I'm a self-taught iOS developer with no experience and a degree in an unrelated field.

having trouble translating the work I've done into meaningful points that will show my strengths and competencies.

I`m concerned with my personal projects since this is all I really have to bank on.

At the moment I'm basically giving a high-level description of the project, listing some features and which languages and APIs I used.

Should I mention the features the app includes, which implies competency in areas necessary to implement those features?

Or be more specific about certain design patterns/layered architecture I used to solve problems and create scalable solutions?

  • Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately I have not tried to publish any of these apps to the app store yet. I`m hoping that my projects are written well enough to strike interest in hiring managers looking for jr / entry level iOS developers. Is just having projects on GitHub not nearly enough to give myself an opportunity? Sep 3 '17 at 23:08
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    Yeah. The next best thing for me is probably to get something published to the app store. Sep 3 '17 at 23:32
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    No hiring-manager has the time an often not the knowledge to look into your projects. If the fact that they are there is interesting enough, you will get an interview. If they like you there, maybe someone of the programming-department will have a deeper look into your code.
    – Daniel
    Sep 4 '17 at 6:47
  • As has already been pointed out, we don't review resumes here. I edited your question and tried to remove most of the "review this" details and focused on asking the more general question, although I'm honestly still not really sure whether this is on topic or whether you're going to get a much better solution than what you've already done. I am not a hiring manager, but I would not recommend listing these unquantifiable soft skills you mentioned on your resume: problem solving, deductive reasoning, emotional intelligence (you could possibly mention them in your cover letter). Sep 4 '17 at 8:30
  • App in the App Store. Even better if you have some good stats like number of downloads or revenue generated. A few years ago people might have looked at your Github but noone does anymore, not even engineers.
    – Gaius
    Sep 4 '17 at 20:46

As a fellow self-taught developer, whose degree is also in an unrelated field (undergrad: English, Hist, postgrad: masters of research in history). I can assure you that it's not as difficult as you think.

If you're willing to demonstrate your abilities, and be able to show that you are aware of your own weaknesses as a self-taught developer. Showing an active interest in improving your theoretical knowledge and understanding, then you're on the right track.

Enthusiasm goes a long way with certain companies, and their willingness to employ a self-taught developer can sometimes come down to company culture. The employer that I work for is committed to, among other things, the skills shortage in the UK. So employing someone in need of more formal training isn't really a big deal for them.

The first hurdle to consider for any prospective job is usually an over the phone discussion about the job role, requirements etc. This is where you need to not only show your experience around your chosen speciality, but also that you have the right set of skills, namely: problem-solving, patience, ability to discuss without the use of Jargon, ability to discuss using the correct technical language, willingness to learn, self-reflective attitude.

As for your resume (CV), just keep it to the point, discuss your technical abilities, list your GitHub, and add a section for some basic details regarding your projects where relevant for the employer. But it's unlikely they will actively look at your GitHub account, so make sure your resume highlights everything you want them to know, in as precise and concise a way as possible.

These are the principles that I followed; I've been in the industry for a few years now so I can tell you first hand that you can make this work. You just have to be very willing to learn, know your own limitations and endeavour to overcome them. It's your ability to find the best solution to a problem that defines you as a developer. It's your work, rather than your methodology that will be used by management to rate you in the end.

Finally, it's worth considering applying for 'graduate' level developer opportunities. Practical experience already puts you slightly further ahead than some of your counter-parts who have completed their comp-sci degrees. Demonstrating an ability to put your understanding and knowledge towards practical applications shows potential employers that you can work on tangible, real world products should the opportunity arise.


The structure of my CV was as follows:

  • Personal statement (About me): Small paragraph explaining who I am, what I do, and what I enjoy.

  • Jobs: Small paragraph on responsibilities for any jobs that were remotely similar to the ones I was applying for. Otherwise just listed job company, job role, from and to dates.

  • Projects worked: This was tough, because I worked on a series of projects, both outside of work and when I was in an IT job making the odd programs to make life easier for colleagues. So I listed each one, very very short description, then listed the relevant technologies used so that I could demonstrate a familiarity with those technologies.

  • Education: listed information about my degrees, and with each one listed the underlying skills that I learned from each one that I thought could be transferrable to the world of development.

  • My contact information: basics, address, contact number, email, and any relevant sites (GitHub etc.).

I had some experience of graphics design from back in my college days, so I made sure that the CV was nicely formatted and utilised minimal designs for maximum impact. I got 8 interview offers from that bad boy after a couple of days of it being submitted to a popular work search website. After that it's all down to you. Hope this helps somewhat.

  • Thanks for your words of wisdom. As for the resume part, I`m having difficulty understanding what information to provide on my resume fo my projects. I know Im not supposed to list actual snippets from my resume, but I think it will give some context to the problem I'm facing. Please look at the edited question for clarity. Thanks for your time. Sep 4 '17 at 17:32
  • @AnonProgrammer I will root out my CV tomorrow and make an edit to my answer with some specifics around what I did on my resume when I was in your position. Sep 4 '17 at 20:53
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    @AnonProgrammer updated answer, hope it helps a little. Sep 5 '17 at 8:27

Unfortunately the first line is not usually the experienced technical people.

Get certified, get some sort of formal qualification to back up your work. For anything more than entry level in small cheap companies this helps enormously.

Invest in yourself and your future.

  • I'd happily take an entry level roll to get my foot in the door. I've previously enrolled in the Udacity iOS Nano Degree, and Treehouse iOS intermediate course. Ended up not finishing because the final sections and projects covered stuff i already knew so I saw it as a waste of time. It seems like the current state of my resume wont get me past first line, and projects i've built to showcase won't get looked at. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Sep 4 '17 at 8:22
  • I've never taken a course in my life, just bought the books and sat the exams, most of what was in the books I've never really used. The certification is the prize, not so much the knowledge in terms of job hunting although you can never know too much
    – Kilisi
    Sep 4 '17 at 9:15

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