I’ve met many web developers in my life, most of them great guys. And while it certainly isn’t true that each developer is a nerd, and struggles with social interactions, I can confirm that communication skills do not belong to greatest strengths of most front-end and back-end web developers. At the end of the day, a typical web developer spends more time with their computer screen than they do with people. And social skills come with practice. As a result, many web developers struggle with job applications and interviews, even with basic questions, such as the (in)famous icebreaker “Tell me about yourself”. If it is also your case, you landed on the right website. I will show you how to deal with this question.
Let’s move straight to 7 sample answers. I tried to include on my list answers for computer science students, fresh graduates, developers with little experience, and also answers fort people who’ve spent years building websites, yet still struggle to introduce themselves in the interviews. I hope you will find at least one of them fitting for your interview and present life situation. You will find some additional notes at the end of the article, explaining some nuances of a “perfect answer” to this interview question.
7 sample answers to “Tell me about yourself” interview question for web developers
- My name is Jan, I’ve been studying computer science for two years. In order to kick-start my career before I graduate, I am looking for a job of a web developer, since that’s what I’ve been doing already for four years in my free time. Designing websites for friends, developing simple e-shops with the help of some open source content-management systems, and so on. Besides that I am a normal guy who enjoys hiking and spending time with friends, while not working or studying, which takes most of my time of course. If I should pick the best website I’ve designed up to this point, it will be this one: [name of the website]. I am ambitious and hard-working and believe you’ll give me a chance to prove my words.
- My name is Emily, 24 years old, and I’ve just graduated from computer science. Looking for my first job, I decided to go with web development, since I understand that it is impossible to succeed in almost any business without some online presence. Hence I know the opportunities are there and will stay there. But I am not one who would opt for freelancing, since I do not enjoy that part of the job–looking for clients, doing marketing, keeping books. I simply enjoy working on the code, developing beautiful websites, and that’s why I apply for this job with you. To my greatest hobbies belong computer games (I limit myself to 1 hour playing a day, in order to not waste that much time playing), and cooking.
- My name is Miles and I’ve been developing websites with WordPress for about five years now. I am self-taught, but I honestly believe that with the amount of tutorials on YouTube, and in the WordPress community, one can learn everything–including HTML, CSS and PHP, without going to college. I’ve tried to make my living as a freelance front end web developer, but now with my first son on the way, I am looking for a job-security, and decided to apply for the position you advertise. Besides work I am just a normal family man who enjoys spending time with his wife, and working in the garden in his spare time.
- My name is Eleanor, 33, have been working in one of the big 4 companies for the past decade, in auditing. However, I experienced a complete burnout, and realized I could not stand such a working environment anymore. It was just unbearable. In my one year hiatus from work I learned some web development, designed my own website, couple of websites for friends (for a hair-dresser and a pony ranch), and found new passion in this field. I decided to pursue my career in web development, enrolled in HTML course, and now I feel ready to apply for my first job in the field.
- Robert here, 40. I am not the most talkative guy, and prefer my work to do the talk. You can check my portfolio here (ideally you show them your work directly on the screen of your laptop, but if this is a job application you can just share with them a link to your portfolio). As you can see, I custom-coded a variety of websites, ranging from simple e-shops to complex platforms with a variety of functions. On some of these projects I worked alone, but on some I worked on a team and definitely enjoy teamwork. Except of my work, which is my greatest passion, I enjoy running and cycling. Honestly think it is important to balance the long hours we spend in front of a computer screen with some physical activity, and that’s exactly what I do in my leisure time.
- Let me introduce myself in 7 words. Responsible, creative, open-minded, friendly and ambitious web developer. This is how I see myself, and hope you will give me a chance to prove my words in the job, or at least in this interview.
- Two kids, four computers, and a passion for back-end web development. That pretty much sums it up, but let me elaborate on my words. I’ve been designing websites, mostly in WordPress and Joomla, for ten years already. Ranging from small personal projects to contracts worth of tens of thousands of dollars, I’d developed or helped to develop dozens of websites. Now, however, I’d like to belong to some bigger team, bigger organization, which will allow me to work even on bigger projects and have a bigger impact. That’s why I decided to apply for a job with your company, and hope for a chance in the interviews.
Make sure to share something from your personal life as well
Hiring managers aren’t robots, and hiring isn’t only about your education and experience. At the end of the day, each job interview is a meeting of two people. And our life is more than just work, regardless of how fascinating your projects are. What I try to say here is that it is important to show them that you have some life outside of work as well. Perhaps a family, and if not than at least some hobbies, passions, activities you enjoy doing.
In a great answer to “tell me about yourself” question you should always combine both professional & personal things. Details of your professional life should prevail (unless you have had no professional life so far), but you should share more than that with the hiring managers.
One website you designed can tell more than a thousand words
At the end of the day, everyone can boast about their skills with this or that programming language or content management system. But it is just empty words, unless you have something to show to prove them. Think about your former projects and websites, and try to pick three most relevant for the job you are just trying to get. Which projects are most relevant? For example, if the company works mostly with WordPress, you should pick WordPress websites. If they work a lot with custom PHP, you should pick projects where you coded something with PHP. I hope you got my point here.
In many cases you will get a chance to showcase your portfolio right at the start of your job interview, and you should definitely do so, since one website tells more than a thousand words about your real level of experience in the field (regardless of your education). Make sure to prepare this short talk in advance, that means what you want to emphasize with each website, such as goals of the projects, key challenges you faced, time-frame, etc.
Do not be afraid of short but to the point answers
When they ask you to introduce yourself on a job application, or during an online interview for example, you will often have a limited space to do so. A few lines of text, or one minute of recording. Go ahead and introduce yourself just with three or seven powerful words (check sample answer no. 6 on my list as a great example). Another alternative, even more creative one, is simply giving them a link to your portfolio, or personal website, where they can find everything they may need, or want to know about you.
Don’t forget that you try to get a job of a front-end of back-end web developer here. Hence any reference to a website (which you designed or helped to design) makes sense, regardless of how strange it may seem for an outsider…
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions you may face:
- Web developer interview questions – all questions + some answers
- Tell us about a time when you missed a deadline.
- Why should we hire you? (And not one of the other job applicants?)