Recommended steps

If a job offer doesn’t come to you quickly through the connections you’ve already made, there can be a lot to think about as you start your job search in earnest. Here’s a checklist that might help you think more clearly about all of the individual steps you’ll need to take, and the process as a whole.

You can also download this checklist as a pdf file.

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Background knowledge and projects

  • Learn the fundamentals of programming: variables, lists, dictionaries, loops, conditional statements, functions, classes, working with files, and testing your code
  • Complete several larger-scale projects from a book or other learning resource
  • Build a meaningful project of your own, or add a significant set of features to a project you started in a tutorial
  • Learn about some intermediate concepts such as generators, async, recursion, regular expressions, algorithms, data structures, and more
  • Become familiar with the official Python documentation
  • Become familiar with the documentation of other libraries you use
  • Build a professional portfolio
  • Learn to use some of the advanced features of your editor or IDE
  • Use a version control system such as Git to manage your projects


Searching for jobs

  • Decide what kinds of jobs you’re most interested in
  • Research companies and organizations you might want to work for
  • Find a job board with relevant listings, and follow it for new opportunities
  • Attend a meetup or conference, or find an online programming-related community to join
  • Build your professional network


Applying for jobs

  • Write a base resume that’s mostly for you
  • Adapt your resume to at least one specific kind of job you’re looking for
  • Write a cover letter for each job you’re interested in applying to
  • Submit an application for at least one open position (It can be tempting to keep putting off this important step!)
  • Practice interviewing with a friend or colleague
  • Go through an interview, and make written notes about the process
  • Use your experiences so far to focus what you’re currently learning, and what you’re currently building
  • Continue to build your personal and professional networks
  • Continue reading and learning about the job-searching process
  • Be prepared to negotiate a market-rate salary that’s fair to your level of experience and knowledge


After you land your first job

  • Ask the questions you need in order to perform well in your job
  • Stay long enough to complete meaningful projects and make specific contributions
  • Keep an eye out for the right time to change jobs, as you gain experience
  • Develop expertise in one area of programming, without letting yourself get stuck
  • Continue to learn on your own time, while maintaining a healthy work-life balance
  • Find ways to help those who are just starting out on their professional journey


Download this checklist as a pdf file