So before I ask my question, I'd like to give you some background so you'd understand my situation better. I'm currently a high school(I'll be attending grade 10 although I'm 15) but over the last couple of years because of my performance at ceratin subjects(Maths and tech), I skipped the mentioned subjects twice so I'm currently 2 years ahead of my other classmates(Again, in those ceratin subjects). But unfortunately every year I can only do 1 year ahead of my actual grade which sometimes may hold me back(I don't mean to be braggy or overconfident but I've been doing programming ever since I was 10 and my Math skills/knowledge is well above grade 11). Now, I know some of you might say just study for until you get to college or university but I just feel like (Again, not to be egotism) I have the knowledge of a 1st year CS student but have almost no real-world experience.

My question: How could I start either working for a company or on a project that could benefit me, give me practical experience and build my resume?


Given some of your responses, I figured my question might be vague to some so here are some more details/specifications: 1.I am looking for a programming job, not involving video games(Which I think would have been the best option for me but I just don't see the point in making a video game). 2. My main goal is not* money; I'm mainly looking for experience and really see how a business works. 3. I acutally have considered(And done) doing an open source project but as I already mentioned, I'm seeking for experience in not just programming, but also see how a business really works.

Thank you in advance!

  • 3
    Check your local laws. I couldn't work at an engineering business until I was 16.
    – Mattman944
    Jun 29, 2019 at 23:57
  • Are you looking for the job mainly for experience or for money? Jun 30, 2019 at 5:43
  • Employing minors has been frowned upon, except for limited and controlled hours, since the legislation was drafted around chimney sweeps etc They were employed, paid a pittance, effectively slave labour just because they were small enough to fit inside chimneys...
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 30, 2019 at 6:55
  • Have you considered working on an open source project? You wouldn't get all the parts of 'real job experience' but you would have to the chance to work on a big project in a team.
    – Helena
    Jun 30, 2019 at 9:46
  • Have you considered working an internship or work-experience placement? You said you aren't looking for money and they will usually cover cost of travel and lunch. You will find it much easier to get a job like this and they will usually employ minors with no experience for a couple of months over summer holidays (certainly in the UK, consider adding a location tag to your post).
    – Gamora
    Jul 1, 2019 at 9:27

2 Answers 2


Conflict of Interest: I am a member of the Apache Software Foundation, and of its project management committees for OpenOffice and River.

There are several advantages to joining an open source project if you don't need the money from a paid job:

  • You do not have to disclose your age if you prefer to be treated as an adult.
  • You avoid the paperwork involved in paid work at your current age. For example, see the California Child Labor Laws pamphlet.
  • You avoid the costs and logistics issues of getting to and from work.
  • You can learn to work on a much larger body of code than any one person project, or the type of small project you are likely to find locally.
  • You can get experience working in a team with other programmers.
  • To get into a really good school for the next stage of your education you need good grades across all subjects, not just the easy ones like mathematics. That means giving priority to homework, which you can do on a volunteer project but not a paid job.
  • You will not be limited by arbitrary rules about hours worked, given your age, on days when you have time. For example, in California during most of the year you would not be permitted to work after 7 p.m., but it may be convenient for you to do some programming later in the evening.
  • You get an early start on building your professional network which will help with getting jobs later. I have received e-mails asking about my availability for jobs just based on my open source activities, without the writers being likely to know my age, qualifications, and experience.

To get the full advantages you need to pick an existing project that has an active team working on it, real users, and a substantial body of code.

  • @JoeStrazzere I think the rules are arbitrary, and fail to account for teenage sleep patterns. Their natural sleep cycles tend to be later than older people. The OP should plan to get about 9 hours of sleep before needing to get up in the morning, rather than being constrained to a fixed stopping time. Jul 2, 2019 at 12:10

How could I start either working for a company or on a project that could benefit me, give me practical experience and build my resume?

The obvious answer is to apply for a job, get accepted, and start working there.

Of course your age and inexperience will make that difficult, so you'll have to be creative about where you apply, and how you present yourself on your application.

A few possibilities are:

  • apply at a company where you have some personal connection (a relative perhaps) there who could get you an interview. I helped my son get an interview at a company where a friend of mine worked.

  • apply for a job at your school. My son got a help-desk job at his middle school, and later his high school. He even worked at his college's help desk for a while.

  • talk to your school's guidance office and see if any local companies are looking for help, perhaps through some sort of "young tech" program

  • cast your net wide. For example, if you would prefer a programming job, also look at related jobs. Sometimes once you are in and demonstrate competence and reliability, you can change roles.

Also be aware that in some locales, minors would need the permission of a parent and sometimes the permission of the school to be permitted to work. On top of that your hours may be limited, particularly during school days. Look into that at your school's guidance office if you aren't sure.

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