By John Sonmez August 2, 2018

Getting A Programming Job With ZERO Connections!

Getting a programming job is a hard task for most people trying to get into the job field.

Imagine how great it would be to get a new programming job out of the blue. You'd get a great salary, benefits and most of all, you'd be able to enjoy life with your own money.

However, things do not always work out smoothly like that.

There are some requirements you need to “meet” before getting a programming job and one that could really help you is: connections.

But… What if you had none? How to get a programming job with zero connections? Watch this video and find out!

Transcript of The Video

John Sonmez: Hey, what's up? John Sonmez here from simpleprogrammer.com. I got a question about how do I get a job as a programmer when I have zero connections. This is from Brent and Brent says, “Hi, John. I was wondering what your advice is to people who want a job as a programmer but lack connections (as well as experience). Let me try to briefly explain. I just graduated with an associate degree in computer programming and I have no idea what to do next besides spend hours and hours at home studying more code. Basically, I am non-existent in the programming world.”

Brent, you've come to the right place. I have a lot of suggestions for you. Not everyone has connections. We call this a network, but you need to build one because the best time to start planting a tree was 20 years ago. You know, the second best time to start planting a tree is now, so you need to build a network now. You need to build connections now. Just because you don’t have them is not an excuse.

Yeah, you got your degree, good, awesome, that's great, but the most valuable thing for you—I got something in my hair—is not going to be to be at home studying coding as much as possible. I'm not saying there's no value in that, but what I'm saying is that you've got to build a network and you've got to get out there and start—if you want to build a reputation in the industry, start doing that. I'm going to recommend a couple things for you. I'm trying to make this as much pragmatic and practical as possible.

The first thing is I want you to go and I want you to look for meetup or networking groups in your area for whatever you're interested in. There's always like some meetup group for different programming languages or technologies. Pick the one that you like and maybe you even pick multiple ones of them and show up and show up every week. Okay? I want you to do that for four weeks to show up every week to the meeting. Maybe five and then after four, five weeks, I want you to talk to the—not only that, I'll give you some more even specific advice. I want you to come in early and see if you can help out and volunteer to set up, and I want you to stay late and see if you can help clean up. Then you do that for five weeks or six weeks. Maybe five and then I want you to go to the event organizer, the person in charge of the meetup, and I want you to say, “Hey, I want to give a talk. I want to give a presentation at one of the upcoming meetings. What can I do it on?” or suggest some things that you're interested in. In fact, that's better and that's going to go a long way to building your network and your connections. Keep on going to those meetups. We're going to think long term here. Again, planting the tree analogy.

Maybe this takes you a year, but I would say it's better that you spend a year building up a network and building up these connections than it is to just spend a year banging your head against the wall trying to learn more coding stuff that's not necessarily going to help you as much as building the connections. Trying to frantically get a job and being frustrated. It will be much easier when you have connections because that's step one.

Step two: I want you to pick out companies in your area that you'd like to get a job at that have programming jobs and I want you to go to LinkedIn and I want you to find the employees that work for that company, and I want you to start messaging some of the developers there and saying, “Hey, can I buy you dinner?” Don’t even say meet up for coffee. Say, “Can I buy you a dinner at a nice restaurant?” Save your money, buy some dinner. Maybe you can meet up for coffee or look and see if they have some blogs and stuff, comment on their blogs. I want you to be like a sleuth. I want you to figure out—you got to think outside of the box, how are you going to figure out this? How are you going to build the connections, build the network? How are you going to give people some kind of value? Look and see. “Ah, this person is interested in this. Well, maybe I can do something to help them in some way” or give them some information, or share with them this article. Look for how you can create some real value and connection start messaging these people and start doing it, and don’t ask them for anything.

Don’t tell them you're looking for jobs. Don't tell them any of that stuff because when you do that way, if you ask someone and if you say, “Hey, I'm looking for a job,” they know you're trying to get something from them. Then they're like, “Anything you say is suspect.” What you've got to do is you got to have—you can't have any of that. You've got to come out and just—”I just want to be friends. I just want to find out about the industry. I just want to offer you some value.” When you do that, people will be more open to what you're saying and you'll be able to actually build connections, like you have to invest in the network before you get something out. You have to invest. Now is your investing time so that's the first thing.

The next thing I'm going to say is—well, I'll plug my book, but I think it will help you. That's why. The Complete Software Developer's Career Guide. If you haven't got a copy of this, get a copy of this and read through the first sections on becoming a programmer, on how to become a programmer, essentially how to become a software developer, and how to get a job as a software developer. There's a ton of stuff about this, about thinking outside the box and how to set up—do interviews and how to construct your resume and all that stuff. Get that knowledge. I'm not going to repeat all that here because you could just read it in the book, okay?

The third thing I'm going to tell you here is that not only do you need to build a network, but you need to actually be going out there and picking a specific type of job that you want to get and developing those skills because it's great that you have a degree now, but what does that degree going to—is that going to get you a specific job? No. You can kind of code. You've got the basics but you need to have specific set of skills. You always need to specialize in today's society in order to be valuable. Generalists are not very valuable today.

I don’t have a problem with being a renaissance man. I consider myself to be somewhat of a renaissance man. I like to learn a lot of things, but damn it I specialize in shit as well. I have really deep knowledge in areas like philosophy, in fitness, in computer programming and software development and soft skills, and a lot of different areas because I go real deep in those areas. I've got a playlist for you which you can check out on specialization. I highly recommend that again. It's also in my book on The Complete Software Developer's Career Guide, but that’s just how you're going to do it.

You have to build up the network and you have to just invest in time. If you go to meetup groups and you show up continually and if you think for yourself, if you think from the perspective of how can I meet people, and if you think a year, don’t think of your target as I need to get a job right now. This is where you become needy and you're asking people for stuff instead of giving people stuff. Think about how you could invest and grow a network, so that you could get a job a year from now. Maybe it will take less time and maybe opportunities will come your way, but you need to be thinking that way.

For any of you that are having trouble and you don't have a network, there's no excuse. Don’t say, “I'm not connected. My parents are not well connected or I didn’t make connections.” I don’t care about any of that. You can do it. In one year, you can build a fabulous awesome network to be out there teaching and getting your name out there, so that people know who you are, especially when you people Google your name. They find a blog or they find a YouTube channel and they say, “Man, this guy not only is he like hardworking and confident and knows what he's talking about, but he's sharing his knowledge with other people,” which is really important.

All right. I hope that helps you. Make sure you show up to those meetup groups. All right. I ‘ll talk to you next time. Oh, don’t forget. If you haven’t subscribed already, click that Subscribe button below and click the bell so you don’t miss any videos I do here. All right. See you later.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."