Ryan Bigg

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How do I get a job in this industry?

Last updated: 11th April 2017

This post is part of a series of my replies to junior developer questions.

Build things in both Ruby and Rails that you're passionate about and that you can use as examples of your work. One favourite thing that companies like seeing is example applications that solve a similar problem to the company's problem. For Culture Amp, it'd be surveys + responses. In fact, that's what our coding test is all about. We want to see familiarity with the problem space so that we know you can think and reason about it.

Having other examples of your work in a portfoilo is another good way to win employers over. Something more grander than a simple "Hello World" Rails app. Show us that you've spent time thinking about it, developing it and caring for it.

It is currently very difficult for juniors to find employment in this field because companies are focusing their hiring efforts on mids and seniors. This is because companies want that productivity boost hiring someone mid-or-senior would bring, rather than the decrease that would happen if you hire a junior. That's because a junior needs mentoring and that means that someone from the company would need to do that. While true in the short-term, I personally think the long-term investment of a well-trained junior-turned-mid-turned-senior is worth the short-term productivity dip.

It's a little sad because without "new blood" we're running the talent pool dry. You can see the effects of this already with the highly inflated senior salaries and great perks: a classic case of supply vs demand.

With no new talent, it makes it ridiculously hard to hire new people and that means companies are investing more and more time to try and hire these mids and seniors. Well, I shouldn't say hire. It's more of a poach these days. Companies would much rather poach talent than go the home-grown route.

Fortunately, there's some companies out there which have noticed that there's a lot of great junior talent out there just ripe for the picking and they've undertaken efforts to have internship programs. Three big companies in Melbourne have done that: Envato, Real Estate and Zendesk. They all have internship programs and I'd encourage you to apply for those if you're interested in interning for any of them.

Culture Amp doesn't have anything like that at the moment, but I'm working on something like this. First, I want to hire a junior onto my team and train them up over 6 months. Then once that's proven, hire some more and start a sort of "internship program" of our own. It might just work.