NOTE: This is as much a post for others to learn from as it is a post for self-reflection. It’s been a long journey, and I have been waiting to write this post.
I graduated from a decent state school about four years ago with a bachelors degree in physics. I had been successful in my studies, graduating near the top of my class. But the stress and anxiety of being a student had taken its toll on me. I had given up the idea of slaving away for another six years as a graduate student. So when I graduated, I began to look for a job.
When I started my job search, I was confident that someone would hire me soon. Yet weeks went by, and I only experienced rejection. Then the weeks turned into months, and months into years. My mounting anxiety became unbearable.
I remember that my spirits got so low at one point, I began to dread interviews. One interview stands out in particular. When the interviewer asked something like “So what makes you a good fit for this job?”, I didn’t have a response. I forgot if I had any intelligence or marketable skills at all. My confidence was gone.
I went back to school for a master’s degree. It was there, after realizing my disillusionment with academia, that I found freeCodeCamp. A year ago I started working through the curriculum. Soon after I started through the curriculum, I discovered the local meetup group. I started attending every week and found it beneficial. The projects I completed built up my confidence that had vanished.
A year’s worth of Sunday’s invested in learning web development paid off. But–this is key–I wouldn’t have found my job without the support of the community.
The leaders of the freeCodeCamp meetups I had been going to were very generous. They showed me how to make a resume and they told me what employers were looking for. They even brought in recruiters to the meetup.
They recommended me to companies that were looking to hire. Which is exactly how I found my job.
After receiving an email from the CTO, I went through a brief interview with the tech team. I showed them my portfolio and walked them through the Game of Life project. I had used AngularJS to develop the project, but they were more interested in React. So they sent me a project to complete using React. It involved fetching and posting data to an API on a Node server that I was to set up.
A week after I submitted it, they called me up and offered me the job.
Community. Find other web developers in person. Get to be friends.
Learn frameworks through projects. React, AngularJS are good places to start.
Stay hungry. There are so many resources for web development out there. Don’t limit yourself by things you have become comfortable with.
Also, thank you to all who have helped me here! Shout out to @QuincyLarson. Thank you very much for this platform!