Having a job is a competition game that people ignore, in this content we will be talking about how I started my Software Development Journey without any University degree, of course having a University degree is great but even if you do have one, you can still struggle to land a dream job.

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The Competition

When we talk about recruitment the competition is never to be neglected no matter how high your profile is, how many computer science students graduate each year in your country or your local area? Let’s consider the Canadian tech ecosystem as an example.

Each year almost 300 000 students graduate, maybe 10% of them are going to be disappointed after school and they’ll resign or switch industries, and 10% are going to be full-time entrepreneurs creating startups or companies no matter what you call it, we can have another 10% of margin error I don’t know why.

New Grad Competition Matrix

So you still have ~70% of your promotional year to compete with to land a job. Nowadays, the IT space is open for each country so other people from outside of your country are going to be interested in your local area jobs as well. To give you a perspective, I am an example, I’m coming from Cameroon and for two years now I’ve been working in Canada, specifically in the Quebec region.

And let’s not forget that maybe another 10 or 20% of people are coming from different industries to be in Tech so they are going to be in the competition equation and each year passing by increases the competition or increases the difficulty for junior profiles to land a job because people who graduated during the precedent year will have one year of experience in their CVs.

Now considering all of those facts, are you sure that for a specific job, you are going to be the one selected? You have to think about it.

You are Recruited for Your Value

Software companies or even better companies, in general, don’t pay you to have a University degree, instead, they pay you to produce value even if those who have University degrees appear to be more valuable. We can see that the most important thing you hear in this context is the value that you provide to the companies. So if in the end you produce or you provide more value to the companies you are more likely to be recruited than others.

My Story, Portfolio, and Resources

Now, let’s come back to my story. I went to the university but since day one I followed some special courses in parallel. you may surely know about them already we have some great platforms like Coursera for example where you can see almost any courses on all the topics that you may be interested in. I followed the FreeCodeCamp curriculum as well even if I didn’t finish it, and I attended a very special training course (DART TC) in my local area, a very intensive program that gave me so many skills to be a Full Stack developer. I know what we learned at school was important but that last training course gave me a more competitive Advantage because it was very implicated to provide the skills that are in demand in the IT space. That is why a few people are disappointed with the Academic Curriculum since it tends to be very theoretical instead of practical.

After this, I had a great portfolio, your portfolio is your weapon, mine was very interesting because I had so many projects I worked on, front-end development projects, back-end development projects, APIs, some integrations as well as mobile development because I wasn’t sure yet what I should do. I was interested in anything so during the recruitment process I had so many things to talk about, I could have some long technical discussions with the person interviewing me. I don’t know about you but where are you in that equation? Do you have some competitive advantages over the people who apply for the same job as you? My first interview was a killer one because I was able to select two projects in my portfolio to demonstrate that I was capable of doing the job and of course, I got selected.

Be Consistent

Let’s note that before even being a career path, software development started to be a passion for me. So since the beginning, I was able to put in at least 10 hours per day to sharpen my skills. That is how I got my first software development job 1.5 years after I terminated my secondary school. Even though I still had two years to complete my Bachelor’s degree since it was pending.

Be consistent in Tech

Socialization & Recommendations

More importantly, you should know that if you are a genius and no one knows you are a genius, you may not be useful at all. So you have to expose yourself to opportunities outside: go to local meetups, attend tech conferences or workshops online, interact with people to be seen or to be known around. We never know where the recommendation can come for you to take that advantage to have a job or an opportunity that will Skyrocket your career. What about even starting a technical blog to show what you are learning during your journey? I have been doing that since the beginning of my Tech Career and I do remember so many times people contacting me to present me an opportunity because they have seen one of the articles that I released online. I have written for so many platforms already, for NumericaIdeas the community that I’m building right now, for other well-respected platforms like Baeldung where you can see so many Java articles that I released, and for Alibaba Cloud cloud provider.

Being Creative: Beyond the Courses

Being creative is also an essential skill to have, I do remember so many workshops that we have done during some physical or online courses that I took on the side I changed a few stuff on them and even created something very similar to practice what I learned and show them in my portfolio. Nowadays, I don’t even know how many projects I have done before because they are a lot.

Be Part of a Community

That is all that I had for you today and I hope it is useful. If you have any questions regarding your own experience, do let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget we have a whole community to support you. Bye and see you in the next video.

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About Orleando Dassi

I'm a Solutions Architect with 10 years of experience who is constantly learning while impacting the community by producing technical articles/videos, building projects, and conducting tech mentoring/coaching sessions. What describes me the most is my flexibility. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.