By June 4, 2015

How Do I Get A Programming Job Without Experience?

In this episode, I give my advice on getting a programming job without any experience.


I didn't mention this in the video, but building strong ties with the software development community is a great way to give yourself a boost. One way to do this is through blogging — you can check out my blogging course for some tips.

Full transcript:

John:               Hey, this is John Sonmez from So I’ve got another question for you today. This one is about—it’s kind of for you newbies out there that are wondering how to get started in the field. This question is from Alex and he says, “Good day, John. As you suggested in my previous email I'm sending you a couple of questions so you could do a video. Thanks for your help.” He’s actually got a couple of questions here. “What would be the first steps for a computer science student or just graduated to find a job in the field?” and then “Is there any opportunity to find a job that is not an internship for young graduates or in the process of graduating?” and then “How to fight not having experience in your resume when it’s almost always a requirement? Those are my concerns. At least this can give you an idea to go deeper into the topic. Thank you so much.”

There are 3 separate questions here but they’re all really the same question. It’s basically this question of how do you get a job without any experience just graduating or getting ready to graduate, a real job not an internship. Obviously there’s always this catch 22 is that you have to have experience to get a job and you have to have a job to gain experience, so how do you do this?

I’ve talked about this actually a lot in different videos and in different ways but the biggest thing that you can do is, again, I was just talking in another video about how we’re moving to this entrepreneur type of civilization where more and more people are being entrepreneurial. You can now, especially with mobile apps, this is one of the cool things as a software developer is you can build your own mobile app company or even web app company and just build one or 2 apps. You don’t need a whole team. You don’t need a huge thing to build a company, right?

You can actually build your own job and gain experience. If you’re in college right now, if you’re in university and you’re studying computer science and you want to be able to get a job when you get out, well, start creating a job for yourself now. It’s not going to have the same kind of prestige as working for maybe a bigger company but start your own company, build a couple of mobile apps or build a web app. Have some kind of app that you’ve built, some kind of software that could potentially make money on its own. There are going to be multiple roads here.

Maybe you’ll build some kind of app and it will do really well and you won’t even have to work for someone else. Maybe you’ll be able to build a whole business out of that and that would be awesome, but even if that doesn’t happen because it’s less likely to happen especially if you’re doing this part time, what will happen is that if you graduate from college and then you have experience you can say, “Look, if you go to website, I built this application and I’m selling it for $33/month” or whatever it is or you can say, “Oh look on the app store and you can see this iOS or this android app that I built.” You can go ahead and show that to an employer and they’re going to look at that and they’re going to say, “Wow, you actually have experience.”

You’re going to get past that catch 22 because you will have experience. Yes, it won’t be experience working for someone else’s company but does it really matter on your resume? Do you even have to report who’s the owner of that company? I mean you could literally just put on your resume this company that you’ve created and you could be working for that company part time or whatever it is. If you have a legitimate company because you’ve built a legitimate product then that might not even really matter. At least you’re going to look a lot better than all those similar college graduates that don’t have any experience. They’re just totally green. They don’t have anything like that.

It’s going to take some time to build up that experience and build up that resume but this is a great start and plus, like I said, you’ve got this added bonus of maybe you can go an entrepreneurial route. Maybe you don’t even need a job for someone else especially if you’re just beginning in college, maybe by the time that you’ve gone through your 4 years of college you’ve built an actual business for yourself by going this route using your skills. The biggest fear that an employer has is that when they hire you you can’t actually write code and there’s an amazing number of software developers that come out of college with 4-year degrees and they actually don’t know anything. They can’t actually write code. They may have learned a lot of book knowledge but they can’t actually write code.

If you can actually demonstrate that you can write code and good code that’s shippable, a shippable product, that’s going to give them a lot of confidence and it’s going to alleviate a lot of those fears. That’s the big thing is just how can you build up experience on your own. You don’t need someone else to do this. Today you can create a company easily. You could put apps in the app store. You can sell things online. I mean it’s amazing how easy it is to take payments with payment processes like Stripe and Paypal and all this.

It used to be hard. You used to have to go and go to the bank and set up a merchant agreement to be able to swipe credit cards and all this. It’s so simple now. Anyone can do this kind of stuff so you should be doing it if you really are serious about getting out there and getting a job right away when you get out of college.

Well I hope that is helpful to you. Best of luck and hopefully you get a nice job that’s not an internship when you get out of college. If you have a question for me just email me at If you feel like this video might benefit someone I’d appreciate it if you’d share it and don’t forget to subscribe to the channel. Take care.

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."