Speaking as someone who has directly recruited, trained, mentored, worked with (and many other scenarios!) over the years and in many organisations, I can say with direct experience that Junior Developers are very much valued in many organisations and can provide a LOT of value.
The challenge is that many people looking for Junior Developer type roles think it’s as straight forward as buying a $14.99 Udemy course or going on a coding bootcamp think that this is like a Scouts badge of honour giving them the “Certification” to do the job and demanding a £40k salary. It isn’t, regardless of some of the market non-sense that is happening in certain locations.
Any Junior Developer looking to get into the game needs to show a real desire for continuous learning, be able to talk through confidently about a side project they have been experimenting with (even if it is shit! i.e. what did they learn etc.), and ultimately be honest with their self. Most Junior Developers focus on playing with Tech X or Tech Y. No-one cares if people ‘ate the book’ on a specific language/framework/library/whatever. Learn the basics, evidence the basics, and show a desire to learn.
I’d recruit (and have done!) on the above for a Junior Developer any day over someone who knows the difference between a Pass By Reference VS Pass By Value description.
Show me a sample project where you have set up a “HelloWorld.html” that I can access publicly. Infrastructure. Security. Web Server. Git. Etc. I don’t care if you’ve been on a Docker or Kubernetes 101 course if you don’t know the basics, and most importantly, can’t implement them.
Software development is about problem solving. Show me you can problem solve and I’ll have a conversation with anyone any time and if I’m aware of any opportunities within my network I’ll happily pass these opportunities on to any Junior Developers wanting to put their foot forward.
You wouldn’t recruit an Artist because they have been on a Drawing & Painting Course. It’s all about talent and potential. So Junior Developers need to showcase this. Development isn’t about learning the syntax/code. That’s the easy bit.
Software development is easy when you get to a certain point. The challenge is with Junior Developers is that you don’t know what you don’t know. So do something and talk about it confidently. Any experienced person you’re talking to will poke holes in virtually everything you believe to be true, and that’s ok, you’re a Junior Developer. And that also doesn’t mean that what the experienced person you’re talking to is correct either. You may have a genuine point to make which is a different perspective. After all, experienced people can often get stuck in their ways.
This is important though, Software Development is about solving problems. It’s not about rank or seniority. Granted, not all opinions or thought processes are equal in a discussion when there is a critical problem at hand being discussed, but hat is not to say experience trumps but that it is more of an evidence based approach. So discussions become fact based not opinionated.