So I just finished up my second week as a Junior Front End Developer and I am loving my job so far and think it is only going to get better!
I was nervous about posting about it at first until I was sure it was going to work out but I am feeling safer in my role each day and think it’s time to share for anyone else out there in the same situation that might be doubting themselves or got a job offer and feel unsure what to do.
So a bit of background: I completed a degree in Computer Science back in 2010 and done really well in programming subjects but only really had exposure to C/C++ and shell scripting when I left. I ended up in an IT Infrastructure role which was interesting work but I wasn’t ready for it and it wasn’t my goal which was to work in some flavor of software development. I left after a year and worked survival jobs for the next 5 while trying to learn various programming languages using online tutorials (HTML/CSS/JS/SQL/PHP) but with no structure so I didn’t have anything to show for it and the skills faded as quickly as they came because I wouldn’t keep practicing. For years I struggled to get into any development role and then I came across Free Code Camp!
The basic HTML/CSS/JS I had learned did make things a lot easier along with my university course but regardless, Free Code Camp introduced all the important concepts but most importantly it pushed me to do something with the knowledge and create a project portfolio. The project challenges were the most important aspect for my learning as I had to do a lot of research to put each project together. I got stuck on occasion as I imagine most do but I kept at it and used the forum when I ran out of ideas with a problem.
I don’t imagine everyone will get this lucky but I got the job 2 months after starting the front end cert and I was up to the JS calculator challenge when I got the offer so anyone out there with some previous programming knowledge can be sure they can get enough skill going through the course to land a job in a relatively short amount of time. I had a day or 2 each week I could really smash out a lot of material so I done as much as I could so would estimate 10-20hrs a week spend on the site. Regardless I wasn’t expecting this and was ready to battle on for a year or two if I had to. Anyway on to some other stuff I think might help someone.
The Interview: I tend to interview pretty well so I wasn’t too stressed over it, along with not being sure if I was just luck to get a call so early on in my applications so wasn’t feeling much pressure. The important thing is to know what you can and can’t do. Be honest but without selling yourself short. After all we aren’t putting in all this effort purely for the fun of it, we want a career we are passionate about!
The Job: All I can say is- Free Code Camp gives you the tools to get started but it is going to be a long way to the top. I ended up coding on my first day and fixing a few bugs on the company website (not on production of course ), but I can say straight of the bat I could tell there is so much more to know. Not to mention you have to dig through all the existing code and familiarize yourself so you don’t go breaking other parts of the site to get your job done. I’ve been coming across the unexpected regularly. I need to understand some PHP. I need to learn SASS/SCSS quick! I need to understand html templating and Magento (an ecommerce CMS). Depending on who you work for I imagine you have to get familiar with all the systems in place, whatever tools they use. It’s a bit daunting at first but you just have to keep pushing and so far I am doing really well and I’ve been trying to get regular feedback and they seem happy with me too so I am really happy with the job so far and looking forward to work each day for a change! I would recommend getting familiar with SCSS / Media Queries and maybe compiling SASS. Compass is a popular framework (easy to use too) during the front end part of the course.
On a final note many thanks to @QuincyLarson and all of FreeCodeCamp’s contributors. I definitely credit my recent good fortune to the site and know there will be many more that will get the same opportunity by using FreeCodeCamp!
If anyone has questions I’ll do my best to answer them but I’ve been flat out with the new job and relocating so don’t expect quick replies. Good Luck