September 27, 2019

Role Model: Junior Android Developer

Agata Piekut by Agata

Joanna Heluszka shares her story of becoming Android Developer: from self-learning proces, recruitment interviews to favorite resources. Enjoy!

My name is Asia and I am a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering.
I would like to share with you how I became a software developer.
Hope you’ll find useful resources and processes that I share here.

My story

After a few internships and less than a year of working as a Process Engineer in a manufacturing company, I decided that I want my future to look different. I checked what are the most popular technologies in IT and asked my friends who already work in the industry for opinions. I chose Java and Android Development.

For the next eight months, I studied for 2-12 hours a day, depending on the time available. I studied alone at home, using books, websites, videos, Internet courses and creating my applications.

Next, I analyzed the requirements on the job market for Android Developers and started sending my CV. It took me about 1.5 months to find my first job as a Junior Android Developer.

How I learned to code on my own

First, I decided to pick up a base book to study. I was looking for a book that would introduce me to the world of programming, and guide me through all the most important issues of Java. I chose “Thinking in Java” by Bruce Eckel.

I worked through the book according to this process: after going through each chapter, I picked another book and found a similar chapter in it. Then I made another 3-4 coding exercises to make sure that I’ve understood everything.

When I finished the book and additional materials, it was time to learn GIT. I created an account on github.com and went through Internet guides on GIT version control.

Now it was time to start coding my projects. I designed a simple program, wrote it in Java, tracked all the versions on GIT, and published it in the public repository on Github.

After I learned Java, it was time for the basics of Android. Again I chose the base book – “Introduction to Android Application Development” by Joseph Annuzzi Jr., Lauren Darcey, Shane Conder. And I repeated the learning process. I also developed a new application, this one was much more advanced and required learning about communication with the server using the REST API.

By this time, I started sending out my CV, which I prepared visually and to showcase my technology stack and projects. In the meantime, I took a course at Kotlin Academy (run by Marcin Moskała) – it was great! 

How I got my first job

Before I found my first job, I participated in some recruitments. Each of them was different, but here’s a summary of common elements: 

First stage:

  • write a simple program for Android
  • write a simple program implementing the selected algorithm
  • test of technical knowledge about Java and Android

Second stage:

  • HR interview about the experience and soft skills

Third stage:

  • Skype/phone conversation with a technical person to check my knowledge of Java, Android, and the libraries that I use

Fourth stage:

  • meeting in the company’s office with a technical person to go through my knowledge of Java and Android, the libraries I use, my recruitment tasks. 
  • during one of the meetings I was asked about the theoretical knowledge from IT studies curriculum, although they knew I graduated in another field.

In the case of the company in which I got my job, there was only one stage in the recruitment process. I was invited to a meeting in the company’s headquarters with the IT Department Director and Senior Android Developer. We had a strictly technical interview about the basics of Android programming, the libraries I use, design patterns and my project. I was offered a two-week trial. For these two weeks, I was solving tasks prepared by a teammate. After the trial period, I got a job offer.

What I’ve learned during the process

  • enumerate your skills in CV according to how well you know them 
  • create an account on github.com and put there any major program you created while learning (add information that it was built as a training)
  • always include a link to your Github in your CV
  • never lie during the interview
  • if you do not know something, admit it openly and explain you’ll learn it after the interview
  • set a weekly or monthly goal of hours spent on coding and try to meet it
  • don’t be afraid to ask your friends who work in IT colleagues when you have a problem
  • But before you do – Google it or check on Stackoverflow <- they already know the answer to most of your questions 🙂
  • be consistent
  • do not give up!

My resources

  • Books
    • Thinking in JAVA” Bruce Eckel
    • ANDROID Wprowadzenie do programowania aplikacji” Joseph Annuzzi Jr., LAuren Darcey, Shane Conder
    • Czysty kod” Robert C. Martin
    • Java” Marcin Lis
    • Java Ćwiczenia zaawansowane” Marcin Lis
    • “Java Zadania z programowania z przykładowymi rozwiązaniami” Mirosław J. Kubiak
    • Java in 24 hours” Rogers Cadenhead

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