Applying To Coding Jobs Before Finishing Bootcamp? What You Need To Know

Applying for coding jobs before graduating bootcamp - Coding Career Fastlane
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Absorbing and retaining what you’re learning in your bootcamp should be your top priority, but what if you need to begin making money fast? Applying for coding jobs before finishing bootcamp may induce Imposter Syndrome if you don’t first spend time reflecting on your experience and realistically assessing your progress. You need to take stock of how far you’ve actually come and what you’ve learned. Next you can compare your accomplishments to the average entry level job listing requirements for a junior software job. Then you can figure out how to present what you know to employers by answering these questions.

Should You Start Applying For Coding Jobs Before Graduating?

Disclaimer: Spending too much time inefficiently applying for coding jobs while you’re still learning software development can really slow you down. Applying for coding jobs during a bootcamp can also help you launch your software career early, but you have to be prepared. This guide will explain what you need to know to get hired before graduating, even if you don’t have a portfolio or any professional work experience.

When are you ready to apply for jobs during a coding bootcamp

The surprising answer (that bootcamps might not want you to know):

When you have the bare minimum skill set, and both your resume and LinkedIn profile reflect that.

Put Me In Coach: Bootcamp Instructors Get These Questions Every Day.

  • When are you ready to create a resume and begin applying for high paying coding jobs?
  • How do you write a resume that gets you interviews when you have no work experience?
  • How do you set up your LinkedIn profile so recruiters consider you a serious candidate, even without a portfolio?
  • Do I really even need a portfolio to begin applying to coding jobs?

A good way to frame this assessment is through a parallel example found in product development.

There’s a concept called “reaching MVP,” or the Minimum Viable Product stage, during the lifecycle of developing software. An MVP is usually the next stage after a prototype. A prototype can only become an MVP when it has exactly the minimum feature set to deliver value . Once your product is an MVP it is considered viable for use by real customers.

In other words, an MVP is how we refer to a product that’s ready to launch.

This stage of development is always exciting. It lets you stress test your ideas and find ways to improve your execution. In this stage, you can experiment with a small audience and learn quickly. Getting real feedback from real users is absolutely crucial to the success of every product.

During your job search process, you must always remember, you are the product and the hiring manager is the user.

How do you know if you’re ready for a coding  job?

Looking at a typical software job listing can feel very daunting. That’s true, even if you have decades of experience, but before we throw in the towel lets look at a random yet typical junior front end job listing as an example.

As a Junior Software Engineer your responsibilities will include:

  • Work in a multidisciplinary team alongside backend engineers and designers
  • Design, create, and maintain user-friendly and mobile-responsive web pages
  • Take user-facing features from design to implementation
  • Improve upon our existing stack of internal-facing, customer-facing, and public-facing websites
  • Optimize applications for speed and reliability
  • Improve our mobile-based features and functionality
  • Ensure that all of our sites adhere to accessibility standards
  • Remain up-to-date and knowledgeable of latest and emerging frontend technologies
  • B.A./B.S. in Computer Science, a related field, or equivalent experience
  • Excellent understanding of browser troubleshooting and debugging techniques
  • Proficient understanding of HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript
  • Proficient understanding of CSS frameworks such as Bootstrap
  • Proficient understanding of layout aesthetics, UI/UX
  • Proficient understanding of client-side scripting (jQuery)
  • Proficient understanding of version control tools (Git)
  • Basic understanding of server-side css pre-processors such as SCSS or SASS
  • Basic understanding of cross-browser compatibility issues and how to navigate around them
  • Basic understanding of SEO principles and PageSpeed performance best practices
  • Basic understanding of modern JavaScript frameworks (ReactJS or VueJS)

Ignore anything you don’t have for the moment.

Let’s try to keep the focus on what you already know and what you can learn in the short term.

What technologies should you know at the halfway point of a coding bootcamp?

All bootcamps are different but generally, most will have covered the following by the midpoint of the program:

  • HTML, CSS, and JavaScript fundamentals
  • Git and GitHub for version control
  • Testing and debugging tools and techniques
  • Some basics of Accessibility, User Experience and User Interface Design concepts
  • Responsive Design concepts and techniques
  • A little React experience, and maybe some exposure to NodeJS and a database technology

Hey, that’s not too bad!

If you’re halfway through a bootcamp and you’re not struggling to keep up, you might be ready to start applying for coding jobs.

And you can get an idea of what you’re still missing, and discover what you need to learn next by looking at some of the other skills in the listing. You can also get ideas for “extra credit” skills. Skills around SEO and PageSpeed optimization are in high demand. And you can get a basic understanding without much time invested.

How do you stop feeling intimidated by software engineering job listings and start applying?

As you can see, even in an entry level example, there are so many skills to learn. All of the technologies that make up the web stack go incredibly deep. It’s truly impossible to fully “know” any of them. So waiting to feel ready for job opportunities can inadvertently stop you in your tracks.

It will hopefully ease your mind when you realize that every developer is on the same never-ending learning path. Many professional programmers have taken positions with seriously steep learning curves. And quite a few of us have genuinely thrived in those conditions.

It’s not easy to take chances while feeling like an imposter, but know that you are not alone.

The International Journal of Behavioral Science found that 70% of the population is affected by imposter syndrome during their careers. This fact ends up being true across all genders, occupations, and skill levels.

It is estimated that 70% of people will experience at least one episode of this Impostor Phenomenon in their lives (Gravois, 2007). Harvey (1981) asserted that anyone can view themselves as an impostor if they fail to internalize their success and this experience is not limited to people who are highly successful.

The International Journal of Behavioral Science

You should also know that you can overcome imposter syndrome and break any control it has over you.

It’s important to begin assessing your growth and tracking your progress early on in your career. And you should always reassess your job readiness. This is especially important after milestones that show you exactly where you are on the path to a coding career. Any time you learn new technologies, take risks (whether you succeed or fail), reach “Aha moments,” or face your limitations directly by being honest with yourself is an opportunity.

How do you assess whether you can be a useful junior dev hire and are ready to deliver value?

  1. Halfway through the coding bootcamp take inventory of the skills, languages, and frameworks you’ve learned.
  2. Create a resume and update your LinkedIn profile based on the experience you already have.
  3. Then look at what you still need to learn, and pinpoint any shortcomings that might hold you back.
  4. Address these shortcomings, ideally in a conversation with your mentor or bootcamp instructor. 

Once you get through step 3 you can begin to consider yourself qualified and ready to apply.

Do you need a portfolio site before you start applying to software jobs?

The reality is that portfolio sites aren’t always viewed by recruiters and hiring managers. However, every company reviews LinkedIn, and will require a current resume to apply.

If you can perfect these two assets, then it’s quite possible to land a job before finishing a coding bootcamp.

What do your resume and LinkedIn say about you?

Your Resume

Getting rejections is part of the process, so don’t take it personally. If you didn’t already know, most resumes are scanned by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that searches for specific keywords in your resume. Without enough keyword density most resumes are never even looked at by a real person.

The decision to accept or reject your resume is based entirely on how well the keywords match the job listing.

A resume that beats the ATS sends a signal that your experience matches the job requirements of the listing well enough that the recruiter should advance you. Typically, passing this resume keyword test is enough to start engaging with the actual interview process. Once you begin interviewing you will definitely learn where you’re still struggling and confirm what you already know well enough to continue confidently listing on your resume.

For the best outcome, study the job description.

You need to include any relevant keywords, but only add the skills you actually have or are in the process of developing. As a final step, make sure to check out the Highlighter Technique video below. This is how you perform a job market analysis that ensures your resume will be seen by a real person.

Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is like a digital business card, but when your profile is set up correctly it become job lead generating machine, and lines up interviews for you in your sleep. It also offers the advantage of being the only game in town for connecting directly with recruiters. Whether they are third-party recruiters (talent agencies) or in-house talent specialists (internal HR personnel), they are all on LinkedIn. Start connecting with people daily by adding interesting comments under other people’s posts. You can also sending direct messages to other people in the industry with relevant questions. Let everyone know why you’re interested in connecting.

“Hi, I see that you’re a specialist in X and Y at company Z. I’m very interested in your company and hoping to learn more about X. Would love to connect!”

LinkedIn DM Example

Gain trust through frequent posting about what you’re currently working on, passionate about, and learning. Ask questions about people’s companies and projects. Think of ways where your goals could overlap with their company’s mission. Always try to leave the impression that you’re very interested in learning, driving value, and being helpful. If you’re hesitant to start networking, connect with us on LinkedIn and let us know!

Extra Credit To Get Hired Faster

  • Launch a small project that you can complete quickly. Make it aesthetically pleasing, simple to use, and functional. 
  • Optimize your GitHub profile for recruiters, similar to the way you updated your resume. 
  • Add your contact info and relevant links in the sidebar of your GitHub profile. Commit some code to GitHub everyday if possible. At minimum, try and never miss more than a few days in a row.
  • Make a basic but polished web page with all your links and contact info.
  • Start blogging at or

Check out some single-page “business card” sites with a resume or portfolio treatment for examples of what to do. Be sure to build this site so it’s very easy to update. Make it a point to add new projects, skills, and updates to your bio as you progress through your bootcamp.

Unify Your Approach

Finally, you want to unify all of these assets. Your resume, LinkedIn, GitHub, and portfolio site need to be a consistent snapshot of what you offer. To do this successfully and really drive your job search forward, make sure your keywords line up across channels. This practice also applies to your current title. Recruiters don’t want to see you describe yourself as a “Full Stack Developer” on LinkedIn, “Software Engineer” on your portfolio, and “Web Developer” on your resume. The more consistent you are, the more memorable you’ll be.

Getting a job before finishing a coding bootcamp – It can happen to you

You can start applying once you meet the minimum requirements, and can show it with your resume and LinkedIn. Halfway through your course take an honest assessment of your progress. Start creating your resume and make your LinkedIn profile look professional. Work towards filling in any knowledge gaps you find while researching job listings. Be mindful to not let a premature job search overshadow your learning process. Document all the knowledge and experience you’re gaining, and take an honest inventory of what you don’t know. You may be more job-ready than you realize. Or you may still have some work to do to get there.

The bottom line: It’s not easy and not everyone can do it, but you should know that it is entirely possible to land an entry level software engineering job before completing a coding bootcamp, even without a degree or previous professional experience.

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