Hi, I’m past my mid-30s and got my first developer role just under a year ago . I had gotten frustrated with my scientific career and its lack of direction, so started learning how to write code. I loved it so much that when my last research role came to an end in March 2017, I took on learning how to write code full-time for about 10 months. I started off with the front end stuff in FCC, but then moved on to learning React (via various courses on Udemy), refactoring one of my FCC projects into a React/Redux web app so that I could showcase my React knowledge. I also shared the code for other FCC projects on Github. I extended the FCC portfolio project and deployed a simple page that showcased some of the projects I’d done.
In January 2018 I started looking for a junior developer role. I updated my profile on LinkedIn and joined a number of different job sites. I applied for roles and also got calls from a lot of recruitment consultants. I was invited to do a phone interview and subsequent code test for a company, which I bombed out on (but which was ultimately a good learning experience, which I posted about here: Code Test Expectations for Junior Developer Roles ).
Shortly after that, I got a phone call from a lovely recruiter named Steven. He said he knew of a company in my area that I might be well-suited for. Their tech stack included React and Node.js, which was of immediate appeal. He said that while they weren’t looking for junior developers, he’d put me forward anyway and see if there was any chance they’d talk to me. I was in luck - one of the CEOs agreed to meet with me.
The interview was great, and also very informal, which suited me very well. I also spoke to one of their senior developers, who’d had a look at my code on Github and was pretty happy with what he’d seen. At the end of the interview, I was told that they would love to have me, but that they were hoping to recruit a few more senior devs first, so that I might have more support, which at the time they couldn’t guarantee.
In the meantime, I had a face-to-face with another company, whom were keen to have me back for a second interview. However, I really wanted to work for the other company, so contacted Steven to see what he could do. The short answer is that they offered me a role, and I’m loving it. I started off doing very basic stuff, like writing documentation on how to set up all the required software a new user would need when joining the company, learning how to write snapshot tests in Jest, learning how to use Postman, etc. I then moved onto a commercial project, starting off on bug fixes and then moving onto adding new features as the client requested them. I recently had an appraisal and am being promoted up a level. I’m still a junior, but am making progress, which is the main thing.
I’ve found from my experience so far that enthusiasm, self-motivation and a desire to learn is key. It also helps to have good ‘soft skills’ and to be open to having your code critiqued by someone more experienced than you.
Hope all goes well for you, and if you have any specific questions, I’m happy to try and answer them