Getting Your Foot in the Door

Author’s note: this post was in my drafts for about a year and I just never got back to it. Now things have changed, I got a FE position within my current employer mostly using CodePen and their little test to prove I could do it. The issue is still a real one that I think deserves some discussion so I’m posting it now without finishing it.

As my first post mentioned, I’m working on moving into development (specifically front-end development) as my full-time gig. That’s fine and lovely but I’m not so sure I have any idea how to do that. Certainly building this site is a good start, getting me more experience, a face to my development on the web and a place to post my experiences but now what? I can’t just quit my day job and dive into working on side projects or stay up 27 hours a day working on a sweet portfolio and I wouldn’t expect a company to hire a guy that has virtually no proof of ability other than what he says he can do. So here I am, ready to move on and feeling that I have the skillset to move on but no real way to do it.

Employment Agency?

I feel like I test well and have the skills so I thought if I could get registered with an employment agency, especially one that specializes in technology-related jobs, I’d be much better off. So a month or so I did that and got some assessments done at the beginning of 2014. Turns out I do have the skills, or at least those assessments indicated that I did. However, those test scores are not something they’re allowed to share with potential hiring managers so they aren’t nearly as much help as I’d like. That bit aside, the hiring team does have access to them so I know the folks there are aware of what I can (or can’t do). Had an interview this morning which is what spurred the thoughts that are attempting to form themselves in this post. Even with those assessments and talking-up that I’m assuming the agency did for me when it came down to “what have you done” I had to send them the one client site that I’ve done recently and hope for the best. That site was my first attempt at responsive design and my first attempt at using Twitter Bootstrap so when I looked at it a few weeks ago when getting a resume ready, I cringed a bit.

I don’t mean to be negative on this idea or on the agency, it’s just a fact of my situation right now. They are doing well at offering me things and bringing me to hiring managers, it’s just tough. I’m also a little stuck with my availability for locations as we aren’t going to move and I do daycare drop off and pickup which limits my range quite a bit to the inner southwest metro of Minneapolis. That is a great place to work and a good place for some tech jobs but removing downtown and the northwest corner of the metro from my list is a bit detrimental. I’m not miserable in my current position so it’s not like I’m trying to get out as quickly as humanly possible, just ready for a change.

CodePen FTW?

Since I don’t have a lot of clients (read: 2) I need a place to play with new ideas, familiarize myself with new technology and keep my knowledge up-to-date. While I would love to get into a side project that I’ve had in mind for about 5 years, it’s just not reality right now to spend enough time on that to get it to the point it would be worth putting into a portfolio. Absolutely it would be great to put in there when it’s done but in the meantime I need something to show people that prove I have a clue. I have an account on CodePen and have a collection setup as a [portfolio of sorts][1] showing what I’ve played with and some UIs I’ve built. While this is pretty sweet that it is even out there, it’s not a fully built, production ready site that proves I have the chops.

Late Nights is All I Have Left


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