Part 1: Hiring Series – How do I determine if I qualify for a job?

computer application

In this new series I have been working on, I will be discussing in part 1 “How do I determine if I qualify for a job“. This is probably the biggest question I get asked , how do I determine if I can and should apply for a job. Many developers starting out will definitely be intimated by the sheer amount of requirements for a job especially nowadays with how it seems like the basic requirements are 50 bullet points long. Well let me tell you how I come to the conclusion if I should apply…

Don’t be afraid of trying

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got from someone is don’t be afraid of trying. The worst thing you can do is think you are not as great as you really are. If you decided to never try then where would you be as a person if you ran away from everything. I usually always apply for jobs when I meet a certain level of pre reqs and I always try as a just incase.

Now when do I not try? Well when I look over job qualifications, most jobs featured a lot of the same key points. Mobile responsive development, CSS/ HTML, adobe products and of course Git and version control. Jira, and of course at least 5 JS frameworks. Most of the time I focus on the first 2 they ask for cause the others might just if’s cause there are a number of frameworks out there and a lot of them are closely related in different ways so the concepts stay the same. Now when I look at job posts if I meet around 70% and up of the requirements then I will apply which I will further elaborate on later.

job contract

The Cover Letter Conundrum

This is one of the biggest conundrums ever when it comes to jobs. I have talked to multiple people who hire developers and the cover letter usually gets tossed aside and they look at the persons website or portfolio first. The cover letter might be read later, it might not. Do I include one? I have a base cover letter for set positions. Now I have been asked in some of my interviews “why didn’t I include a cover letter.” and I would ask “do you read them?” and in some cases I am told no. or “I skimmed it.” or they read them if they have time. I find it one of those puzzles that I just run into some companies ask for them but don’t read them but I include one anyway as a just incase. To cover all the bases.

To Degree Or Not To Degree

This is something that I have noticed quite a number of companies have been abandoning recently. I still see some companies asking for a master degree in computer science…but do you really need it? Truth be told I think it varies depending on the company. I know some company owners I have talked to negate that requirement if the applicant has many self built projects or are certified through a code school or a boot camp or did a whole lot of self learning. I believe the reason for this slowly move away is there are a lot of resources online and with self determination someone can become a skilled programmer on their own. Cause a decade ago the internet didn’t have self taught  resources or having to buy some massive text book compared to nowadays where places like code academy or quora become the one on one learning resource.

I also do tell my students that they don’t necessarily need one if their portfolio is vast. I myself don’t have a masters degree, I don’t see a point in having one at times cause I will just grab a new coding language and just build and build and build and research and research and research non stop. I am one of those self determined coders. And that has gotten me into quite a number of doors is my vast portfolio and me just picking up something new and just going for it.

searching for a job

Pass / Fail

As I said earlier, when I look at job posts when I am looking at the basic requirements. Not the wishes or the “would like to have” in addition to the basic requirements I just look at the end all be all of the job. If I meet 70% of those requirements then I will apply. Now what about the recommended? I look at anything extra I meet as bonus points. So if I meet lets say 60% of the basic requirement but then 100% of the wish list of requirements then I will apply.

Now lets say I meet half the requirements, I do not apply I look at the requirements and see what I am missing. I take note of it cause if more and more companies are asking for these things such as like ReactJS when it first came out, it was put on everything. I did not know react at the time so I started looking into it and building stuff with it. The reason why I won’t bother applying if I “fail” the requirements is cause I do know that companies will blacklist your email and be like “this person is wasting our time.” you don’t want to waste their time. You apply for the company when you are ready not before. I have been in the hiring room before and looked at resumes and the last thing people want is to be bombarded by people who keep applying but yet don’t even come close to being hired. And the last thing you want is to be blacklisted and meet the requirements down the road and yet never hear from them cause you keep needlessly applying.

applying for a job

Being Transparent

Now I have been told I should “add” something I read about or barely messed around with and or “act like a pro”. I tend to think this is counter productive for long term gains. I have always said play it straight cause the last thing someone wants is to believe you are this one man rambo developer when in truth you are a jerry from rick and morty. When a company asks me if I have done A. B. C. and D. I tell them I have done something similar to A. and half of C. and D. I do not say yes, I clarify my answers. And as a developer I understand that growth is part of the game. I might not super excel in all areas of the company but having the ability to grow is what we do as human beings. We crawl, then we walk then we run and I clarify that in some way in my application. If its number of years I have been working with a coding framework or the number of projects I have built for a company vs by myself.


In closing, this is part one of a series that I will continue writing about with the hiring process and the steps people should take to prepare and what to expect in trying to be hired. I hope this clears up some misunderstandings that come with applying for jobs in the tech industry, I know it can be rather intimidating seeing these jobs with requirements that can seem daunting but never fear there are jobs with a wide range of requirements. With my next blog I will be discussing what to do when you get asked for a interview and how you can prepare for that.

See you space cowboy…

Glenn Carstens-Peters