Getting A Programming Job: 13 Questions To Ask Yourself!

Written By Jason Humphrey

Have you ever shifted your mindset as a programmer when it comes to finding a programming job?

Picture this:

When I was starting out my career, I helped a lot of developers find programming jobs… Some of them, find the wrong ones.

Despite you thinking that you just need the money, there is much more into play when it comes to finding a programming job. One of the things I always say to my students is that you should look for a job that gives you fulfillment.

You need to ask yourself a few questions in order to really understand what you're getting into.

This is why I made a list of 13 questions to ask yourself to really know if you're looking for the programming job of your dreams.

Transcript Of The Video

Jason Humphrey: In this video, we're going to be discussing the 13 questions you need to know if this job is right for you. We're here because of the job hunt, right? That's one of the biggest reasons you're looking for that right job out there, and you need to know if it's right for you in the hunt. Forget that you even got an offer yet, we need to know even before, potentially if it's right for you. We need to find a job where we're going to be fulfilled.

Earlier in my career, I was helping many students get jobs, but not always the right ones in the beginning, for all the wrong reasons sometimes. Forever since then, I really made a conscious decision with every student of mine to make sure we picked jobs based on what they wanted ahead of time, not in the moment. Sometimes, it was money based, sometimes it was just fun based, sometimes it just looked good. But now, I make them go through these 13 questions I'm about to ask you because I have learned from those stories that fulfillment is in these 13 questions. So let's figure out for you, what is the right job for you, or what is the criteria that needs to be met for you?

First and foremost, we ask the first question always. It comes around hours and flexibility. Do you want to do the nine to six thing, do you want to do seven to four? Do you need to be flexible that way? What are your hours, and what is the company asking? Is it 40 to 60 hours? Do you even mind? But flexible hours, does it matter? Sometimes, it doesn't.

The next question is philanthropy and community. Do you need this job to care, and have a care services or a community that is thriving, that you can be philanthropic … Whatever. Community service. Do you want them to encourage you to give your time to community service?

The next question I'd ask is pay and bonus. Now, we all want to get paid, that's not the question here. But how much is what you're looking for? How much of a bonus do you need? Do you even need a bonus? I get there is a base salary, but like I said, that's not what we're getting at here. I want to know if they pay you $10,000 more, does it now become a more attractive job? I would actually discourage you from that. Money should be the least of your concerns. If it's enough to get you started in your career, enough to get going in the very beginning, this is not where you find fulfillment. Pay is not fulfillment at all. Just throwing that out there.

Next question is vacation. How much vacation do you need? I know a lot of people nowadays that love to take weekend trips, four or five day weekend trips, those are long weekend trips, but take a lot of vacation. Anywhere from three to four weeks is what's ideal to start out for them. Some companies only start you with two, so how important is that?

Next is your manager. When you're interviewing, how involved does your manager need to be? Now, I get from a job description, you might not know this, but do you need an involved manager? Do you want one that's going to advocating for you? Well, hell yeah. But how ingrained to the process do you want them to be? Do you need someone who's on top of you? Do you like someone who doesn't micromanage, or micromanages? What do or don't you like? Because you can ask those targeted questions when you go into the interview too, to learn a bit more about your manager.

The next is the importance of your work or the importance is of your job role. Do those matter? Does it matter that you're in an important job role? Because I knew earlier in my career, there are parts of my job that were like, hey, you build this tool, somebody who will use it. Great. And there's been other parts of my career where it's like, this will change lives. I'll tell you now, looking back at that, that it didn't matter as much to me and it should have mattered more. But now, it's very important to me to have work that impacts lives.

The next is benefits. Do they have health and social benefits? Because nowadays, it's not enough to just have health care. Now, you've got to have the 401(k) plan plan, now you've got to have college saving or college funds, now you've got to have dog sitting, you've got to have a master's degree program. You've got to have a ton of stuff in these companies now. So what matters to you? Do you need them to have social benefits? Do you need just the bare minimum of health benefits, or do you need more?

Another question that you should be asking yourself is pair programming. It's kind of taking the development community, I wouldn't say by storm, it's been around, but it's become really prevalent in recent years of, like, everybody thinks it's the way to do pair programming. So if that is for you, how important is that to be in your job?

Next is mentoring. Do you have the ability to be mentored by someone? When you come in, are you going to get a buddy, are you going to get a pal? Are you going to get a mentor that they're going to provide you to help you grow in your career at this new place?

Another question is growth in the position, or continued education. There's a lot of people who will get jobs, who if they don't pay attention to it and don't ask the questions ahead of time, might be stuck in a rabbit hole where they are just not going to move at all, and the position they're coming into is the position they're going to be at for a very long time. And that's okay. Some people like that in the beginning of their career. It's not for everyone, but some people do. So I would challenge to ask, is that good enough for you, and will they invest in your growth and continued education? If we talk about fulfillment, I can't think of anyone that doesn't get fulfillment or isn't happy when people reinvest in them and send them to conferences, send them to training. I'm not talking about the boring training we all regret, I'm talking about the conferences that actually make an impact in lives, the conferences where they build their network, the growth they have from someone putting time and money and resources into them.

My next question is the company vision. Do you align with it and does that matter to you? Me Personally, company vision, it's some words on a page, does not affect me on my day to day basis. But I know some people that really are encouraged when their company and their vision match up with their own.

Work life balance. This is another question that's very big for people because nowadays, when we're attached to our phones 24/7 and when work seems to never leave us, it's very important for people to become detached and be able to have a life from work. They really, really enjoy that work life balance, and I imagine a lot of you out there listening right now are shaking your heads like, yeah, work life balance, that's where it's at. That is a terminology people are using all the time now, that I haven't met many people that don't think that's important.

Last but not least, I have commitment. How committed do you want everyone to be around you? Is this going to be where you go into the job world where everyone's going to be like, “We've got to do this or else we're all fired,” or “we've got to do this, we've got to get this out there. We've got to stay. We are super committed.” Or do you want a team that's going to be like, “Hey, it's five o'clock. We've got a lot of work done, we'll see you guys Monday. It's been great.” What are you looking for, for the commitment out of the team? Because if you're highly committed and you're giving your all, but you're around a bunch of people who don't, well that could be a problem.

Overall, there are a lot of questions to answer, all geared towards what will help you feel fulfilled when you're looking for a job or at an offer evaluation? If you're interested in help with this, I have created a service called Coding Career Fast Lane where I help you with the job hunt, interviews, imposter syndrome, to accelerate your career no matter where you're at. If you want help answering those questions, let me know, I'll gladly help you. It is a very important question to answer for you because this is where you find fulfillment, not happiness, but fulfillment with your job. Because when you're happy with your job and you're fulfilled, it does amazing things for your life. So answer these 13 questions below and let us know if you have any comments or questions in the chat, and we'll see you guys next time.