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I'm currently in a bit of a wiggle; I am currently employed by the hour at a consulting firm with 6~ other devs employed.

Although the company is somewhat successful I am not getting quite the amount of clients I'd like;

1 small client project~ /month

And the salary might be seen as "ok" as a teenager, but looking at the avg Swedish SF it does not come close, and that's expected when paid by the hour I guess, but I still feel like it's an underpayment. What I am trying to do is get an intern position at a larger company, larger meaning a better reference on a resume & hopefully a bit better paid.

But all intern positions I've seen require a bachelor degree OR currently graduating with a bachelor degree; and as stated above, I am only 15 and only in ninth grade (Nordic school years) so it is not quite possible.

To be honest, I'd work for free for a good reference/contacts.

What would you guys suggest I do at this point? I don't wanna wait another 4-6 years to get a junior job, and school is really no problem. I am currently available 40-60 hours per week for work. I guess my goal is to build up some sort of network of references for the future.

I'd appreciate any help, thanks! :)

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  • It might be useful to explore apprenticeship programs. While you're doing very well learning in your own, these companies help young learners bypass the collegiate/time requirements and can be expected to help navigate labor laws. They also have lots of company contacts for places who are looking for young developers to help grow the market. Oct 17 at 14:46
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    I would look into contributing to open source projects if I were you
    – Maxime
    Oct 17 at 14:46
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    I would expect it rare to find companies willing to hire a junior developer unable to work typical 9-5 working patterns. While senior engineers often have the experience to work productively out-of-hours, it's tough for a junior who would need a lot of mentoring and closer real-time collaboration with others. Maybe you can devote many hours per week, but most of those hours are likely evenings and weekends when everyone else who works for the company would be enjoying their own free time. Oct 17 at 18:25
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    ... You have quite some experience so far. If I were in a similar position I would keep going at my current role and at the same time spend some time to polish my "HR talk skills" and learn to write good personalized internship cover letters to highlight my experience and willingness to work for specific companies and target a summer internship with one of them. The worse that can happen is they say no. Do consult with your parents or custodian before though, just so you avoid being taken advantage of.
    – Bogdan
    Oct 17 at 19:55
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    If you work for free to get reputation, you will get a reputation as the guy who works for free. You do not want that, you want to be recommended by and to people who value your work enough to pay for it. Oct 18 at 20:59
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Speaking as someone who is more than twice your age: You are 15 years old. You will have many, many years of your life to work and make money. While you're young, be young. Spend your time hanging out with your friends, playing video games (or whatever it is you like to do), surfing Reddit, or so on. Don't spend 40-60 hours per week coding for some company; you'll regret it later in life.

As a side note, are you in school? If you have 60 hours per week to code, plus roughly 40 hours per week in school, that's a lot of hours. You'll definitely burn yourself out if you do 8 hours of school and then another 8 hours of work per day. You're too young to burn yourself out. Concentrate on school, study hard, graduate well, go to a good college, get a solid degree in CS or SE or some related field, and then you'll certainly have a great career.

For now, you're still young, so be young and enjoy being young. You will have lots of years to work and make money, don't sweat it while you're young. If you want to spend some time doing some side work for pocket money, then by all means go ahead and do that (and it sounds like you are), but don't try to get a full-time job at the age of 15. It's not worth it, you'll have plenty of years to do this in the future, but now is not the time.

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  • I am not sure how the author is even available to work 60 hours a week. That is 12 hours a day (assuming a Monday through Friday) schedule. Most professionals don't even work 60 hours a week.
    – Donald
    Oct 18 at 19:52
  • @Donald If you have no life, you can schedule an 8/8/8 day where you school for 8 hours, work 8 hours, and sleep 8 hours, so that gets you 40, then you add 10 hours per day on weekends (because you don't have school so you can work all day), and that gets you to 60. Not that this is in any way a healthy lifestyle and I certainly don't advise or condone it, but it is possible, if someone would like to have no life.
    – Ertai87
    Oct 18 at 20:05
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    -1 I'm actually not in favor of telling ambitious young people to chill out and fritter their time away. There are many people who successfully go to college at that age. If such opportunities were available, it's equally possible to have regrets in the other direction. Oct 19 at 1:43
  • @DanielR.Collins If OP was working instead of going to school, I would understand that (I would disagree with it; school is important, but at least I would understand. OP is taking their free time and using it to work. Work-life balance is important, and if OP is going to school (which is basically "work" for a young person) and then in their free time they are doing more work, that's not healthy. Spending time developing hobbies, relationships (friends and otherwise), and having life experiences, is not "fritter[ing] their time away", it's an important part of growing up.
    – Ertai87
    Oct 19 at 16:39
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    @DanielR.Collins It's actually a well-known and well-documented fact in child psychology that children need to be children, in order to be functional adults when they grow up. Hence why we view things such as child labour in despotic countries as abhorrent, and why organizations such as UNICEF are devoted to ending such practices. The specifics of which hobbies, or which friends you make, are less important, but learning general skills such as socialization are very important in childhood development.
    – Ertai87
    Oct 19 at 19:03
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Wow, at 15, you are doing very well.

The problem you have is that the laws want to protect you from unscrupulous people who have harmed young people. The larger the company, the more they have to follow the laws and I doubt they would take you on as an intern. I have read about teenagers who got around these laws by building their own companies. You would need help from your parents and other adults who know the laws. You may need them to "counter sign" legal documents and contracts with clients. But building your own company is doable. Lycka till.

Edit: This answer is based on US laws rather than Swedish law.

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    "Lycka till" surprised me lmao. Well as I made sure before I signed the contract with my current company. Sweden allows 2006 (as I am) to work with jobs that do not put me in any chance of physical harm, and more responsibilities & more advanced responsibilities :) Oct 17 at 14:31
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Instead of trying to get a Job and a company to employ you, as a software engineer you can easily start working on your portfolio.

Honestly it is more impressive if you can show for 3 successfull software projects, that might even made you money at age 15 than saying "oh I have been an intern at big Company A". Because usually intern positions dont get important projects and in my experience underaged interns usually get nothing at all other than getting coffee, watching others, sweeping floors and maybe working on some practice stuff.

Also remember that indeed you are very young. I am twice your age and understand your urgency, I was the same. But as someone said burn out is real. I have been working since I was 16 because I wanted it so much, burned out and since last year I didnt have a real job because of the burn out I spent years in part time jobs and my degree suffered severely. I could have been an A student but because I didnt want to stop working and kept doing more and more everything went really bad. I honestly can be glad that someone wanted to employ me at all. Dont make the same mistake young lad. If you have free time to projects for yourself that are fun. You can always show those projects later on to get an interview. I would recommend to finish your degree first though and do it well. If you force an internship now and maybe even dont get a degree because someone offers you to work right now for them, it will bite you back later, guarantueed.

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Another approach to finding some sort of employment at your age would be to refer to friends of your parents or other adults that are close to you (teachers at school for example). They might give you a strong recommendation or introduce you to someone who might be able to get you a position. I am pretty sure that they will find some sort of connection and you will at least get a shot.

But keep in mind what Ertai87 said in his answer. You are full of energy and because of this it is very easy to forget yourself in work and burn yourself out. Responsibilities accumulate, tread carefully.

Göra det lagom som man säger i Sverige!

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