I finally joined the legendary group that made it from programming novice to getting a job
Having read numerous Got a Developer Job posts that encouraged me to keep coding, I feel the need to encourage someone else.
Here’s a summary of my path:
My journey began in 2013 when I took a programming course on edX and built one or two games with Python.
I landed a software internship job and did that for 6 months in 2014/2015.
I have always thought coding is too hard and not meant for me - I quit coding after the internship.
Building websites with WordPress was simpler and I took that seriously, making a small business out of it.
On completing university at the end of 2015, I worked as a Marketer and freelance WordPress developer.
Back in school, I had this dream of building a great tech company. It slowly dawned on me that I needed more than Wordpress skills to build a tech company.
I decided to face my fear of coding and started freeCodeCamp (FCC) in November 2016.
I quit FCC early 2017 because I faced a challenge that was too hard for me - The Simon Game
I moved to FCC’s Back-end track and was fortunate to be part of Chingu.
My first project on Chingu was to lead a team of Front-end developers to build a full-stack application.
I had just earned my front-end Certificate and knew little or nothing about the back-end.
My team and I were confused a lot, we persevered, we worked hard and by refusing to give up we eventually built the app.
The experience of building my first full-stack project was a huge milestone in my programming journey.
It gave me the confidence to build more full-stack applications.
I applied to a few jobs in late 2017 and didn’t make the final cut, this was disappointing and I felt inadequate.
I took job applications seriously in January 2018 and applied to over 60 companies. I was fortunate to get two job offers.
I started the new job in March 2018 and 3 months of developing software professionally has been a great experience.
I am learning a ton and getting paid to write software!
It’s difficult to summarize the most important things I have learnt on my journey, here’s my attempt:
Community: Learning to code is hard. Being part of a group of people that share your coding interests makes a world of difference. They make the journey easier and encourage you when you’re down. FCC and Chingu both have amazing communities you can join. I especially like the fact that Chingu gives you an opportunity to build software with a team.
Patience: It takes a lot of time and effort to become good at anything in life, coding is not an exception. Be patient. The more you learn, the easier it becomes to learn more stuff. It’s similar to learning a new spoken language like Chinese, Arabic, Russian etc You have to learn the basics before the complex stuff e.g. alphabets, then words, then sentences…
It takes time. Keep at it.
Perseverance: Don’t give up. Becoming good at programming takes many months and years, nobody does it overnight. Keep learning, keep building stuff, keep challenging yourself. When you hit a challenge that you have no idea how to solve, ask other developers for advice, take tutorials, read books and take courses that give you a better understanding of that topic. Don’t give up.
Company Culture: Choose your first developer job carefully. The people you work with matter a lot - you’ll learn a ton from them and those lessons will form the foundation of your career. Try to find a company that has great people who are willing to help you grow and whose environment you’ll enjoy working in. Identifying a company’s culture can be difficult, Culture Queries has many great questions you can ask to understand a company’s culture.
I am a serial quitter and somehow I have stuck with coding long enough to get an amazing job.
If I can do it, you can too.
I know the feeling of wanting to give up, thinking to yourself the challenges are too hard… Just keep at it and leverage the community and resources you have around you. Don’t give up, please don’t give up.
I have tried documenting my journey so far. I write monthly articles about mistakes I have made and lessons learned. I do this so I can help others who are facing similar challenges.
You are not alone, it’s okay to struggle and be confused, and perhaps you can learn from my struggles as a developer.
Some of my articles you might find useful include:
Many thanks to freeCodeCamp for providing a learning curriculum, for a thriving community, for all the success stories that kept me going, for all the articles on software that exposed me to different concepts. I appreciate the entire community, the FCC team and especially Quincy Larson for his amazing work!
I look forward to seeing your own: Got a Developer Job post.