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Finding Your First Programming Job


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This guide serves to help anyone who is just breaking into software engineering or web development in finding the best job opportunities out there for them. In this presentation we walk through how work environments will differ depending on the type of company you choose to work for. is a learning and career development company that helps aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs focus on building successful long term careers.

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Finding Your First Programming Job

  1. 1. Finding your first programming job An engineer’s guide to evaluating opportunities Produced by: Sergei and Vadim Revzin Founders,
  2. 2. You’re finally ready to start your search for the perfect programming job
  3. 3. You know you want to work on exciting and challenging problems …what else?
  4. 4. Your day to day job will depend on a lot of factors
  5. 5. This guide will help you understand your options And, what works for you
  6. 6. What should you ask yourself when looking at opportunities?
  7. 7. • Is there a specific industry I’d like more experience in? • Do I want more exposure with a certain framework/language? • Do I wish to be a stronger back end architect? • Do I want to be an expert at scaling systems? Learning
  8. 8. • Do I prefer a lot of structure or autonomy? • Will I work better with a rigid or flexible schedule? • Would I rather work independently or collaborate with others? Environment
  9. 9. • Am I mainly motivated by the size of my paycheck? • Do I need company ownership to do my best work? • Am I more excited when I’m constantly working on new types of projects ? Incentive
  10. 10. How do you know where you’ll fit in?
  11. 11. The Anatomy of a Company …is defined by its… Size/Stage Business Model
  12. 12. Company Stage* How the size and stage will affect your job *To make it easier to analyze, we will assume that company size will grow as it matures in stage
  13. 13. Early Stage: A company that is less than 5 years old and less than 50 employees
  14. 14. Early Stage Environment: 1. Fast Moving 2. Few Rules 3. Little Structure 4. High Growth Potential
  15. 15. Fast Moving 1. New features weekly or daily 2. Do first ask questions later mentality 3. Business needs change abruptly 4. Nature of your work changes every 6 months* *This could mean you get more responsibility, or on the flip side that your duties will become more narrow. Small companies must constantly reallocate resources depending on their most immediate goals.
  16. 16. Few Rules 1. Flexible hours (just get the work done mentality) 2. Loosely defined job responsibilities 3. Easy access to executive team 4. More transparency and access to company information
  17. 17. Little Structure* 1. Little to no HR processes and personnel 2. Loose management structure 3. Unscripted day to day *On the plus side, this means that you get to contribute to creating new processes completely from scratch.
  18. 18. High Growth Potential 1. Junior talent has a lot of responsibility (wear PM hats) 2. Merit based vs. seniority alone 3. You grow with the company (often promoted in <1 year)* *On the flip side, if the company stagnates your growth opportunities can significantly diminish within the firm
  19. 19. Growth Stage: A company with 50-500 employees that is either well capitalized or reaching profitability
  20. 20. Growth Stage Environment: 1. Increased competition 2. More Structure 3. Less financial risk
  21. 21. Increased Competition 1. Greater hiring demands lead to internal competition 2. Experienced outside hires may trump loyal insiders 3. Competition results in more politics 4. Only the best talent is kept around* *This can be a great opportunity to learn from incredibly smart people who know how to scale systems and teams
  22. 22. More Structure 1. More people to report to 2. Engineering decisions depend on more people/teams 3. HR protections in place 4. Solution blueprints exist for common problems
  23. 23. Less Financial Risk 1. Salary on par with market rates 2. Stock options may be worth something 3. Lower risk of layoffs
  24. 24. Late Stage: A company with over 500 employees that is often either publicly traded or operates internationally
  25. 25. Late Stage Environment: 1. Slow moving 2. Well defined roles 3. High Brand Recognition
  26. 26. Slow Moving 1. Product decisions made by committee 2. Less room for experimentation* 3. Outdated technology stacks/systems are hard to replace *Some late stage companies are notoriously better at embracing testing/experimentation than others.
  27. 27. Well Defined Roles 1. More specialization required* 2. Fewer changes in direction 3. Less ambiguity in your day to day responsibilities *You may be required to work only on specific pieces of a product at any given time
  28. 28. High Brand Recognition 1. More brand value for your resume 2. Larger support network for future opportunities
  29. 29. How will your job be different with each business model?
  30. 30. Businesses typically fall into 3 categories *Businesses that sell to other businesses, and businesses that sell directly to consumers (you and I) B2B* B2C* Professional Services
  31. 31. Business to Business (B2B) • Working with a smaller set of large customers and fewer user numbers • Exposure to clients and the technical counterparts • Collaboration with the sales team • Performance and security are often prioritized over design
  32. 32. Business to Consumer (B2C) • Products must scale with a large volume of users • Product decisions are driven by design and data • Your work has more public visibility
  33. 33. Professional Services • Project based development environment • May participate in the sales process as the tech expert • Must deliver accurate estimates • Must be comfortable learning new systems and frameworks
  34. 34. Finding the right first job is just one step towards a successful career as a future engineering leader or entrepreneur
  35. 35. Check out for more career advice
  36. 36. OR you can always email us at and