Well guys, it’s been a month since I left my job to finish FreeCodeCamp full-time. Despite the perception of being unemployed, it’s been a busy month. I managed to finish the React section in about 3 weeks and rebuilt my portfolio site. I even did a presentation for my camper group on SASS as well.
I’m quite happy with the progress I have made so far, and by keeping this momentum, I should be able to finish the backend section within a month and a half.
If you don’t have too many obligations and have capital, becoming a full-time learner is the quickest path to becoming a decent developer. On the other hand, I had some learning lessons along the way that I had to come to terms with, but has made me a better person. Here is some things I learned along the way over this past month:
Time Management is still a big thing
One of the reasons why I quit my job was because I saw an opportunity with extra time. Ironically, it doesn’t take long for those hours to be used up for things not related to your goal. You family will ask you to do things for them since you now have the time. Friends will ask for favors and constantly invite you out for social events because, hey, he’s a free man! Those courses you wanted to take but couldn’t because of time you didn’t have are now within your grasp. The next thing you know your sitting in your room at one in the morning just starting to code your project. Trust me! you don’t want to be coding late at night! it defeats the whole purpose.
This is why it’s important to know what needs to be on your schedule and knowing when to say no to something.
Don’t neglect networking but only do it if it makes sense
The hard truth is, if you’re not getting in touch with decision makers and influencers in person, you’re not going to get the job. Only 20% of the available developer jobs is posted online and nearly everytime your resume goes into a massive blackhole never to be seen by a hiring manager. The rest are taken up by people that are referred by someone in the company.
I would go days just coding away the projects in the curriculum thinking that once I have all of them completed, I’ll start getting offers. But the truth of the matter is, if nobody knows who you are, they ain’t gonna hire you.
So I started going to more meet-ups that I would normally not go to. If there was an event that was going on that was even remotely related to development I would go. I started participating more in the community and inviting folks to pair programming.
Getting social and active is great, but eventually you have to weigh the benefits. Odds are, the chances of scoring opportunities (for employment) by going to that dive bar with your buds is pretty slim. The same goes with meeting up with an agency recruiter and discussing a senior developer role when you’re just looking to get your feet wet.
Don’t deviate from the curriculum unless it leads to income
Going back to time management, a lot of opportunities open up when you buy back those 40 hours. There is a lot junctures that you can jump on and do. Certainly they will drive you towards your path of employment. But there’s only a few that will get you there the fastest.
Take for instances a project I was invited to help develop. It was a free professional website for a local entrepreneur. Sure it would demonstrate my ability as a developer but there was no guarantee that I would be employed. So I turned down the opportunity to maintain my current path through the curriculum. I would rather build several robust web applications on my own, then build a static site for someone else for free. And fully featured applications are much more attractive to employers.
Well, back to the grind everyone