How to Land Your First Tech Job

Tech Career Hub
Written by:
App Academy
Published on:
March 18, 2024
man working from laptop

Discover how to land your first tech job with effective strategies, key skills, and networking tips. App Academy offers remote courses to kickstart your coding career.

Wondering how to land your first tech job is a natural inquiry any first-time developer makes.

In reality, securing your first role in the tech industry is much simpler than you probably imagined – but having the right training and a calculated plan for finding your first opportunity are the first steps.

Keep reading to equip yourself with practical steps on how to transform your tech career dreams into a palpable job offer. In this article, you’ll:

  • Discover effective strategies to secure your first tech job
  • Gain an understanding of key skills needed in the tech industry
  • Learn about useful resources for job hunting in the tech market

Understanding the Tech Industry Landscape

Navigating the tech industry as a newcomer can be daunting, but there is a huge demand for individuals with technical skills. Despite volatility in the job market currently, it’s still an ideal time to break into the tech industry and find lucrative job opportunities.

Nearly every tech startup is on the lookout for fresh talents who are up-to-date on the latest technologies, while established tech companies are looking for professionals to breathe new life into old strategies.

One of the best ways to get a leg up in landing your first tech job despite having no experience is understanding and possibly working within emerging technologies and the more booming industries within tech.

Working with Emerging Technologies

The future of the tech industry is often dictated by its latest trends: This could be anything from machine learning to data science to cybersecurity. Understanding what is on the horizon can give you a competitive edge in job applications, and many of these tech sectors offer certifications for even deeper learning.

Enhancing Your Skillset to Land Your First Tech Job

It goes without saying that technical skills are a must-have for any aspiring professional. If you don’t already have the skills to brush up on, including popular programming languages, data analysis tools, and software development methodologies, learning them will be a fundamental first step. 

At the rate that tech skills advance, a coding bootcamp is a popular choice for new learners because you can adapt to new technologies and practices quicker than you would in a computer science degree program. At App Academy, we offer both free and paid online courses for every kind of learner.

Beyond those harder, more technical skills, soft skills are equally essential. Good communication, adaptability, problem-solving mindset, and teamwork often top the list of desired qualities in tech job descriptions.

Networking Your Way Into Your First Tech Job

While the number is likely far less than what’s reported, many beginners still find their jobs by networking. By attending tech meetups, industry events, or webinars, you’ll be exposed to industry insights and open doors to opportunities. 

Social media platforms like your LinkedIn profile can also be used for networking and job searches. Follow companies and influencers in your desired niche, engage with their posts, and make sure your profile clearly communicates your career intentions and skills.

Utilizing Hiring Platforms and Job Boards

There is no shortage of job boards that advertise entry-level roles in various career paths. Websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, or Glassdoor are good places to start. There are also tech-focused job boards that you might want to look at, including outlets like Wellfound that places startup talent. 

Preparing for the Job Interview

The final step to landing your first tech job is to ace the job interview. Understand the common types of interview questions and know how to answer them. Technical knowledge is obviously a huge part of this, but also consider questions around team dynamics, problem-solving, and how you handle failure.

See also: Software Engineering Interview Questions and A Comprehensive Guide on How to Prepare for a Coding Interview.

During this job interview, the hiring manager will likely go over your portfolio. For any aspiring tech professional, having a comprehensive and compelling portfolio will be pivotal to landing your dream job.

How to Get Your First Tech Job: Building a Strong Portfolio

Building a portfolio doesn’t just showcase your projects or highlight your capabilities. A portfolio allows you to identify your tech interests and strengths, showcase effective learning and engaging projects, and present your portfolio professionally to up your credibility and drop any perceived risk employers may have about hiring you.

Step 1: Identifying Your Tech Interests and Strengths

From software development to data analysis to cybersecurity, there are a number of different tech domains and capabilities you can showcase in your tech portfolio.

Step 2: Developing Projects that Showcase Your Skills

You've identified your tech interests and strength; now, it's time to translate this into language employers understand — projects.

Every project you create demonstrates key elements, including problem identification, creative problem-solving, attention to detail, critical thinking, and more. Highlighting these capabilities can up your chances of securing your first tech job.

Remember: These projects aren't just about landing tech roles or finding work experience. They're also an opportunity to explore various aspects of tech, refine your strategies and develop agility, or the ability to adapt and respond to new insights and ideas.

See also: How to Put Together the Ultimate Programmer Portfolio to Apply to Jobs

Step 3: Presenting Your Portfolio Professionally

With a solid portfolio in hand, the final step lies in presenting it professionally. Tech recruiters in web development roles spend less than 5 minutes reviewing an application, so your portfolio needs to be visually appealing, quickly digestible, and relevant to the role you’re applying for.

Start by outlining a clean, intuitive site structure for your portfolio. This helps recruiters navigate effortlessly. Showcase your projects and include briefs, objectives, approaches, and solutions. Don't forget to highlight the skills demonstrated within each project, adding weight to your abilities.

Lastly, aim for visual appeal. Simple, subtle design elements can enhance your portfolio's design. A well-presented tech portfolio isn't just about landing that first job — it communicates your commitment to thoroughness.

Now that you have the relevant skills and a portfolio to showcase them, explore the different ways you can gain the experience needed to land that first tech job.

Gaining Relevant Tech Experience Necessary to Get Your First Tech Job

While demand is still high for tech professionals, the talent pool is filling quickly. However, not everyone vying for an entry-level position in tech goes about it the right way. By taking the following steps, you’ll set yourself up for success in landing your first role — even if you don’t have years of experience to boot.

The TL;DR:

  • Earning tech experience is about making yourself more marketable
  • Internships and apprenticeships are pivotal to getting your foot in the door
  • Volunteering and freelancing add to your knowledge pool - don't overlook them 

Internships, Apprenticeships, and Entry-Level Positions

Everyone needs a launchpad to better understand the tech industry's pulse and learn from seasoned tech professionals. An internship or apprenticeship offers an avenue to do that without the pressure of becoming a full-time employee, but an entry-level position catapults you into the world of tech and lets you engage with potential employers.

Whichever path you choose, approach them as an opportunity to learn, get hands-on experience, and implement skills rather than ticking boxes to complete job assignments. With the right mindset, these can be powerful stepping stones to a rewarding tech career. 

Volunteering and Freelancing

Outside the traditional tech workspace, there are opportunities galore to enhance your tech experience. One of the best ways to do this is to volunteer for tech-based projects in your community or online. This serves two purposes – it gives you real-world challenges to solve, and it opens the doors to networking with other tech enthusiasts.

Freelancing is another viable pathway for job seekers to rack up tech experience. Whether it's building websites, coding apps, or offering tech consultations, freelancing grants you the flexibility of choosing projects that align with your skills and interests while expanding your portfolio.

Get Your First Tech Job With App Academy

To land your first job in tech isn't the daunting task it once was – that is, if you use the right outlets. Aspiring tech professionals will find that App Academy can provide the training, the portfolio compilation, and the networking opportunities you need to get that first job.

Now, all of our courses are remote (and no longer in-person). Anyone, anywhere start their coding career at App Academy. 

Sign up for a live online info session to learn more or schedule a 1:1 call with one of our team experts and see how far your new career can take you!


Don’t miss a beat with The Cohort!

We’ll send you the latest Tech industry news, SWE career tips and student stories each month.

You can unsubscribe at any time. View our Privacy Policy.
Thank you! You've now been subscribed to The Cohort.
There has been an error. Please try again.

Interested in an App Academy Bootcamp?

One of our coding bootcamps, prep course or free online coding platform (App Academy Open) could be the next step you need to make a lasting career change!