Look at just about any list of “best jobs” or “high-paying careers for college students” and you’ll likely to see the role of web developer near the top.
And while there’s a great demand and plenty of job security for devs, competition is certainly fierce if you want to work for the best of the best in tech.
So, what do you need to stand out from the pack?
Whether you’re just out of school, finishing up your degree or are simply interested in a career change, below are the seven modern expectations of web developers looking for a proper gig.
A Strong Pulse on Industry Happenings
This is arguably one of the most overlooked aspects of both winning over interviewers and entering the developer space in the first place.
As noted by Reciprocity Labs, technology firms face an enormously volatile climate. This rings true whether we’re talking about security concerns, user data and the demands of any given tech-based organizations.
Understanding these concerns and struggles is key to highlighting the pain points faced by potential employers during an interview. Knowing the big-picture problems faced by your company of choice can help you stand out as someone who can help that organization versus a newbie dev with stars in their eyes.
Mastery of the Basics
Not all developers are created equal in terms of what they know or where they went to school.
That said, there are some base-level expectations that employers have when it comes to know-how. For example, consider the sort of “basics” that you should have under your belt such as a preference of front-end versus back-end, experience working with GitHub and plenty of terminal usage.
Realistic Salary Requirements
It’s no surprise that developers make good money, but that doesn’t mean you should bust through the door of your ideal employer demanding big bucks. Remember: there are factors to consider such as the size of the company you’re interviewing with, the local cost of living and, yes, your own track record.
For example, the starting median salary for a web developer is around $66,000, with a near-six figure salary waiting for those cutting their teeth at top-tier companies
In short, don’t expect a Google salary if you’re getting your start at a small startup in the Midwest. Also bear in mind there’s always move for upward movement in due time for those who manage to prove themselves.
A Robust Portfolio
Although conventional jobs put heavy emphasis on resumes, developers live and die by the quality of their portfolios. While highlighting your areas of expertise and past projects, don’t neglect the elements of a strong developer portfolio including clear navigation, attractive design and an emphasis on your process versus the final product.
The Right Work Ethic
At the end of the day, work is work.
This rings true for developers, despite how laid back your company culture might be in terms of deadlines and commitments.
Don’t expect to be given free reign to come into the office at any time or work from home from the word “go.” The fact remains that developers put in the hours just like anyone else, and this fact might be a wake-up call for those who’ve been totally sucked in by Silicon Valley stereotypes.
Willingness to Work as Part of a Team
Developers can’t afford to be total islands these days, especially given the heavy emphasis on teamwork in the tech world.
If you’ve mostly worked on your own, it’s important to open your mind and understand the sort of “greater good” mentality adopted by modern companies. The transition to team-based projects is often a smooth one if you approach it with a positive attitude.
Real World Experience
There’s perhaps nothing more telling either on a resume or during a developer interview than what you’ve actually done in the field. Does this mean you’re sunk if you haven’t held a proper developer gig in the past? Absolutely not. Instead, consider the following
- Any internships you completed during your time in school, including class-based projects with real-world implications
- Local events such as hackathons that you’ve attended, showing again your willingness to get involved in the field
- Conferences you’ve attended to show your commitment to staying involved in the world of tech
And this final point brings our list full-circle.
Modern tech companies don’t just want developers: they want people who are willing to totally commit themselves to not only their companies but a sort of greater good. The more you’re able to prove that you’re “all-in” in terms of the development space, the better.
There’s no desire that web developers are in incredibly high demand, especially given the bustling nature of today’s startups and tech culture. That said, getting hired does require some keen attention to detail beyond the likes of your resume.
By ticking these boxes, you’ll be more likely to snag your dream developing gig and jumpstart your career accordingly.