Dos and Don’ts of the Pivoter Profile

3 minute read

Photo of Career Switch to Coding book
Career Switch to Coding, a resource by Simon Barker

You are new to development and you’re still getting your feet under the table. So it’s understandable that you might have some concerns over your abilities and keeping that imposter syndrome under control. You see all these cool projects that you have no idea how to create and it puts you on the defensive from the start.

How do you balance those feelings with also presenting a confident and professional front to the world? Here are our dos and don’ts to achieve this tricky balance.


  • Use diminutives: Words like aspiring, beginner or fledgling undermine your abilities from the start. If you can write code, you’re a developer. That’s it. Let your experience and skills determine your level, not your own choice of adjectives.
  • Focus on tutorials or courses completed: Everyone knows taking a tutorial takes time and effort, so it’s natural to want to talk about them. But you’re not being hired to take tutorials, you’re being hired to solve problems.
  • Rule yourself out: You have no idea of the skill level required to do the job, only the company or hirer knows that. So don’t say you’re “looking for small starter projects” or “need guidance”. Let their hiring process determine if you are right for the job.
  • List every technology you’ve every worked with: Like many self taught devs you might have done a bit of JavaScript, a bit of Python and a bit of Swift before finally knuckling down and learning Ruby. If you’re not confident on a technology, take it off your profile. Only put skills on there that you want to work on actively and would be happy to discuss in an interview.


  • Highlight your results: Any projects or portfolio work you have done should be brought to the fore, these are what show you can do the job. Ideally projects should be small, complete and useable for anyone to see and play around with.
  • Focus on problem solving: The problems you solved in those projects are the things employers care about. Development is all about solving problems, so highlighting user and technical problems you overcame puts your skills in context and demonstrates your persistence.
  • Highlight your previous work experience: You have a previous career that adds masses of value to you as a developer. To be good at solving user problems, developers need to understand those problems and have an appreciation of a wide range of use cases and scenarios. Your extended background gives you a huge leg up on developers that have only ever worked on code.
  • Pass the So What? test: Everything in your profile has to pass the So What? test. So put things in context and don’t just state abstract information. You want to make sure that anyone reading your profile can understand how XYZ skill relates to you being a good developer, don’t force them make the connection, spell it out for them.


While there is a lot more to displaying your developer skills online as a career switcher, these are some quick tips to make sure you aren’t undermining yourself in those vital first few seconds of getting a potential employers attention.

If you want to really get into the weeds on how to best show case your skills the Career Switch To Coding is the place to go.