How to: Become a developer in Berlin

My own path to become a developer in Berlin probably cannot be “replicated” easily: I relied on the help and generosity of other people, which I knew for more or less long, and also got lucky to be accepted in the end, even though I was not on a high skill level yet, probably simply because I am – and make the impression to be – eager and able to learn more.

I do think, however, that it is not rocket science to become a developer here. There is demand, as well as a lot of help and opportunities to get in contact with the right people. Today at the Free Code Camp Berlin meetup, we talked about some things that improve your chances.

Learn your Stuff

There is no way around it, you need to know something somewhat wellThat also means you need to chose and pick a few things, rather than try to look into everything a bit, as you maybe sometimes tend to do as a beginner. In the Free Code Camp context, this could mean that you try to finish what is needed for one of the certifications. What it does not mean though is that you need to know everything and just learn for years… at some point, your time is probably better invested to also do some of the following things.

Get some local help

Besides the Free Code Camp Berlin group I started, there is a also a lot of other local initiatives. First and foremost, OpenTech School Berlin, with groups for Python, Ruby and front end development (including JavaScript) that meet bi-weekly or weekly, and one-day workshops about topics such as HTML and CSS or SQL on the weekend, every couple weeks. Another big initiative is Rails Girls Berlin.

Come in contact with the right people

In this case, the right people are, primarily, other more experienced developers. Developers tend to have a more honest perspective on the job market, startups and other companies in Berlin. You can meet them at the user groups, such as the ones for Angular and React, in the case of JavaScript. Even if you already have some opportunities lined up, talking with them will help you to evaluate them better.

Put up something online

This is not really specific to Berlin, but it definitely helps to have something to show online. For example, a personal site, with an overview of your coding skills, or code of some projects up on Github. Or, ideally, an own project that is already deployed and “live” online.

Participate in Hackathons

Hackathons are helpful for several of the previous things. Plus you can win prizes, even if you are not a top-level coder, either by getting into a good team, originality or competing for a prize few other teams are interested in. I’m not sure if the site will be maintained over the longer term, but right now you can find a lot of the hackathons, local or elsewhere, at Hackevents.co.
Conclusion & Caveats

I did not have to do half of these things to find something and probably some of the people that have done all of the above and more, were not able to find something. This post is just supposed to give you ideas, what can you do other than, for example, just trying to learn more and more, because, as previously mentioned, at some point, your time is probably better invested in one of these other things.

Another caveat is that this post should not be taken as advice for an experienced developer that is moving to Berlin. In fact, I do not really feel competent to give much advice on that, since I do not have that much experience myself. 😉