How to get a developer job in a small market, part 1

This is is the first in a series of posts about how to get a developer job in a small market. This series will ideally end with me getting a developer job in a small market. 🙂

I have spent a lot of time learning about web technologies and mobile application development. I have done some freelance projects and created many projects for myself.

The problem is that I am coming from a career as a teacher so my actual work experience in the software field is low. Also, I like living in Saginaw and I would like to find a position nearby. At just under 50,000 people, Saginaw is a very small market when comes to jobs for software developers.

So how am I supposed to find a job in a small market with very little experience? I have found a strategy. I am following some of the suggestions in a blog post by Haseeb Qureshi titled “How to Break Into the Tech Industry—a Guide to Job Hunting and Tech Interviews” . Haseeb is a person who went from knowing almost nothing about software development to landing a job at Airbnb paying $250k/yr in only one year.

Haseeb’s advice for networking is to “just buy everyone coffee.” He suggests offering to buy coffee for as many people as possible in the tech industry. I don’t know very many people around my area who are software developers.

Which brings me to a key idea he gives: cold-emailing people.

I have spent a lot of time on LinkedIn and Google lately finding local software developers to contact. Just today I had my third meeting with a software developer in the area. I have been able to find out a lot about the companies they work for and about the application and interview process.

Two of the meetings were for lunch and one was over Google Hangouts. Meeting for lunch definitely allowed me to connect with the people better.

The Google Hangout meeting was exciting because it was with someone who works at Covenant Eyes, which is the company I most want to work at.  He said Covenant Eyes was his favorite place he has worked. The interview process he described at Covenant Eyes seemed to be more challenging than what the other people I met with described for their companies.

There was one question that all the people I met with seemed to agree on. I have been reading a lot about the importance of knowing algorithms and data structures for an interview. Everyone I met with said that they did not have to answer any questions about algorithms or data structures during their interview. I think maybe it is because these people work at smaller companies. I am still going to try to get better at algorithms but maybe I don’t have to put the emphasis on it that I was originally planning.

I have definitely learned a lot from these meetings and I am going to continue to try to line up meetings so I can learn as much as I can about the industry in the area.