Krzysztof Żuraw blog

My first interviews for software developer

June 03, 2019

Hello 👋🏻

In a today blog post, I will write about my first interviews for software developer roles without having a CS degree.

Background

I was studying land surveying at the Kraków University of Technology when I first stumbled upon programming. At last year of my studies, I have to choose - either become land surveyor or maybe try to find another life path.

So I decided to change it to software development.

I don’t what to do

I started doing some code academy courses for JavaScript but after I finished the course I didn’t know what to do next. Then I’ve tried the Java course - the same. I even went to a C# course at my university - without luck. I applied to Java job - to fail on coding questions, the same was for .Net. I applied for an Android job too. Without luck.

Python - to the rescue

I was thinking that maybe software development isn’t for me when the Python course at my university started. I came for it and I got hooked up. I started doing some projects from github. I read about TDD and other strange acronyms.

Once I went to Meetup - I meet there one girl that was looking for a people to start the first edition of python ‘bootcamp’. I join them and I learned a lot from people how to work day to day with language.

1st interview

I came to another edition of the same meetup and after a meeting, I asked one guy if he needs wannabe software developer. It turns out that he was a CTO of a local company and sent me coding task afterward. I have one week to complete a simple project - facebook clone. It turns out that it wasn’t anywhere near my level and I did not manage to finish it within one week. Yet I was coding this project on my own as I was a bit fascinated by it.

One month passed and I resend my solution - this time I was given another task. I managed to do it. I got a first job - internship.

2nd interview

When the internship was over I send my CV to another company. It was again an internship - but for 3 months. The recruitment process consists of a few calls where I was asked questions about python, linux and sound (this company is working heavily with the sound). At the first technical interview I was hopeless - I did not manage to answer basic questions.

Yet, they gave me another chance - this time I was prepared and answered for most of the technical questions. I’ve got a job 🎉. I learned a lot but eventually, I moved to another company.

Word of advice

I had a lot of luck with finding my first job but I think that there are a few things that helped me with that:

  • going to local meet-ups and meeting people
  • doing side projects and showing them on GitHub
  • telling what I do not know in interviews
  • writing down what I don’t know so I can learn it

Summary

Changing a job to software development is a scary move. One of the most stressful moments are interviews. Don’t worry - I do not know any developer who is not afraid of them. To ease a little bit this process remember that if you fail it doesn’t mean that you are a failure. You can use advice from the post above or you can figure stuff on your own.

What is your experience with technical interviews? Did I not cover something - please write to me at krzysztof.zuraw (at) fastmail.com

Thanks for Marko - he gave me an idea about this post.


Krzysztof Żuraw

Written by Krzysztof Żuraw who lives and works in Wrocław. About page.