What a long strange trip it's been

What a long strange trip it's been
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I apologize for potential ramblings in advance, but those who will need to understand what I wanted to say, will understand.

A while ago I started occasionally reading the success stories of people that got onto fcc and thought to myself ‘man, if they made it, so can I’ - this was at a point where I decided to abandon the relatively safe path of studying computer science and mathematics in order to completely focus on learning the essential front end development skills in order to get a job and finally gain independence from my almost overly forgiving yet wonderful parents.

Why overly forgiving you might ask - it is quite personal, but let me just tell you that from the age of 19 until 25 I made a lot of exceptionally bad decisions which led me to the brink of self destruction and if it weren’t for the safe haven they provided when I needed it the most, I’d probably be forever lost in a really bad place right now.

Anyway, in short, I switched 3 study paths until the age of 24, when I enrolled into computer science and mathematics, partly because I felt i the time to make something useful out of myself is running out. During my time studying I was constantly struggling to listen to the monotone voices of professors who could not convince me of the existence of beauty in mathematics, I was struggling to wake up and make myself go to lectures and I was far from happy when I was studying.

I kept on asking myself - how is it that i, who value freedom of will above all, succumbed to do what society expects of me and i always kept on giving myself answers that temporarily silenced that voice, but it always came back to the same question. I can’t judge how others perceive mathematics and computer science, I acknowledge that some find it very interesting, even beautiful or transcendent, but for me everything apart from coding (i learned java and c on a beginner level) was just so fucking lifeless and boring and I kept on telling myself that it all will become interesting when I will learn more and start mastering it, but then I thought about what this kind of thinking will lead into, I saw a road of 10 years of disciplined dedication in order to gain a phd, at which point I would consider myself a master of my craft and in case the possibility of finding what I was looking for but could not find.

When I was pondering about that, I came to a conclusion that to make such a huge investment of life just for a shot at seeing if this possibility works out, I would have to be completely nuts or lacking a better plan and this is when I realized I would rather give a few months of my life in order to learn enough of the only thing I liked doing at the university to land a job and if unable - just go all out yolo.

Luckily I had a friend who already worked as a full stack developer at a company and gave me some directions and with his recommendations I laid out a plan for myself.

Each day I solved about 5 - 10 problems on codewars, I was reading You don’t know JS series, watching educational videos and of course, the reason I’m writing right now - doing the course on FCC.

I opened a runkit/blog where I wrote what I learned during the day. I could feel the improvement and I had a big drive, since I was embarking onto a not-so-expected journey of becoming a front end developer. It felt good to learn things that, unlike at the quite outdated and more scientifically oriented program at the university, I intended to be abled to use in my future job. For quite a while I was afraid of becoming employed, to be honest, I saw it as a form of compliant enslavement, but then I envisioned myself learning while earning money and therefore growing personally while also gaining independence, this vision seemed very nice to me. I saw the difference between becoming a front end developer and the life i had at the moment only in earning money, which was a great motivator, since by default i enjoyed what i was doing a lot.

Two months into the process my friend asked me how is my plan working out and if I want to come along their office and apply for a job. I thought it was too early since I didn’t even get to the front end development part of the FCC yet, but he didn’t think so, so I wrote an e-mail to their recruitment team and got a task to finish in a month time in response. I could feel that shit’s about to get real, for a lack of better expression, so I started working on it.

I had to write an AngularJS application with some backend structure using express and mathlab - a taxi renting service app and within about a month I finished it. I got a follow up task and a list of things that I need to fix, which I did in the next two weeks.
In the following few days I received an invitation to review the task and a final interview and guys, I could hardly believe everything so far has worked out so smoothly only about 5 months into taking a another major offbeat decision, which, after the interview, turned out to finally be a good one!

I got offered a trial period of three months, which, if passed, would turn into a full time job! It was such a freeing feeling - I felt the nearing of the feeling of full independence, which was the first salary and it really felt that way. I was finally taking care of myself.

Regarding my work experience - It’s been almost exactly one year since I started working the the company I still work for. At the start I felt completely overwhelmed by all the information that was shooting at me from all directions, but eventually I got the hang of it. At the start I learned a lot on a daily basis, I mean every single day I felt my knowledge grew even more than when I was learning on my own and this felt exactly as thought it would when I was executing my plan.

Gradually I got used to the patterns of problem solving/work flow/adding features and now I rarely stumble upon a new concept connected to coding that I do at my job. This is partly due to the fact that we’re using AngularJS, which is not really being updated anymore and to be honest it saddens me that I’m not able to grow as I work as I envisioned. A lot of work that I do feels automatic, not creative. However, I’m learning React Native and Angular on my own, at home, which is not ideal, since I’d much prefer to do it as I work, but it at least keeps me interested in web development and I’m using this time to make a useful app, which would best be kept secret. :slight_smile:

All in all I am happy I made a choice of becoming a web developer, because i feel independent, i can always learn useful things, i’m surrounded by a very nice type of people, i proved to myself that i can make it without a college degree and i also think that learning how to code has somehow sharpened my thought processes. Eventually I want to become a senior front end developer or/and an advisor for a company with up to 4 hours per day of work time, since me and my girlfriend dream of living on a self-sustainable farm. :slight_smile:

If you have read this and if you’re in the process of learning, because you want to become a front end developer, I wish you the best of luck and I want to let you know, if you don’t already - you can do it!

To everyone else - be good.

Vid

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Congratulations! I love your story.
Can you share your learning plan? What projects did you do?

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Thank you and I’m glad you enjoyed it!
I think I already answered your question in my post:

I did Palindrome Checker, Roman Numeral Converter, Caesars Cipher, Telephone Number Validator and Tribute page + Personal portfolio page on FCC.

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Hi Vid,

Thanks for sharing your story. I am thrilled that you were able to course-correct after you discovered you weren’t as passionate about pure math as you thought.

I’m excited that you’re now working a field that energizes you, and that you’re learning new JavaScript libraries like React in your free time to continue to sharpen your skills!

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Great job! Wonderful how you turned things around :tada:

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Good luck with the farm, my girl drams about something similiar. Which country if may I ask

How where you able to sustain yourself while out of school learning
Can you share with us how you were able to make an income?

Thank you for your kind responses and wishes.

@koval77 - For now we have not definite country set, but we might stay in Slovenia, where we currently live. There’s loads of potent land here. :slight_smile:

@NengakDakup I was picking up random jobs i could find and didn’t include heavy cognitive load. For example for a month and a half I was selling mulled wine on a stand, while mostly reading and playing chess. ^^ However, my parents agreed on giving me about half of the income I needed to pay for my living expenses.

Great story! Im also studying to become a Front End Developer. Thanks for sharing and go ahead for your dream, looks great! :rocket:

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