How to get a Job as a Front End Developer


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For career changers or general job searchers who have experience, and developers in general. Skills and subsets needed to be hirable; How and where to learn FED Skills; Job Search Preparation; Where to find job openings; How to write a resume; How to be a good interview

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How to get a Job as a Front End Developer

  1. 1. by Mike Wilcox November 2010 How to get a Job as a Front End Developer For career changers or general job searchers who have experience Developers in general can benefit
  2. 2. Overview Skills and subsets needed to be hirable How and where to learn FED Skills Job search preparation Where to find job openings How to write a resume How to be a good interview
  3. 3. Front End Developer Skills Or FED for short!
  4. 4. Minimum Skills Photoshop HTML Markup CSS JavaScript
  5. 5. Marketable Skills HTML5 CSS3 / Advanced CSS knowledge Flash / Flex / AS3 Usability Design SEO etc, etc. Note that Photoshop was the only software mentioned by nameNot too many ads for someone who knows GIMP and nobody cares that you know DVD Ripper Extreme Why are these extra skills important? See the Club AJAX blog: Why Your Company Needs A Front End Developer Why Your Company Needs A Front End Developer Why Your Company Needs A Front End Developer
  6. 6. Experience You need 'evidence' more than you need experience Language and problem solving skills Communication skills Motivation and interests. Demonstrate Drive and Attitude Get yourself known Be "pesky" Be that guy they take a chance on How do I get a job with no experience
  7. 7. Test Your Knowledge Potential questions interviewers may ask to get insight into your understanding of these basic languages
  8. 8. Photoshop / Design Difference between a JPG and a GIF? Difference between a vector and a bitmap? What is an image sprite?
  9. 9. HTML Markup When is a closing tag is needed? <div></div> <div /> Does a script tag support both text and a source? Which? <script src=”file.js”>foo = bar;</script> Why is the use of Frames discouraged?
  10. 10. CSS Box model - does border affect width? Difference between block, inline, and inline-block? How many different ways can you hide an element?
  11. 11. JavaScript What are reserved words? Your code works in all browsers but IE6 - why? In IE, what causes: Stack “Overflow line zero”?
  12. 12. JavaScript Coding Questions How fast can you code a FuzzBuzz? Write a script that reverses a string
  13. 13. Flash Terminology Flash / Flash Builder Most work done in the IDE; little code Flex / Flex builder MXML markup used as an HTML-like markup language to render ActionScript objects (still creates a SWF) AS3 Java-like code-heavy development The rumor of its demise is greatly exaggerated Note that most recruiters won't even understand these termsIn Dallas anyway, there are more jobs for Flex than there are for AJAX Because of iOS, this could be changing as we speak
  14. 14. AS3 vs JavaScript (AJAX) Which should you learn, or which should you learn first JavaScript has easier learning curve AS3 is pretty hard unless you already know Java But AS3 tends to be design-driven Flash has many perplexing nuisances: Attaching code to library items Figuring out where the hell the root "node" is Loading parameters
  15. 15. HTML vs Flex HTML is much easier Flex pays much better But Flex is a lot like jQuery - you may not know what level of knowledge the job really requires I'd still recommend learning HTML and CSS first, so you can understand the environment in which you are working.
  16. 16. Flash vs Photoshop Trick question - a designer should know both Flash is actually darn good as a design tool
  17. 17. How to learn Front End Development Front End Development
  18. 18. On the Job Don't expect teaching, training, placement or help The initiative must be yours Take on simple tasks and learn how to do them Very effective if it takes the load off of a colleague who would then also help you along the way
  19. 19. Peer Review Buddy Code (Agile) Have code review Needs to be relatively simple code Look at other code Preferably complicated code, not snippets
  20. 20. Personal Project Enormously effective for self-motivation Does not have to be brilliant or original Can simply be useful - even just to you
  21. 21. Open Source Use it, doc it, patch it, contribute, commit High Quality Open Source - Dojo good, jQuery not as good Working with open source is the opportunity to see other people's code Something FEDs don't get to often do
  22. 22. Community College Currently a college degree is not the best place to learn FED Exception: community college that happens to offer relevant courses A Bachelors in CS is certainly nice, and will open up a few more doors in large companies. College pricing should be factored into this decisionBut CS will also mess you up by teaching you too much Java :)
  23. 23. Books Books alone won't do it, but can provide the foundation. Highly recommended method for this field. Start with books on HTML and CSS Need at least an above average mastery of CSS For HTML, find one that also teaches some server basics, so you can run Apache on your computer, and push files up to an inexpensive (or free) web server A lot of JS books are bad, so you have to be careful here. The best book is David Flanagan's JavaScript the Definitive Guide. Anything by Douglas Crockford is good.
  24. 24. ABL! – Always Be Learnin' Bookmark everything! Carefully archive your test files Read Tech Books Read Blogs - keep up on technology
  25. 25. The Job Search Being Prepared Being Prepared
  26. 26. Long Term Prep Online blog This is why you don't want to be swearing on it like an asshole Facebook Yeah. They check there now. Happy birthday by the way. LinkedIn Very important Open Source work Allow a lot of time to ease your way into the community
  27. 27. Short Term Prep Resume High quality (parchment) printer paper Nice folder to hold multiple resumes and cover letters References From colleagues of former employers Use LinkedIn Online portfolio Needs to be good, clean, up to date, and working Reiterate: online. Not on a CD. FED right? Cover letter template Template for each style of job you are capable of doing Edit each one to fit opportunity
  28. 28. The Resume
  29. 29. Look at your resume from the POV of someone looking to fill a position and has 50 resumes on their desk.
  30. 30. Resume Review Stages Keyword search Mostly to online resumes like Monster Spot check for maniacs Intern filters out irrelevant resumes Due to lack of experience, too much experience, or just plain spam Expertise Filtering (not filtered by an expert) Either a peer or HR looks for qualified resumes HR may not be qualified This is why startups are better
  31. 31. Resume Review Stages c’nt Software filtering List every single professional app you know in small print Subjective filtering When the resumes actually gets read Language knowledge Few companies will retrain Amount and relevance of experience Distance to work
  32. 32. Stand Out Leave behind the stuff you learned in college No "Objective" Two pages is okay!! What does the applicant do? WHO ARE YOU? I shouldn't have to guess! Should look nice electronically or printed Printed should not be not black text on white paper, go for dark colors that match the resume paper - usually dark brown on beige parchment
  33. 33. Resume Tips Have someone else proofread it Have someone else proofread it - again.
  34. 34. Resume Examples Club AJAX Resume examples
  35. 35. The Interview
  36. 36. Nervousness Research the company Research the position Schedule least-wanted jobs first, for practice Be ready when asked “Tell me about yourself” Be Prepared
  37. 37. What is Expected of You? The quintessential blog on the subject: The Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing by Joel Spolsky
  38. 38. What is Expected of You? They are smart They get things done They are likable A good interviewer looks for three things in a computer programmer:
  39. 39. Be Smart Know your shit. Make sure you know what the requirements are and be ready to sound authoritative on your field (even if you are not – but don't lie) If you don't know the answer, explain how you would find out
  40. 40. Get Things Done Refer to projects with this in mind "I did X in X time." Keeping the interview moving along. Time wasters babble and ramble If the interview starts to lull - say "next question!"
  41. 41. Be Likable Do what your mama taught you Be polite Don't interrupt Remember everybody's name Be on time Dress appropriately When in doubt: business casual Be excited about the project / position / company
  42. 42. Be Prepared Know your price range Don’t be afraid to negotiate Know before hand how much you’ll accept in “stock” Ask for benefits details Vacation days