I am a software developer with 5+years of work experience.

My background is that I am a not a engineering graduate. But I started my career as a developer trainee and then after 1 year itself, they promoted me as a software Developer. I worked there for 3 years and then I changed the company. I joined second company as a software Developer, and then after 2 years, I have been promoted to Senior role.

From both the company, I got very positive feedback from my colleagues and even 1 time I was awarded as a Star employee for the month. I worked as full stack developer in both the company. So I have knowledge from back-end to front-end. I actively involved in all the technical discussions and didn't find hard for me to understand.

Recently, I have moved to another country. I come here in a dependent visa. I started searching for a job. I interviewed for 5 companies and joined for a company which gives me the first offer letter, why because I was in need of a job. In this company there was no technical round interview. They asked to create an app using angular. I didn't worked with angular earlier. But still I was able to build the app from scratch. The feedback was like, they liked the way I code, means structuring and modularity. But angular was not up to the mark. They offered me a salary which was below industrial standards. But, as I was in need of a job, so I joined there.

After joining there, I got a call from another company which earlier interviewed me. They tell me that they are ready to give me offer. But again the salary was far low compared to industrial stds. I asked them why, they said they didn't find that much knowledge in me. A 5 year experienced would have a great knowledge. So I need to prove myself to get industrial standards.

Why did they say that they did not find much knowledge in me?

My current company is a startup and here I was getting work more related to preparing docs and gathering requirements etc. Coding is very less. Everyone else in the development in here is more in coding and seems very busy working. And I am feeling like I am not at all critical to business. So I decided to join the other company.

I present the same thing to my CEO. And then he immediately raise my salary and asked me to continue here. And guaranteed me that I will get coding tasks and when the team enlarge I will be the lead.. It didn't seems to be trusted and working. But as they hiked my salary and the way they asked me to stay make me think of continue here.

After 1 week again I got a call from another company which I earlier attended technical interview and asked me to come for another round of interview. But I declined the request.

My concern is, I am also not thinking that I am that much knowledgeable. My self esteem is becoming low. I am thinking like may be I was lacking coding knowledge that's why they are not giving me coding tasks.

I always work in professional way. So I didn't want to waste there money or infrastructure on me. As I said earlier this is startup, I feel like I should also support the company to achieve the goals. I love the company culture. I like the teammates and other colleagues. But still I find myself odd.

Please advice me what can I do to improve myself and my professional life.

closed as off-topic by OldPadawan, panoptical, motosubatsu, JazzmanJim, gnat Feb 23 at 4:42

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  • Hello Rafel. Welcome to The Workplace. Your question has a lot of background, but I'm not sure I understand the question itself and I don't want to become distracted by the story you've told. It seems you don't actually have a problem (you're desired by multiple companies, have been given a raise, etc.) and are only feeling unsure of yourself. Is that correct, or do you have a specific question about your employability? – JBH Feb 21 at 9:24
  • @Rafael: I think you should highlight the question: "Why didn't they find that much knowledge in me?" Advice about improvement is useful, but side information. – virolino Feb 21 at 10:22
  • @virolino. I have edited the question – RAFEL Feb 21 at 10:48

It most likely was an attempt of the interviewer to make you swallow the low pay!

Don't let these kinds of tricks impact your self esteem!

I do however suggest to take an objective look at your capabilities to find your strength and what you like.

Hone those as much as you can and if you're in contact with prospective employers let them know these strengths and that you'd like to focus on these.

Make sure not to ignore other important or standard fields though and at least develop an understanding in them.

  • Thanks for your valuable time. Seems right to me – RAFEL Feb 21 at 10:49
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    Yep, this is recruiter BS, nothing to do with OP. They thought they could get away with it, noticed they couldn't and are coming back with new offers. Because they need developers, because everybody needs developers. @RAFEL should keep his chin up and maybe find the courage to "play the players", it's a sellers market! – Douwe Feb 21 at 10:50
  • @Douwe I don't want to put words in your mouth, but by saying "It's a sellers' market", you meant "it's an applicant's job market", right? – Wilson Feb 21 at 13:42
  • @Wilson Yes, as in he/she who is selling their time as a software engineer. The developer shortage is real, I know for a fact it is in the Netherlands, and people tell me it's the same all over, at least in Europe and the US. – Douwe Feb 21 at 15:03
  1. It is in your best interest to get a degree in a relevant field. Employers value people with a degree more than they value without a degree, for the same job. You should be able to find a cheap(er) alternative, maybe some distance courses. If you decide for this path, any diploma is better than no diploma.

  2. When they say that they did not find enough knowledge, it does not (necessarily) mean that you know nothing. It is just that you do not have the experience with the technologies they use.

Example: you are an expert in Java and php, but they work with python. While you are able to work as a full-stack developer, and while you CAN learn python, for some time after start you will be just a beginner using the new language.

My own example: I worked 18+ years in embedded real-time software development (almost all roles, from execution to management). But if I will apply for a job as a web developer (details irrelevant), I will have to accept to be hired on a beginner position. It may possible to become senior in as little as one year, but my knowledge right now is limited at best.

Do not take the experiences personally. Treat them as opportunities to understand yourself better and to understand where you need to improve.

Do not be afraid to ask for any details about rejection. Some companies / recruiters will be willing to answer and help you.

  • I think after 5+ years of relevant experience the degree (or lack of it) is quite irrelevant by now. If I had studied computer science instead of MechEng, it would all have been obsolescent long ago. What employers are looking for is experience and willingness to learn. – RedSonja Feb 21 at 11:44
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    I agree that experience can be achieved in many ways. But in some cases, you need that piece of paper called a diploma - just as a formality, because of a (country) law or because of some policy. In some countries, having a diploma in a relevant field brings significant benefits - and the company cannot provide the benefit if a diploma is not provided. I am aware that having experience / knowledge and having a diploma are two different things, sometimes, unfortunately, unrelated. – virolino Feb 21 at 11:53
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    Another thing is: employers look at anything that they can use in order to keep the salary as low as possible. It is business. The trick with the diploma is the most honest one, for that mater. – virolino Feb 21 at 12:06
  • In your example career move, you could make the world's fastest web sites :) – Fattie Feb 21 at 12:09
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    @virolino I'd hire you for a medior/senior position right off the bat, with the caveat that you'll be given 6-12 months to prove your worth. Do not underestimate the usefulness of having low level knowledge even when working in a high level language. In my experience, the "smart ones" will adapt to a new language/environment/paradigm in no time. In the end, it's all if-then-else anyway :) – Douwe Feb 21 at 16:27

Personal projects, personal projects, personal projects.

I assume, being a professional developer, all of your paid work is under copyright - you are not allowed to distribute it. If you work on public things, (such as websites), then you can point to those in your portfolio, but you can't discuss much at all about the implementation, just "I did that".

So, to fill the gap, fill your time with personal projects for fun. Make sure your github looks cool. Contribute to open source projects, or practice using new libraries or whatever, just make sure you have something for employers to look at. "I've worked for 5 years" isn't impressive at all - those in the industry know that time is nothing to do with talent.

@virolino suggested getting a degree, but I highly disagree. I also work in software, and I am entirely without a degree. All I have is a couple years' experience, and evidence of a lot of passion. Getting a degree only costs you 4 years of your life, and more money than I care to find out about. It might be true in other fields, but not at all in this one.

Finally, you mentioned you were desperate for a job, and had to take the first thing you could get. That is a fantastic way to be very underpaid. Getting a job involves a negotiation process, in which whomever has less to lose by walking away from the situation will come off better. I believe you did things in the wrong order. You should have remained in your home country, employed however you already were, whilst looking for jobs in your destination country. You must learn from the past, and when the time comes to change jobs, start looking WAY before it's too late. Again, you said you're in software. You're highly in demand nowadays. You just have to prove how good you are to an outsider.

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    "I've worked for 5 years isn't impressive at all" It is to me, and I've been hiring devs for many years now. Github/stack profiles are "nice to have" but not really relevant, I rather hear an applicant say they are too busy for all that stuff tbh. Experience trumps education which in turn trumps github profiles and the like. Your personal projects tell me nothing about how you are going to fit in my team, your experience on the other hand tells me you were able to work in a professional environment before, probably will be again. – Douwe Feb 21 at 10:42
  • With as much respect as you're willing to attribute to me, then - I'm thankful I don't work for you. Passion trumps everything so long as it's backed up with at least a little skill, and a reasonably good github shows both. "Not having time" is just not having passion. One can spend less time in front of the television or playing video games. – Adam Barnes Feb 21 at 11:51
  • @AdamBarnes Passion as a primary measure often breeds hardly maintainable legacy code of passion bursts or by people who were so "passionate" they knew they could just do that in a week without having any experience with what they hacked into the system, huge bus factor "teams", lack of vision beyond the own coding interface and often burn outs. Yes that's not a given and I'm painting the extreme picture, but actual work experience (with some successes) is a good indicator that multiple aspects come together including some basic passion. – Frank Hopkins Feb 21 at 14:26
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    This answer (and subsequent comment by answerer) seem to place a lot of emphasis on GitHub profiles as showing "passion". I think they are useful, but more along the lines of straightforward coding challenges. You get to see a sample of their skills, but in a pretty artificial way. I just take it as another input, but not this main vector of "passion". If "passion" (or perhaps more meaningfully, a desire to continue learning) were important for my hiring need, I'd rather suss that out in a conversation (much easier to do without noise factors). – Chan-Ho Suh Feb 21 at 15:48
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    @Chan-HoSuh There's also the point that (at least my) personal projects tend to prioritize technical considerations over time spent, and there is very little to no pressure from stakeholders. Although it's nice to see how someone works under ideal conditions, it still doesn't tell me if this person is going to fit in my team. A good resume showing relevant experience however will always get an applicant that interview. Which is accompanied by a coding challenge anyway. – Douwe Feb 21 at 16:15

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