How Mohamed Landed a Dev Job Through Instagram

Alex Booker (00:00):
You can't get a job on Instagram, I don't think.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (00:02):
Actually, you can. In my experience, there was a lot of content that was shown to me about React. Sometimes when I get stuck or something, I try to ask those content creators. This person who has hired me, he actually answered my questions like four times.

Alex Booker (00:19):
Hello and welcome to the Scrimba podcast. On this weekly show, I interview successful devs about their advice on how to learn to code and get your first job in tech. Today I'm joined by Mohamed, a developer from Algeria, who was recently hired at a San Francisco based tech company. This is Mohamed's first developer job, and it came on the back of an internship, which itself came from networking on social media. Here's what I'm going to say. Applying for jobs on platforms like LinkedIn does work, but maybe it doesn't work as well as networking, and when you're networking, you shouldn't discriminate about the platform. If the concept of networking is still a bit mysterious or daunting, listen on. Mohamed's going to make it look easy while also sharing his story learning to code. At the end of the interview, we are going to go in depth on Mohamed's job interview process so you can get a better idea of what to expect and some sense of how to best prepare for your own interviews. You are listening to the Scrimba podcast with me, Alex Booker. Let's get into it.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (01:29):
You can say that I have been in tech since I was a child because I used to play with computers since I was a child, I pursued law school. However, in my free time, I have learned many things. I have tried to learn graphic design, learned to do video editing, but for me, what worked out is web development.

Alex Booker (01:49):
That reminds me a little bit of myself actually, because I didn't go straight into coding, I went straight into computers and I dabbled with a few different things. Like graphics, for ex- I wasn't very good at graphic design, to say the least, but I found that the logic of programming was better suited to me. Were you completely planning on becoming a professional lawyer then?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (02:08):
Yes, because most of our family members work on the legal side. That's why I want to pursue the law career. But after graduation, I had some thoughts and I changed careers after that.

Alex Booker (02:21):
That's always a tough one, isn't it? I guess I'm not sure what the age is in Algeria, but in the UK and other parts of the world, it's normally when you're 18 you're presented with this option to go to university. And right then and there you have to commit to something not necessarily knowing if it's going to be for you, which I guess meant all those years later, after graduating, you probably realized it wasn't the thing you wanted to do with all of your time and to do professionally. How did you think about that at the time?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (02:50):
Yeah, exactly. I had a lot of thinking about it, especially in law career here in my country. It's very, very stressful. But for me, I wanted to do something that I love and I used to do since I was a child. Basically it's an IT domain, so that's why I chose to have an IT career.

Alex Booker (03:07):
Yeah, I think you're very wise, Mohamed, because, well, funnily enough, the guest who was on the podcast last week, Daniel, he was a lawyer who did it for 10 years. He doesn't regret it but it took him 10 years to realize that he should pursue coding. And then the week before that, we had a woman named Vanessa on, really talented young lady. She became a developer after working as a doctor, but after feeling burned out, she went to a career coach and the career coach told her or asked her rather, "What were the things that brought you joy as a child? Maybe that's the thing you should pursue as a career." Mixing your natural interests and proclivities with a profession. So you figured out basically, Mohamed, what it took a career coach to tell Vanessa, that if you'd been doing it since you were a teenager, basically, it might be something worth pursuing as a career. What did you like about coding compared to law, apart from the fact that hopefully it's less stressful as a career?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (04:01):
You can say problem solving and the ability to create whatever you want. If you have an idea for an application or something like that, you can just do it. In law career, you're restricted to the book. There is some law manuals that you have to apply to yourself. That's why it's limited.

Alex Booker (04:20):
Literally the opposite of a creative career.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (04:23):
Exactly. Yeah.

Alex Booker (04:24):
So you dabbled with computers and it sounds like maybe you'd played with a little bit of code up until that point. Is that fair to say?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (04:31):
My first interaction with code was basically in 2014. I was still in middle school. You can remember that Google Bloggers were famous a lot at that time. So basically my first interaction with downloading a template and trying to edit the CSS and HTML, that was my first interaction with it. I really liked it. Yeah, I still have those Bloggers to this day.

Alex Booker (04:53):
Oh,, so you were creating templates for Blogger when you were much younger. Did you find that after you graduated from law school that you knew enough about coding to start applying for jobs right away, or did you feel like you had to retrain in a sense and go back to courses and learn specific hireable skills perhaps?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (05:12):
I had to watch some YouTube videos and search the market. And I figured out that it's very competitive, so I had to study again, study the basics, study the semantic HTML, the SCSS, like the basics of JavaScript. The JavaScript is the main focus thing in web development.

Alex Booker (05:30):
So in a sense you felt like you were starting from scratch?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (05:32):
Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Alex Booker (05:34):
Well, I guess when you go to school, one of the advantages is that the curriculum and the materials are all laid out for you. Basically the teacher's going to tell you what to learn and where to learn it from. But you didn't go to school to learn coding, so how did you teach yourself how to code Mohamed?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (05:50):
I have started with YouTube. Started with the basics like CSS and HTML. It wasn't a complex topic because they're so easy. But you can say once I arrived at JavaScript, it was a bit tricky.

Alex Booker (06:03):
Yeah. I've heard that before actually.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (06:05):
It's hard to find a good JavaScript course, but after some digging, I found a good YouTube course that made me learn the basics of JavaScript. So yeah.

Alex Booker (06:15):
Sometimes when you teach yourself and you are a hobbyist, I suppose, it sounds like with the Blogger templates, you were figuring it out as you went along. You didn't necessarily have the ambition to do it professionally, but the thing is, when you want to become a professional, sometimes you do have to go back to the beginning to learn things like, well, you said it, semantic HTML. You can't just keep throwing stuff at the editor until it works. It needs to be structured in a way that's highly compatible and highly readable. And the same is true for JavaScript to some extent as well. You really need to have those foundational blocks in place. Was it difficult for you to learn these skills at a hireable level, or did you feel like you had a certain advantage because you'd been dabbling with it for quite a few years prior?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (06:58):
It was easy for me to learn HTML and CSS but learning JavaScript without a mentor is really tricky. But after I finished the YouTube JavaScript course, I understand the basics, but I was lost. I didn't do any projects. He was just teaching the basics. However, a friend of mine actually sent me a Scrimba.

Alex Booker (07:19):
Oh, you're kidding?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (07:21):
He's now a DevOps. He's the one who sent me Scrimba and I started the JavaScript module. It was very, very good. I was amazed of how the mythology of learning in this platform, it was easier for me.

Alex Booker (07:34):
Yeah. That's so nice to hear. People listening can't see me right now but I'm grinning from ear to ear. That's exactly the feedback we'd love to get at Scrimba. Thank you, Mohamed. Why do you think the JavaScript was more challenging than HTML and CSS?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (07:48):
You can say that HTML and CSS are not a programming language. They're easy, but however, programming language for me to learn the first time is a bit difficult. Because you need to adapt to the logic of programming. For an example, you have to create a variable, you have to edit it. You have very strict steps in order to get a result.

Alex Booker (08:10):
One thing that a lot of learner JavaScript developers struggle with is graduating from learning JavaScript to building projects, so they might really understand something like conditional logic, IF statements, switch statements, that kind of thing. And they might be able to write pretty nice functions, like a sorting function. They could possibly even build a text-based command line application or something. You can imagine using the console and JavaScript, reading the inputs and doing some logic and showing the output. It's a program, right, but it's not necessarily the thing you get into coding to build. You probably want to build an actual website or web app, I suppose, but there's something about crossing that chasm between understanding the fundamentals and feeling confident in building applications that's quite hard to cross. What was your experience and how did you bridge that gap?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (08:57):
For me, the first step was actually watching some YouTubers creating an actual application.

Alex Booker (09:04):
Maybe these are those quite long videos where you almost get to sit over their shoulder as they code it step by step.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (09:09):
Exactly. Yeah, so I watched maybe two videos, so I had an idea of how things work. This was my starting point.

Alex Booker (09:18):
I think that's such a good idea and something everybody listening can try. There's been a boom in recent years of these somewhere between a tutorial and a live stream. A live stream can sometimes be a bit too long, in my opinion. There's a few digressions and maybe they take some time to talk to the chat or something. But the thing about tutorials is that they show you the answer rather than how to find the answer. But that middle spot where you get to watch the program evolve step by step, I feel like that not only gives you confidence, because even though you might not have been able to do it yourself from scratch, as you watch them build it, you basically understand what's happening. That's such a good sign. And not only that but I suppose it shows you their approach to building the project, like how they break it down basically in the order they approach things. I think that's really helpful.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (10:07):
Yeah, exactly. After completing the course, I tried to make a project on my own, but I couldn't. I had to do something about it. That's why I chose to watch some people do some projects. And after that I tried to do the same project they did, and if I get stuck, I get back to the video and see how they did that.

Jan Arsenovic (10:26):
Coming up, what to do in a competitive job market.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (10:29):
Any hope of you joining the tech industry, you have to go for it.

Alex Booker (10:33):
I'll be right back with Mohamed in just a moment, but first, Jan, the producer, and I had a quick favor to ask from you.

Jan Arsenovic (10:40):
If you're enjoying the show, please post about it on LinkedIn or Twitter, sorry, X. The more you help us spread the word about the show, the bigger and better guests we'll be able to get. Plus, you'll also get a chance for a shout-out on the show itself. Six days ago on LinkedIn [inaudible 00:10:58] wrote, "Starting my mornings with the Scrimba podcast has been a great motivator, expanding my perspective on the process of breaking into tech. One of my biggest takeaways was learning in public. As a result, I added a blog section to my portfolio. Currently, I have three blogs up discussing the process of building my portfolio project and how ChatGPT has been an excellent tutor during my coding journey. Check them out and let me know your thoughts." Great job [inaudible 00:11:25].

And over on Twitter, sorry, X, [inaudible 00:11:30] shared his weekly roundup and wrote, "Highlight of the week was tuning into the Scrimba podcast with Alex Booker on how to create a personal brand as a developer. Nuggets of wisdom that I'll be revisiting again and again for sure. A major one was if you focus too much on others, you'll be burnt out. And if you focus too much on yourself, no one else has any incentive to care what you say." Big thanks to Gary Simon, Cassidy Williams, Josh W. Como [inaudible 00:11:58] and Madison Canna for the insights. Awesome. I really enjoyed working on that episode and maybe we should make more of them in the future. And Daniel, @mrgiles1, said, "Thanks for the push and the shout-out on the podcast a week or two ago. Keep up the good work." Well, thank you for listening and also thank you for tweeting. Sorry, X-ing. Once again, if you enjoy the show, join the conversation on social media. As long as your post contains the words "Scrimba podcast" we will find it and you might get a shout-out. And now we're back to the interview with Mohamed.

Alex Booker (12:33):
Yeah, using Scrimba, plus checking out other experienced developers building projects, I feel like that's a pretty great combination. How many hours per day did you spend coding and how many months did it take you to learn to code well enough that you felt ready to apply for jobs?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (12:50):
The first few days I had to study for two hours and three hours. However, after a week, without seeing the time, I had to study eight hours, 10 hours, without even getting bored. This period has gone through two months but after that I started to study less and less. For example, five hours, four hours. I was getting tired. There was also another month when I had to study 10 hours, 11 hours, so it was different periods of times. But I think I had seven months of study, seven months of HTML and CSS and JavaScript and React of course.

Alex Booker (13:27):
How do you reason about that difference in time? I love that you could get so engrossed in it. It sounds like you are coding with the same fluidity that some people play video games. You could do it for hours on end without having to really try. That's a great sign. You're doing something that feels like play but you also mentioned that those hours tapered off towards the middle.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (13:48):
You can say I had some other work because when I was learning web development, I also was working as an IT support.

Alex Booker (13:56):
Oh, okay.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (13:57):
I was fixing computers, hardware, and software. That's why sometimes I get tired and not be able to study eight or 10 hours a day.

Alex Booker (14:06):
Yeah. And I said, take your foot off the gas, but five hours a day is still pretty, pretty good. And obviously seven months to complete that journey from re-skilling it sounds like, really refining your ability after being a hobbyist to then feeling ready to apply for jobs. Seven months is very, very good. When you felt like you were ready to start applying for jobs, how did you go about doing it, Mohamed? What was your job hunting strategy at the beginning?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (14:32):
I followed the standards. I created a LinkedIn account. I made some projects. I edited the LinkedIn profile and started applying but that wasn't so successful because everyone has the same projects, everyone has very good projects. You need to stand out out of the competition. It was very hard. However, I thought of going outside the standards, thinking outside the box. That's why I tried to go through social media. That's how I got my first job.

Alex Booker (15:02):
LinkedIn is social media. I mean, I know coders are on Facebook and TikTok and Instagram and stuff like that but you can't get a job on Instagram I don't think.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (15:11):
Actually you can, in my experience. For me, when I was studying [inaudible 00:15:15] React there was a lot of content on TikTok that was shown to me about React and especially Instagram. So sometimes, when I get stuck or something, I try to ask those content creators about something I have in my code and they were responding to me without any issue. With this person who has hired me, he actually answered my questions four times. Because I used to ask him a lot about technical issues. That's why I think he saw the progress I had during this period. I think that's why he given me a chance.

Alex Booker (15:47):
And this was on Instagram. You're blowing my mind right now, Mohamed. What? That's actually, now I think about it, that is such an interesting point. We'll get into this by the way. But I imagine this person you're speaking with on Instagram, they probably had a LinkedIn profile as well, right?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (16:02):
Yeah, true.

Alex Booker (16:03):
But maybe people don't always check their LinkedIn inboxes. Maybe they're just more passionate and feel more close to the community if they're on Instagram or something. It's the same person with the same maturity and responsibility and experience at the other end. It's just a different communication channel. So yeah, that was a bit wrong of me to shut it down as a possibility when clearly it can be successful. So you discovered this person's content. You were inspired by it, so you followed their account. And then every now and again, when you had a relevant technical question, you would DM them and say hello and ask for help. And through doing so, you managed to build a bit of a relationship. And if I understood well, I think you were also describing the fact that you were getting better and probably this person could see your progress and determination and things like that, so they got a sense for your character and what's important for you as well.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (16:56):
True. For me, asking him a few times, he saw that I'm making some progress. He saw, okay, this guy is serious. He also knew that I'm a self-taught. So I think being self-taught is a little bit harder than going to college or something or having a mentor. So seeing this self-taught who has a will to learn coding and get a job, it's actually wonderful. Like the last phrase I said to him that, "I have created more than eight projects and I'm looking for a chance in the industry." And he just replied that, "Okay, there is an open position in our company." And he given me an interview. So we did that and he actually accepted me and I had an internship for three months and I got the job.

Alex Booker (17:40):
So they hired you as an intern originally and then you graduated to a full-time position?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (17:44):
Yeah, exactly.

Alex Booker (17:45):
This is awesome because if you are applying for jobs, it can definitely work. I've seen it pay off many, many times. It's definitely worth pursuing. I think it's that standard thing you have to keep on top of because you never know what's going to happen. But meanwhile, by building a relationship it sounds like, you are definitely networking and when people say networking, they think of maybe meetups or LinkedIn. But why shouldn't it be on Instagram or GitHub, for that matter, or DEV 2.0 or another type of developer community where you see the same people popping up? Twitter, for that matter, it's often been said that when you participate in something like 100 Days of Code, one of the benefits is that you're joining a community. Other people also participating in the challenge, they will see you pop up every day alongside their own posts and you have a direct way to communicate and something obvious to talk about since you have the 100 Days of Code in common. Do you think that networking is basically what got you the job?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (18:41):
You can say yes. The first approach is what matters. For example, you can't just DM someone and say, "Okay, I'm a software developer and I need a job." No, it doesn't go like this. They need to know you. They need to know your skills and your soft skills, and after that, let's see what happens. You see.

Alex Booker (18:57):
Because some people, they DM others and they just ask for something right away. That doesn't tend to work in my experience and it sounds like you agree.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (19:05):
Yeah. Yeah. It does not work.

Alex Booker (19:06):
So maybe you can tell us a little bit about what the company is and what they do. And then it would be fascinating to learn about your progression from internship to your full-time position.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (19:16):
The main focus of the company, it has two branches, one for [inaudible 00:19:21] courses. They also teach web development. And the second part, they develop SaaS products. They develop React native apps and they develop React applications. I started my internship as a front end developer. However, my manager told me that I need to start learning backend. At that time, I started taking some YouTube courses about [inaudible 00:19:44] and after two weeks maybe I sent him a message. "Okay, I have learned this, I have learned the routes, I have learned everything regarding the basics." And he said, "Okay, you're ready for your first backend task." And I was so worried. The first task was creating a basic API just to retrieve the data. It was a bit rough at the start but I finished the task and he was so proud of me that I completed the task.

Alex Booker (20:10):
That must have been a really good feeling, especially because it's not what you practiced originally. You started as a front-end dev. Yeah. What do you think, by the way, about starting your career with an internship? Did you have to do an intensive job interview to get the internship, or do you think maybe the barrier to entry was a little bit less? Because internships tend to be focused on learning and there's not necessarily a guarantee that you will be offered a job at the end of the internship, so maybe the risk is less for the company as well. What do you think about getting an internship as a strategy compared to applying for full-time positions that aren't internships right away?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (20:49):
I think it's our current time. Having an internship, it's very crucial because the market is very, very competitive and difficult and it's very hard to stand out. That's why you should also pursue an internship chance. Any hope of you joining the tech industry, you have to go for it.

Alex Booker (21:09):
This company, where is it based?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (21:11):
It's based in San Francisco.

Alex Booker (21:13):
Oh, you're kidding? And you are working from Algeria, right?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (21:15):
Yeah, true.

Alex Booker (21:16):
Oh, you seem happy about that.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (21:17):
Yeah. For me, getting a job basically from a computer only. I didn't go to America and search for a job. It was only through social media and internet. It's awesome for me getting a job basically from your home.

Alex Booker (21:33):
I'm sure you have friends and community in real life in Algeria. Probably you are among the few that have a job working for an American company in San Francisco. I'm not sure but it seems like a pretty special opportunity.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (21:44):
Yeah. After I told my friends, they were so shocked because they told me it was very difficult to get a job remotely.

Alex Booker (21:50):
Tech is so interesting in that way because when you describe a competitive market, it's typically geographical, I would say. But with the advent of remote working, the market is global, which is both a good thing because now there are more opportunities, but it's also a bad thing in the sense that there's also more competition.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (22:10):
Yeah, true. Some countries have less competitiveness, unlike America, unlike the UK, for example, they have a lot of devs there. So it's hard to get a job but there is some countries who have less competitiveness to get a dev job.

Alex Booker (22:24):
When this person on Instagram, and I think we should learn who they are and put their link in the show notes, but yes, when that person invited you to do the internship, was there an interview process at that stage or were they quite satisfied with your abilities?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (22:38):
He asked me for my GitHub repository and he saw my projects and he asked me non-technical questions like, "When did you start learning and how much was the period?" It wasn't a technical interview because he knew that I am intern, I'm just joining the tech industry. That's why he didn't give me a rough time in the meeting. But I think asking him my technical issues before asking him for a job. I think this made him maybe knowing me a little bit in my tech side. I think that's why he gave me a job.

Alex Booker (23:14):
It sounds amazing, Mohamed. I'm curious to learn more. But what do you say we break up the interview a little bit with some quick fire questions?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (23:22):

Alex Booker (23:26):
First question, what is one learning resource that has been the most impactful on your journey learning to code?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (23:31):
I can say Scrimba?

Alex Booker (23:33):
What is your favorite technology to use at the moment?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (23:35):
[inaudible 00:23:37].

Alex Booker (23:37):
What's a technology that you would like to learn next?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (23:39):
I would like to learn microservices.

Alex Booker (23:42):
Okay. You're really getting into the backend stuff, huh?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (23:45):
Yeah. Yeah.

Alex Booker (23:46):
What kind of music do you code to Mohamed?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (23:48):
I code in silence. I don't like music while working.

Alex Booker (23:51):

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (23:52):
Never. Yeah.

Alex Booker (23:53):
This might be a good chance to plug the person on Instagram who seems to have had a big impact on your career. When I ask, do you look up to or follow anyone in the tech community that we should know about?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (24:03):
I follow my friends. Some of them are off the country, some of them is in France. They really had a good career. So someone who's close to you, for example, okay, my friend, he has actually done it, so it gives you hope. Okay, so I can do it too. Not like when you watch someone on YouTube and he's very successful and deep down you say, okay, it's very hard to get that. But if you can see a close friend or someone in the family succeeded, you have a lot of hope.

Alex Booker (24:33):
Yeah, friends, not followers. I like that. But who is this person on Instagram? We need to check them out.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (24:39):
Sure. He's called Marian.

Alex Booker (24:41):
Awesome. We'll link them in the show notes so people can check them out. Okay, so here's the thing about internships, and I touched on it before, there's not necessarily a guarantee of success at the end. That can be a bit daunting, because once you start the internship, you are committing to the company. It's hard to look for a job while you are focused on the internship and learning a bunch of new stuff. Plus you might not be that motivated to. You might really hope this is going to pan out. Was that a risk in your mind that maybe the internship wouldn't pan out and how did you reason about your likelihood of success in getting offered a full-time position?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (25:19):
I always knew that there was maybe a possibility that I can't get the job. However, having an internship will really boost your experience. For me, my journey was just self-taught, but actually working with a company, even if I don't get a job, it's really a good experience because it teaches you how to work with coworkers. You gain soft skills. You learn how to work with some people. You get mentorship. You can ask them about some technical issues. It's a lot of experience you can take from an internship.

Alex Booker (25:50):
What do you think they wanted to see from you during the internship so that they would offer you a full-time position?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (25:55):
I think the ability to learn fast. I think that's why he actually given me a job. Because when I started working on the task, I was basically just a front end developer. However, he asked me that I should go to the backend and see how I can perform there. He saw me that I am a quick learner and task after task after task on backend. He saw me that I'm making progress. I think that's why he given me a job. And he actually said this at the end of the internship, he said to me, "I like your passion of learning and your ability to adapt and learn fast."

Alex Booker (26:30):
Did you get any other feedback?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (26:31):
I got a lot of criticism because I used to write code but without actually testing it very well. I write code, then I see the output one more time, okay, I just push to the branch. And after that, when he reviewed, he said to me, "Okay, there's an error there and there's an error there." That was my main issue. I couldn't test very well. But after that I adapted to it.

Alex Booker (26:53):
How did it feel when you got that feedback?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (26:54):
I felt a little bit sad but also happy because okay, now I know something that I really need to work on. Testing. Testing the function, testing everything before pushing to a GitHub.

Alex Booker (27:09):
I noticed as well, just stalking your old LinkedIn posts a little bit I guess, because you wrote these a few weeks or even months ago now, it seemed, if I put the timeline together right, like you were doing LinkedIn posts, almost micro-blogging it sounded like, during your internship. Was that a conscious decision? Was there any strategy there or just something you did for fun?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (27:31):
There was some videos of people who saying, "You need to document your journey. It truly helps to get a job." So I just started with blogging. I just go for LinkedIn because most of the recruiters are there, so maybe, if they enter my profile, they will see the posts. "Okay, this guy has an experience in Kafka, has an experience at the backend. And special technology, okay, we can make use of this person." That's why I decided to post on LinkedIn.

Alex Booker (27:58):
Maybe back in 2014 you would've used Blogger.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (28:01):
Yeah, true.

Alex Booker (28:02):
But in 2023, LinkedIn is that platform where the barrier to entry is so low, you just open the text box and press enter. Plus, as you say, it's where everybody you want to reach is. Did you get much engagement on those posts? It's interesting, right, you found your job through social media. You were also creating on social media it sounds like. Did you notice any result from that?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (28:23):
I really didn't care about how many people would be seeing the post because I only needed one recruiter to see the posts. Not all people.

Alex Booker (28:33):
Ooh, I like that.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (28:34):
It's about who enters the profile.

Alex Booker (28:36):
That's a good point. I feel like likes and comments and things like that, they can be a sign that you're doing something really well, but they can also be a bit of a vanity metric. The example I like to give is if you want to get a bunch of likes on LinkedIn or Twitter, post developer memes, take them off Reddit, programming humor, whatever. You will get a bunch of likes and comments I think but that is not necessarily the audience that you want. You might have a big number, but of that number, very few are likely going to be knowledgeable about what you have to offer, what you're interested in, or even inclined to reach out because you're bringing them humor, which is fine. There's room for that, there's an audience for that. But if your objective is to get a job as a developer and stand out among recruiters, I actually like your approach a lot more, Mohamed, where you target a fewer number of people but you write about what you're working on. I also really like what you said about lowering your inhibitions I guess.

In the sense that if you wrote it with the intention of reaching a huge audience, you might never press publish because that's the kind of thing that's easy to overthink. But when you open LinkedIn and you just write something and it's true, words tend to come easy when they're true, you're just recounting something you did at work that day or that week. I find that's the best way to do it. I find that's the most consistent way to do it. And when you're consistent, that's normally when you get results. But of course in your case it sounds like you are doing all the right things and then, as it sometimes goes, you found the opportunity you were looking for. So you put out a few bets into the world. You were doing your portfolio, you were doing LinkedIn, you were engaging and networking with people on Instagram, for example. You didn't need every one of them to pay off. You just needed one of them to pay off and it's because you bet on a few different things you had the greatest chance of success it sounds like.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (30:21):
Yeah. True. For me, when I started posting, I had this idea where, okay, I need to make a great post. Okay, I need some pictures, I need some videos for that. And it's hard for you to do that at the start so you can never press publish, just like you said. So I made it simple as it is. Okay, just a small text. Okay, what's happened to me today, what I learned. This is basically my end goal. Just random recruiter joins the profile and he sees the post. This is when my main target.

Alex Booker (30:52):
It's actually really impressive you can do that and there's something I say, it's obvious I feel like, but I distinctly remember being in a similar position. And if I can reflect on my own feelings at the time, I never wanted to risk looking stupid I guess because I was trying to become a developer. I didn't have a degree or anything. I felt like a bit of an imposter and I didn't want to hurt a recruiter or a developer off by saying something's wrong or something stupid. I don't think I was actually at risk of doing that, by the way, but it's funny how your mind can convince you otherwise. There is this temptation sometimes when you're doing any transformation, whether that's a 90-day fitness plan or a nine-month journey to learn to code. You almost want to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory it. And what I mean by that is you do all your work in the background and then one day you want to show up and be like, "I've arrived. Here I am. I'm so good. You should hire me."

But that seldom works to be honest. What does work is showing your progress, showing your journey. It's a little bit like what you got to demonstrate to that one person on LinkedIn where you were demonstrating your progress as you incorporated their answers, asked harder questions, talking a little bit about your challenges on LinkedIn or any social media platform or even a blog, by the way. It's a little bit vulnerable but I think it gives people a better sense of who you are, what you want. And they might just be more likely to get in touch, or at least more likely to discover your profile as you create a wider surface area by publishing often.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (32:22):
Yeah. Even if you make a mistake within your post, let's say a recruiter joins he and is a technical software engineer, he says, "This person is learning. He made a mistake but it doesn't mean it's bad." But he's seeing that you are learning and you are documenting your journey. That's a very plus.

Alex Booker (32:40):
So Mohamed, you didn't describe it as being really hard or anything, but I think I know that if you've gone down the path of studying, and a lot of people in your family have gone down the academic law route, it's probably not an easy decision, despite your passion for it, to switch to coding. Could you maybe talk about that a little bit?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (32:59):
After I finished college, you can say I had two weeks of thinking about my future because it's not easy to switch careers, especially after spending a lot of time in college and having that degree. However, I thought about the future. I maybe will live 60 years or 50 years. I need to make a good decision in my life. Working with something that I love and this is what made my choice.

Alex Booker (33:25):
Were your family understanding and supportive I hope?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (33:29):
They were, yes. They were always supporting me for doing the thing that I love. They were not pressuring me for something that I should continue with the law career, especially when they found out that I've made the decision to switch careers. They said, "Okay, good luck. We will have all the support you need."

Alex Booker (33:44):
That's lovely.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (33:45):

Alex Booker (33:46):
Was it the right decision in the end to switch from law to coding? Are you happy?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (33:51):
100%. Yeah.

Alex Booker (33:52):
That's what we like to hear. All right, so Mohamed, that's pretty much all we have time for today. I did just want to ask in closing if there was any advice about learning to code or breaking into tech that maybe, if you could go back in time and tell yourself at the start of your journey, what would that be?

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (34:09):
There is some YouTube videos that you'll see the title like "Stop Coding" or "Don't Be a Software Engineer" or maybe the AI will take your jobs. These kinds of videos are not true. When you're starting out, listening for other people, that will not be good for you. I think you need to pursue what you love.

Alex Booker (34:27):
Mohamed, thank you so much for joining me on the Scrimba podcast. It's been my pleasure.

Mohamed Amine Hachemi (34:32):
Yeah, thank you, Alex.

Jan Arsenovic (34:34):
That was the Scrimba podcast, episode 128. I hope I didn't lose count. If you made it this far, please subscribe. We are a weekly show. There's a new episode every Tuesday and you can find us wherever you get your podcasts. Don't forget to check out the show notes for the resources mentioned in this interview. The Scrimba podcast is hosted by Alex Booker. You can find his Twitter handle or X handle, it really sounds stupid, in the show notes. I've been Jan the producer and we'll be back with you next week.

How Mohamed Landed a Dev Job Through Instagram
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