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How do I know when my development skills are enough to land a real job?

I've been developing for over a year with PHP MySQL JavaScript HTML CSS. I've also just finished an application in which I've worked on for over a year now.

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marked as duplicate by Mark Trapp Sep 28 '11 at 6:49

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The fact that you have "finished" an application alone makes you more qualified than most applicants I see....

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Does that mean you see applicants that do not finish applications? –  Ryan Sep 28 '11 at 5:41
I think he means they apply with a qualification and no achievements. –  William Mioch Sep 28 '11 at 6:11
@Ryan - they are capable of making a job application, just not capable of writing or maintain a software application. Sadly :-) –  mikera Sep 28 '11 at 6:14
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The best (only?) way to find out is to apply for a suitable job opening. You may want to aim at an internship at first (these are often paid positions just like a regular job, only the salary is lower, you'll be on a time-limited contract, and you'll have less responsibility on you), but if you can get into a regular entry-level job, all the better.

The fact that you have finished an application probably means you have something presentable (code samples and a running application) at hand; provided you can get past HR's initial screening (which depends on the kind of company you're targeting), this is quite a strong selling point, the more if your code is readable and makes sense.

Don't let a long list of buzz-words scare you off - usually, those are a wishlist, and if you meet only half of those requirements, you may still be a serious candidate for the job. The same goes for years-of-experience indicators; with one year in the saddle, a job description that demands eight years is out of your league, but two years probably isn't.

And remember that the job finding process is a mutual thing - potential employers are checking you out, but the reverse is also true. Don't just say yes when someone offers you a job just because at this point any job at all would be fantastic. Ideally, you end up with an employer who values your qualities, judges your skill level correctly, and provides a good environment for you to be productive and learn.

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