web scraper here.

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