You graduated as a web developer. Now what?
I'm one of those guys who ended up in development way too late. Seeing all those great web applications made me dream of a career in web development myself. Being 20 at the time, and having no background whatsoever, you'd probably tell me it would be a bad idea to turn things around and start a web development education.
Well, you're wrong.
I did have an eye for a great design and yes I did have some feeling to design myself (thanks to Youtube and sleeping 4 hours a night for a year), but the closest I ever came to development, was installing a video game on C:\Program Files.
So after a development crash course of 3 years at school, I graduated. But then what?
Low on confidence, highly motivated
You're on the professional market, you feel like an absolute newbie, have no expertise besides some crappy school projects and you need to find an agency that somehow sees your talent and wants to invest in it. The answer is simple. You fall down on your knees and you beg to take you in. Not exactly, but also not entirely untrue. When you do score a job interview, you're humble and you show an immense drive to improve your skills. It's what landed me my job as a Junior Web Developer at Uni-t 5 years ago.
Have an affair, with a project on the side.
Each and every one of my colleagues was better at their job than me. Obviously. So there are only two options really. Either you slap yourself in the face, go to the restroom and give the mirror your best primal roar, or you hide in the corner, keep sobbing and lose your job in the next few weeks. I decided to stop all interaction with any human beings and started a project on the side. If you're in a band, a sports club or a youth organisation, there's still hope and an online identity that needs to be built.
If you're as lucky as me to have awesome colleagues who want to help you out with yet another bug (that you could have solved with some Google-fu or stackoverflow.com yourself), you'll feel improvement rather quick. Don't forget to buy those guys/gals a beer after your first raise though.
Be self critical
But it doesn't stop after your first "Hallelujah"-moment. Hell no. When you're confident in using the frameworks/software that are needed to do your job, it's time to move on and discover the adventurous world of web development. If you feel there's a buzz around a new release, it's that time again to say goodbye to your girlfriend/wife/mom and embrace yet another brand of energy drinks. If sacrificing your free time for web development feels like a knife through the heart, then the business probably just isn't for you.
5 years of Uni-t
Today, 5 years after graduation, I'm living the dream of working as a Development Manager in a dynamic, professional web agency. I love every second of the rushes, the deadlines and the colleagues. Beers every friday night might have something to do with that as well.