Junior Programmer Job Advice

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A few years ago I conducted one of the most interesting interviews to this day. And, it came with a big twist in the end.

We were looking for a junior AngularJS developer. Writing basic directives, simple two-way data bindings, clean code - yes. Deep understanding of the digest loop, interceptors, XSRF protection, fancy design patterns - no, not necessarily.

Then out of the blue, THE MOST gorgeous candidate applied.

Strong background with not just Angular but plenty of backend frameworks as well, he had even coded mobile apps in his spare time. Had that slightly arrogant half-smile going on, as if to say "Don't know why you even bother, dude, I'm your man."

Here comes the twist, though.

For 20 minutes of intro talk, we barely spoke about Angular. Such was his urgency to showcase all the various assets of his skill set that what I really wanted to hear was a sentence and a half about some dull directive he wrote one time.

Then came the technical part. In the next 30 minutes, I could actually see his confidence evaporating from the room, although I was trying to be as friendly as possible. Turned out his Angular knowledge was shallow, the tip of the iceberg, "I saw that in a tutorial once" type.

Although he was presenting himself as a senior developer, he was a mere junior level for this position.

Expectedly, he didn't get the job. We hired a quite younger girl with less overall experience but much more focused on what we needed.

See, not that he wasn't smart - he was. I'm sure he would have caught up eventually.

His problem was different - he didn't have a niche. He hadn't picked a thing. He was ok for everything but good for nothing.

 

This is your #1 Junior Developer Mistake - not picking your niche early.

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