Getting a job as a self-taught web developer

Web development is a highly competitive industry — in fact, arguably one of the most competitive in the world today — and if you’re looking for a job as a self-taught developer, especially online, you’re going to feel the pinch even harder.

With an increasing number of young people entering the industry, many aspiring web developers find themselves wondering how difficult it is to actually get a job.

Forget about building your career for now, because for self-taught web developers the market can be tough.

Be ready to show your worth.

Web development is a highly competitive industry — in fact, arguably one of the most competitive in the world today — and if you’re looking for a job as a self-taught developer, especially online, you’re going to feel the pinch even harder.

It’s challenging to stand out in any saturated industry, and for web development, this problem only becomes harder. You’re competing against thousands of colleagues distributed across the globe.

Some of the most sought-after web developers and design studios of the decade come from all parts of the world.

There are, fortunately, numerous ways to stand out and make your statement.

You’re tasked with creating a presence for yourself to show off your services and talents, in order that they’re discovered by prospective hirers. Creating profiles online that showcase the quality and standard of your work is going to be your best friend.

In fact, for aspiring web developers, this is often the key to success.

Remaining accessible, and allowing recruiters to discover you in as many ways as possible is also going to work in your favor.

Not only do you need to be able to offer greater talent than your competing colleagues, but a vital element in building your success as an aspiring web developer lies in your ability to communicate. It’s imperative that you’re able to communicate each and every way that your unique skill and creative flair are going to benefit your client — in a way that your competition simply can’t.

Besides the usual tricks such as blogging and displaying your works in a cutely animated portfolio, one little-known technique is to offer free forms of education to your peers online.

Creating a personal outlet via social networking sites such as Medium, or even Twitter, can act as a resource for your own freebies and short how-tos, which more often than not, will land you a little following of your own.

A public display of your capabilities like this can offer prospective recruiters a small window into your world, so they’re able to see more than just your end products from your portfolio.

Networking is important too, of course, because it increases your exposure and subsequently the number of eyes in front of your work.

Again, being able to differentiate yourself from your colleagues while networking will solidify a stronger, lasting impression in a potential hirer’s mind. The oldest and most proven method of advertising is word of mouth, and as a web developer this will create waves in your clientele portfolio, likely landing you more jobs than any other form of personal promotion.

Most people hold the belief that being self-taught makes it more difficult to stand out against somebody who holds a degree, or various educational certificates in their field of interest. But thankfully, and rightly so, most recruiters realize that there is very little, if any correlation between formal education and the capabilities of web developers.

There are far more resources available to aspiring web developers online than will ever be found in textbooks, or can ever possibly be teachable as part of an educational course. The potential for learning in the industry is pretty much infinite, with such an explosive variety of programming languages and constantly evolving best practices.

In fact, students with a background of formal education should stay cautious that graduation is not the end of the road for their learning. The web development industry changes every single day.

Whether that’s a blessing or a curse, we’ll never know.

New information is released online each day detailing the constantly evolving technology, guidelines and best practices in the web development industry. Put simply, no matter your educational background, web developers will be learning until the day they retire.

All in all, though certain recruitment situations could potentially be more emotionally taxing for self-taught web developers, it’s unlikely that an educational background in the subject area will practically be of any help to you. Once you have a proven track record of your capabilities, it’s likely that the vast majority of employers will see far past your educational history.

As I mentioned earlier, most hirers today understand the lack of correlation between education and ability within this industry. Successful showcasing of your skills and what you are able to offer is far more likely to sway recruiters.

There are so many benefits to being self-taught, and above all, it’s a great personal achievement.

In high-paced industries such as web and software development, nothing will ever be a substitute for past experience. Ultimately, hirers will have already learned this over the course of their own career.

So don’t feel pressured into education. Unless you believe that your knowledge is indeed a little rusty, of course.

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