34 years old, studied 7 months, landed Frontend react dev job

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Just want to know if anyone has similar situation (30-40-50-60 y.o junor devs are welcome)
Short story:
-Never wrote a line of code
-Started from html, css, js, react udemy courses + fcc certification.
-Studied for 7 months(600 hours) - full dedication (wake up at 5 morning, pomodoro method, no parties, no beer no alcohol) just study study study + my current 9-6 job not related with dev.
-After 7 months of study resigned from comfortable job and applied for local companies.
-Landed my first job as junior frontend react dev.

Now it is 3rd week and main points are:
-it is freakin hard and frustrating: react app with 1000 components, hundreds of libraries(pikaday, classnames, drag-n-drop bla bla bla), half of scripts written in backend, so need to learn SQL as well.
-have you ever fixed a bug in 700 lines-of-code component? Seven hundred lines!!! No i just made to-do list on udemy :slight_smile:
-git is freakin hard: branches, merges, backend migration on C#
-i am way out of my comfort zone, i feel stupid, everyone is smart
-started fixing simple bugs, it is hard but I am trying hard.
-if they fire me, I completely deserve it :slight_smile:

My thoughts:
-no one was born with this knowledge, just need time (one year maybe :smile: )
-embrace this discomfort zone. I was working for 10 years in comfortable jobs where I can be replaced within a week by total newbie.
-i have passion to coding
-just going to work as a software dev is a freakin success :slight_smile:
-it is not about age, at 14 or 24 I would have felt same stupid because programming is just something different.

Who has same experience at similar age? Just want to see your story.

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Thanks for sharing your story! I’m still at the beginning of my learning journey (27 and had never written a line of code until a few months ago, stuck in a soul-sucking office job), and it’s really interesting to read about your experience. I love the phrase “discomfort zone” a lot!! I think I’m going to use it as my mantra.

I’m still suuuuper basic and doing the HTML/CSS grind (peppered with a bit of Python), and it feels like every time I start to feel confident in something in those it either a) gets really complicated again right away or b) has fallen out of my head by the time I’ve gone to actually use it. I’m trying not to get too frustrated. Time to embrace the discomfort zone!

I also like your philosophy about age… I’m 27, so slightly younger than you are, but I still feel the whole “Am I too old for this?? Will I be in a room of 18-year-olds who have been coding Minecraft (or whatever the Youth of Today do) since they were 12?” feeling sometimes… Programming is completely different from anything most people have learned before they come to it no matter how old someone is. Everyone does their time as a newbie, no matter how old they are.

Hang in there, and if you feel like it, would love to have an update once you have a little more time in the job! :slight_smile:

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Thanks for sharing your experience How long it took you to land this job? What would you recommend to those who are currently looking for a front end position in case we land one in the upcoming weeks?

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Somewhat similar for me. My story.

I hadn’t touched Ruby on Rails before, or done much with Redux, and both of those were used in a product I was working on when I joined.

It’s difficult, but learning to overcome that is just part of the job.

Recently I had to start maintaining a clojurescript app at work. The developer that implemented it left years ago, so despite my never having touched clojurescript before, now it’s just another thing I have to learn in the job. And graphql, actually.

I’m always learning!

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So heres what I think

27 and had never written a line of code until a few months ago: what an advantage) at my age you could become senior fullstack dev with 5-6 years of experience, how cool is that )))
a) gets really complicated again right away: I took 2 html css courses on udemy and completed each of them 3 times. 2 courses on JS and repeated them 3 times. 20 hours course takes 1 month at first to complete. It requires patience and consistency.
b) has fallen out of my head: it is ok, “use your brain as a processor not as a hard disk”. Absorb information to say “hey I did it couple times, I dont remember but i know how it works and at least I can google it”
Will I be in a room of 18-year-olds who have been coding Minecraft: i am using discomfort as a fire under my … heart :smile: it motivates to study more.

Some advices:
follow this roadmap, read it everyday: https://roadmap.sh/frontend
download pomodoro timer(any timer with daily/weekly/monthly report): turn it on every time you study, and you can see how many hours did you study daily, weekly, monthly. It takes 600-800 focused pomodoro hours to feel ready.
stick with: html,css, js (no need for python)
watch motivational videos: might sound weird, but it works (check on Youtube out Denzel Washingtons - Fail big speech)

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Hey! Same here, completely new tech stack, 1 month in. Put a lot of pressure on myself to finish tasks at first, but actually there was no pressure coming from above.

After I finally talked to my CTO about it, I realized my job was really to use these tasks to learn the tech stack. And that’s been a huge mindset change. Now I realize I’m just here to do the same thing I’ve been doing the last year and a half (5 months for you): learn.

I think one could say - ‘welcome to the minions of people that decided to s*it their pants and do something to change their lives for better’. I belong to that group too and congratulate everyone that decides to leave their comfort zones take on the challenge of being something better.

Personally I have moved to another country hoping that my IT skills (no I know how pathetic they were) would help me get a nice job. I have ended up desperately looking for anything there was. Just as I was about to get a very messy job (literally digging hard rock in someone’s basement) I got lucky and got a programming job. How I got that job is interesting - I had to prepare a small demo script in PHP of which I had almost no knowledge, so I have spent a week working on it, like 14 hours a day and I got it working. It was a simple form that was uploading some csv files and then PHP would do some manipulation on it and store it in MySQL. That is how I became a programmer. 8 years later I am a senior dev and never stopped learning.
Today new jobs find me, I do not have to do anything, other than reply ‘yes interesting, send me the details’ :slight_smile:

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This sounds inspiring! I’m a couple of months off my 40th and trying to guide myself into a career within software design or web design. Currently completing CS50 with edx, I feel like I’ve suddenly been thrown into the deep end with bricks on my back!

There are many mornings when I think I’m stupid for even trying to change now, but I’m determined. Somedays I wish I could remove myself from all life and responsibility for a couple of months so I could singularly focus on learning. My employer isn’t supportive, so I have to be sneaky about trying to learn on work time and working shifts makes it difficult to balance doing it in my time with maintaining a healthy home life for my wife and I.

I guess, at the end of the day, I just want to achieve enough to be able to take a junior position and then continue to learn on the job - the best way I’ve always learnt!

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Man CS50 is hard, i could only complete 3 weeks )))

I’m currently on week 3 - by far the hardest coding I’ve attempted. I understand a lot of the concepts, but am struggling to complete the challenges with a little guidance. I’ll just keep cracking on for now!

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Just start with html/css udemy courses. Imo this path is much easier. Then add js, it is kinda newbie friendly. You dont give a meat to newborn baby.

I took approx 1 month. I applied to 45-50 jobs. Got rejected a lot and failed one interview: guy just gave me one written challenge and I could not do it, so failed )))))
advice is to have your frontend dev roadmap with you and show it to employee. It will show that you have a structured approach. Show what did you study and what topics you are familiar with. If you are at your 30-40s show employee your passion to this job. Also be honest to say that you need to learn at first - some companies dont give this chance (one guy tolde me - sorry but we dont pay for learning.)
dont take everything too seriously, try to have fun during interview.
At my current job they asked me 20 JS questions from list of questions(like what is “this”, what is difference between “undefined and null”), then 10-15 react-redux-routing questions (like how arrow functions behave, what are lifecycles, what is mapdispatchtoprops etc).
Also they gave me 4 whiteboard questions and I solved only one “find fibonacci” question. For other 3 questions I told that I dont know how to solve them but in real life I can solve them in 5 seconds with stackOverflow :slight_smile:
And how long have you been studying?

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That is a great story, congratulations on your success. :slight_smile: Did you find JS learning hard at any moment and after how much time of learning pure JS you moved to React? And if you don’t mind asking, from which country you are?

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Congratulations on finding a position I’m currently working on my front end skills are you in the US?

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Wow, now thats a success story If Ive ever heard one.

Thanks for your reply and advice! I will definitely take it to heart. I have a spreadsheet I’ve set up tracking the different courses (the modules at FCC, SoloLearn, etc. that I’m doing) and the date I finished each module, but I like your idea of the pomodoros spent on each thing as well. I might add that to the sheet. Plus, you’ve reminded me of how useful pomodoros were when I was doing National Novel Writing Month, so I’ll definitely give them a go again now.

“Processor not a hard disk” is another pearl of wisdom! You’re right - the whole “Arg, I know I’ve done this before, but I can’t remember how…!” thing is okay in the age of Google. Knowing what to google and having it look familiar once I see it is a useful result of studying. And yep, I will accept the fact that the study courses won’t be one-and-done, and it’s okay if I need to repeat them. :slight_smile:

And yay for lighting the fire! You’re right again. Yes, the 18-year-olds have started coding earlier than I have. That’ll make it even sweeter when I can keep pace with them someday after starting at 27!

Loving the Denzel Washington video! I’m a big fan of the Shia LaBeouf “Just do it!” motivational speech as well. :slight_smile:

PS: I’m about to print out that roadmap and pin it above my desk. It’s really clear and visually appealing!

Thanks again, and all the best. :smiley:

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That’s Great to hear! I’m 34 and I have only built a few websites so far. I’m looking forward to land a job similar to yours.

Thank you for posting that

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How inspirational your story is, Radixs! I love it!

THIS “Somedays I wish I could remove myself from all life and responsibility for a couple of months so I could singularly focus on learning. My employer isn’t supportive, so I have to be sneaky about trying to learn on work time and working shifts makes it difficult to balance doing it in my time with maintaining a healthy home life” IS… exactly how I have been feeling lately. Although I don’t have an employer as im self-employed, I just have to be in my office every day to keep the cash-flow coming in. And it is so hard to learn when you have lots of breaks in your learning process b/c I realized that coding requires a lot of focus and undivided attention. Every time I build a new website, I have to kind of relearn stuff due to lots of long pauses and breaks in my learning. But there is no turning back for sure! By the way, pomodoro does help a lot when it comes to focusing on your task. Thanks for sharing your story mikef80!

Yep… Thanks for the advice!
Try 57 year old in a similar boat!
Been building websites for many years on the side, “playing,” learning, trying & suddenly find oneself unemployed and looking for a job in one’s “hobby.” Those 18 year old Minecraft programmers are scary, and they earn more than my ex-full-time job paid me, but I have to keep reminding myself that I have experience and hope potential employers appreciate that and look past my age.

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