How To Land A $100,000/Year Tech Job- 10 Strategies With A 95.47% Success Rate
To make this story, I reached out to a few different hiring managers both at big corporations and startups to figure out what the decision-makers are looking for. Especially when hiring a self-taught programmer with prior experience.
First, meet Bob. Bob is an exceptionally average guy who currently works at Taco Bell. He has some programming skills he learned on Youtube but has no connections, no social media following, no college degree, and no trending apps on the app store.
For some reason, he wants to work in the tech industry where he can stare at a computer screen for 10 hours per day googling how to get his code to work.
In today’s story, you’ll look at 10 powerful strategies that can help You and Bob land a six-figure job by the end of 2023.
- Strong Mindset
The first thing you’ll need is the right attitude. Getting a high-paying job in tech is hard.
There’s a lot of overly optimistic marketing bullshit out there that might make you think you should go to a Bootcamp for a few weeks and immediately after you’re making a hundred thousand dollars.
Well, some success stories go like that but for the most part, it’s a very difficult grind that requires you to be highly motivated and highly persistent.
It’s a grind and you should have the same mindset when going into it yourself independently. But on the bright side, it’s achievable if you work hard at it and accept the fact that you’re probably going to have to face a lot of rejection before you finally land a job.
2. Location Matters
Let’s move to strategy #2. → Live in the United States. Specifically, in New York City, SF Bay Area, or Seattle.
In the 2021 Stack Overflow survey, the median salary for software engineers is well below 100k. But in the US, it jumps up to about 130k.
A few weeks ago, a poll was done with over 150,000 responses yet only 11% are making more than 100k. Sadly, where you live does make a big difference so keep your expectations in line with your region.
Now the key to getting hired is to make yourself valuable. Think of it from the eyes of the employer; why would they want to hire you? What value would you add to the team, to the product, or the company?
Most tech companies don’t make any money but the general idea of employment is that the employer can make a profit off your labor. The question becomes how do we make you desirable to potential employers?
3. Master The Twitter Game
Strategy 3. We’ll look at Twitter.
There’s a whole subculture out there called #techtwitter and I’ve seen tons of people land a job simply by adding value to this tech twitter community.
There’s a pretty simple formula for growing a Twitter account. To get started, follow the influential people that you want to be hired by then create a profile that’s transparent that you’re on a journey to land your first job in tech then you can start responding to other people’s tweets with encouragement and positivity.
People will think “hey Bob’s a nice guy, I want to see him succeed and I’m going to follow him to watch it happen” from there, you need to hack the heck out of the Twitter algorithm.
Whenever you learn something new, post a thread about it. If you have any good code tips, use Carbon to create a snippet and post it with a bunch of emojis. You’ll also want to create lists with resources for developers like the best youtube channels to learn programming.
Also, tweet out open-ended questions for better engagement and come up with your memes. The majority of influential Twitter accounts’ growth has been the result of memes.
If you're serious, you should be tweeting every single day. Multiple times per day. One account I follow tweets an average of 37 times per day which generates an average of 277 new followers per day.
You don’t need to be that hard, but just try to be consistent. More importantly, don’t screw things up by saying something controversial, religious or political.
Someone with a lot of followers might call you out and then everybody will dog pile on you and at that point, your tech journey will be over before it started.
4. Network on LinkedIn
Let’s move into strategy #4 →LinkedIn.
There are tons of recruiters on LinkedIn who can help you get a job in tech. But Bob doesn't have any connections in tech yet so how does he even get started? With LinkedIn.
Well, the first thing you can do is find people who you look up to and send them a message that you’re looking to get into tech and that you would like to connect. Most humans are pretty nice and will connect with you with no problem.
Also, join groups of different technologies that you’re interested in and participate in them if possible. You can also build your network by posting content.
You can just reuse the content you’ve been using for threads on Twitter and post it to LinkedIn.
Now that you have your LinkedIn network going, we can talk about the most important social site →GitHub.
As a self-taught programmer, it’s very important that you at least have something going on in your Github.
In a perfect world, you have commits every single day, not only to your project but to many other open-source projects out there.
That’s not very realistic but it’s important to be consistent. To an employer, it shows that you’re capable of writing code every day which tends to be a pretty important part of the job.
If you’re just getting started, one of the easiest ways to contribute is to look for typos in the documentation.
Find an open-source project, and find all kinds of typos in it. If you fix it and send a pull request, you can easily add that contribution to your timeline.
As you start using more open-source libraries, don’t be afraid to open issues when you find problems, and if you want to contribute, look for issues that are tagged with “issues”.
It is true that you’re working for free here but doing so will make your GitHub profile much stronger and it's just a great experience as a developer in fact if you don’t have fun doing this kind of stuff then maybe a career as a software engineer isn’t the best career path.
6. Build One Epic Project
Now that your GitHub is impressive, it’s time to build a personal project.
Because Bob is a developer that nobody knows he needs to show employers that he can build something non-trivial.
Ideally, something that will blow people’s minds that cannot be ignored. You are much better off having one awesome app than 10 mediocre apps.
Quality is much better than quantity when it comes to your portfolio. The engineering manager who hires you is likely a much better programmer than you are. They’ll be able to tell if your portfolio is filled with a bunch of cookie-cutter projects recreated from tutorials on youtube.
Give yourself three to six months to build something truly impressive. One example is the portfolio of Bruno Simon. the reaction from other developers should be something like “wow, that is not easy to pull off” and “ it’s so good that I want to include it in my Medium story”.
7. Build In Public
Building an app is one thing but the next strategy is to build this app in public.
What I mean by that is you should transparently document the entire process while you spend the next few months building something awesome.
The most common way to do that is by blogging. There are many sites out there like Dev.to and Medium to create your blog easily. But I would highly recommend blogging on your custom-built site. In my opinion, a custom site expresses more passion for the craft of development.
In addition to blogging, you'll also want to be documenting the process on LinkedIn and Twitter and you may even consider starting your own YouTube channel.
Building in public is extremely powerful because it creates a feedback loop you don’t otherwise get when you’re just working alone. There’s a whole community of startups who are building in public. You should give them feedback on their products and in return, they’ll do the same to make your project better.
You might even consider monetizing your project because if you build something good you might end up accidentally creating a job for yourself.
One example of such a success story is Superhuman- an email application that charges $30/mo. It was built in public. They got tons of great feedback from potential customers while building the product and you can do the same thing with your brand while looking for a job.
8. Real Life Networking
We can move into strategy #8 → Real life networking.
Yes, the one where you have to look at people’s faces and say words to them and stuff.
As an introvert, this has never come easy for me. But what I can tell you is, some of the best business contacts I have come from real-life interactions. Believe it or not, Zoom or the Metaverse doesn’t replace the magic of face-to-face human interaction.
Traditionally, the best way to meet people locally is through meetups.
All you have to do is find your local programming meetup, show up there, and eat some free pizza. And maybe you’ll meet someone important that can help you down the road.
The other thing I'd recommend is attending conferences. It’s more expensive but a lot of hiring managers and employees attend these things and they’re often looking for people to hire who are interested in their tech stack.
Learning the basic skills of introducing yourself and making small talk can go a long way when it comes to landing a job. You just have to get in a room with the right people.
As they say “It’s not what you know but who you know.”
9. Get a Mentor
Another powerful strategy is to get a mentor which is much easier to do when you make a real-life connection
It might be a person with 20 years of experience or a person that’s just one step ahead of you who just landed their first job.
It’s extremely valuable to have a person in the industry who you can have an honest conversation with. You’re likely making many mistakes that you don’t even realize.
Having a mentor who can validate or criticize the things you’re doing is much faster than actually making those mistakes and learning from them. Most boot camps will give you a mentor and that’s one of the main things you pay them for.
But you’d be surprised at how many people out there will mentor you for free because at one point they were in your shoes and people are more altruistic than you might think.
10. Become a Good Fit
That brings me to strategy number 10. Be a good fit.
As you start applying for jobs, you’ll mostly hear silence but if you’re lucky you’ll get a phone interview and then be rejected the next day.
The natural reaction here is to be sad and to feel worthless or you might be angry at the company or think the interviewer treated you unfairly but the reality is that rejection is just the story you tell yourself.
The best way to respond to it is to accept it as part of life and selfishly see what you can gain from it maybe ask for feedback or guidance to help you do better next time.
What you’ll notice about successful people is that they’re persistent they fail over and over again without caring until finally, something works now another thing to keep in mind is that a company won’t hire you based on your technical skill alone.
It helps but they also want to make sure that you fit into their company culture. As a candidate they want you to embrace their core values and make sure that you’ll fit into their management leadership style.
So, before the interview, you should understand the company’s core values and look at their social media profiles to see what kind of message they’re putting out there. Make sure you align with their values unless you want to hate your job for the next 10 years.
Try to mold yourself into the candidate that they're looking for. I’d recommend checking out Danny Thompson's Youtube channel who has a short video that explains this in detail.
And with that, you have 10 strategies that can help you land a job. You don’t need to use all of these but each one can get you a little bit closer to landing a six-figure tech job.
In addition, you’ll also need to learn how to code, and how to master the technical interview.
But don’t worry, I have upcoming articles on those topics as well so make sure you’re following me so you don’t miss them. Thanks for reading, clap if you liked the story and comment down on what I should improvise.