Entry-level software developer? Learn React to get that first job

Go and Kotlin are also good bets for developers with just a few years of experience — not Java.

Entry-level software developer? Learn React to get that first job
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Despite the relentless demand for software engineering professionals before and throughout the global pandemic, entry-level and college-graduate developers still have a tough path to their first paid gig. Most job ads still mandate a certain level of experience—some that are literally unrealistic. But there are plenty of jobs out there, and there are certain skills that could help you snare one.

The most common entry-level role in the US is for React developers, according to analysis of data from the job site Indeed conducted in January 2021 by programming instructor Mark Lassof.

In fact, more than 52% of React-proficient jobs are open to entry-level developers, as opposed to Java roles, which account for only 14% of the entry-level jobs available. PHP has the next highest percentage, at 21%.

React is a JavaScript library, so you need to have the other fundamentals of front-end development, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Once you do, though, there are plenty of opportunities to put that skill set to use in the jobs market, even if you’ve never had a programming job before.

“If you’re learning this year, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and then the React library is the way to go,” Lassof wrote. “With 29,587 open entry-level jobs, your chances of landing something are quite good, and it’s not a long haul to learn the React library if you already know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.”

Job site Hired also found that, for developers with a year or less experience, Go, Scala, and Kotlin generated the most interview requests per candidate.

Java jobs are hot, but not realistic for entry-level developers

Excluding nontechnical skills like communication, customer service, and Microsoft Office, the most in-demand skills for entry-level positions on the Indeed platform in January 2021 included:

  • Java
  • Software troubleshooting
  • Windows
  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • SQL
  • HTML5
  • Linux
  • C++

But those rankings are skewed by the sheer volume of demand for roles with Java and JavaScript skills, with the odds of securing one of those positions tougher for an entry-level candidate.

As Lasoff wrote, “I’m not a big fan of Java as an entry-level language. I think you’ll find that most of these Java jobs go to college graduates with computer science degrees. While there are many jobs, I think Java is better to look at once you have some experience.”

Best language skills for developers with some experience

If you’re no longer entry-level, a few other languages can give you a leg up in finding a developer job.

For developers with four to six years of experience, the lowest level of experience tracked by job sites Hired and Vettery for their 2021 State of Software Engineers survey, Go proficiency drives the most interview requests, at 2.4 times more than the average candidate, followed closely by Scala at 2.3 times, which was the only skill tracked to give less-experienced developers a leg up over the competition.

React also held up well here, with software engineers of all experience levels averaging 2.7 times more interview requests if they had React skills than those without, second only to candidates with Redux framework proficiency.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.