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How I got my first job as a web developer

How I got my first job as a web developer

"Studying while studying" is underrated.

Daniell Wijdenbosch / August 14, 2021

7 min read997 views


When you just start out in the tech industry, things can become quite overwhelming, in this post I will guide you through my journey of decision making and self-studying 💭.

Table of contents

How it all started

When I was a kid I used to spend a lot of time online chatting with other people and playing games, all of this happened without putting many thoughts into it. I never expected to see what is inside of the devices I was using or how the websites I browsed came to life.
As I grew up, technology became more and more popular but tech was not always humans biggest friend. My mom would often ask me to help with her PC as to her it seemed like I had a lot of knowledge about them since I used them often which was not the case, I used to look up a lot of problems online.

Choosing a path

Around the age of 12 I got to attend high school, now I was without a doubt not a great learner, I preferred creating things which was visible in my test results. The advice I got was to follow the VMBO school track which I agreed with.
I had to pick a specific career path to prepare myself, I was aware I could always change the path if I wanted but it was a bit overwhelming so I asked my friends and family for advice since I had no clue what I wanted to do at the time. Naturally people recommended me to do something with IT and so I figured I might as well give it a try.
I chose to study general IT, this involved learning about operating systems, hardware, servers and a little bit of web development all with customers in mind. I learned to build a PC and how they operate and I learned how to build websites with HTML and CSS.


Internships are a great way to figure out if a certain field suits you!

Hardware service

Once we were prepared to get a feel of what it's like to work in a professional environment we had to start our first internship, I was very excited at the time, I applied at a hardware service store where I got to repair PC's and provide customers with purchase advice. Now I have to admit some days I did not enjoy as much as others, I found myself checking if it was time to go home already from time to time, I did not enjoy that feeling but surely it's normal, right?

IT help desk support

At this point in school we started focussing on what specific path we wanted to take in order to specialise ourselves because this was the year we would graduate and either apply for a job or continue studying. During this period we also had to finish our final internship to graduate, I started at a place where I learned about managing Windows servers and help people with their hard- and software issues. Just like my previous internship I had some days I did not enjoy as much as others and I would often look at the time.
Every week we'd have 4 days of work at our internship and 1 day of school to work on projects, this was when I found out I really enjoyed creating websites, every project I'd spend extra time outside of school to make each site looks pretty using CSS frameworks, this is when I figured I wanted to specialise in software development.

Web development

Prior to my software development study I graduated as IT specialist. We started off playing around with Blockly.
While this was a fun exercise, it did not allow us to create something visually pleasing to users so quickly after, we were introduced to the fundamentals of programming using PHP! I was struggling because HTML and CSS did not have the concepts of a programming language but I tried my best and I learned a lot along the way.
As we gained more knowledge of web development using a programming language, we took our first internship as part of our study, I got to create websites and manage existing ones using PHP and a custom in-house CMS.

The beginning of my career

Just like my previous study, in our final year we had to finish off with one more internship to graduate but before we did that we got introduced to programming with C#, it all started off with basic console applications and form apps, after that we even did some basic game development with Unity and we got to work with ASP.NET. I thought all of this was relatively fun but I was interested in making the websites we did more interactive and pretty, this is when I decided to spend time learning JavaScript in my free time.
Since we did not do any JavaScript at school I was on my own and I was seeking for guidance by browsing online communities, this is when I found an awesome Discord server called The Programmers Hangout. This place was full of helpful people of which a few introduced me to Node.js to run JavaScript on the server side, with my prior fundamental knowledge of programming with PHP, I was able to pick up the different syntax relatively easily, I could always ask for help when I was stuck.
As time passed by I started learning about web servers, Node.js applications, server side rendering using templating engines and slowly I started learning about TypeScript and React, I made some fun projects along the way which I put on GitHub. I want to give a huge shoutout to my main programming teacher as he allowed me to do my school projects in JavaScript / TypeScript rather than PHP or C#.
I got closer to my final exams and internship and I felt ready to chase what I enjoyed the most, I wanted to find a place where I could possibly get a job as a full stack JavaScript developer, the only problem was that this stack was not popular in my area, I had to travel at least 30 minutes to an hour to find companies that use this stack but I'm glad I finally found one, I did not want to graduate later than others so I called a company to tell them I was in need of an internship and luckily enough I was invited for an introduction within a few days. They were impressed when they saw my GitHub project(s) so I got the role! 🥳
Time flew by and it was time to start my final exams at school, I was scared because I spent so much time learning on my own that I forgot about some of the PHP and C# ecosystem, yet we were forced to pick either to complete our exam. I am happy to say that I did make it, I decided to finish my exams with C#. The people at my internship were happy to have me and so after I graduated, I stayed to work full-time as a Junior full stack JavaScript developer.


  • Got into IT because I used to spend a lot of time on PC's
  • Figured I preferred software over hardware through internships
  • Figured I preferred making websites over everything else
  • Learned PHP and C# at school and JavaScript / TypeScript in my free time
  • Put some projects on GitHub to show I was capable of creating apps using JavaScript
  • Applied for a full stack JavaScript position as intern
  • Got hired, and stayed for a junior position

Final thoughts

I highly encourage anyone to explore what's out there the moment you are in school, don't limit yourself to what school offers, try things and spend time improving yourself, if you really want to achieve something, you can do it 💪🏽.
How did you get your first job? Leave your thoughts and comments below!

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