Don’t put inside your head that you’re too old, or that you can’t do it because it’s too hard... Just commit to your decision and go ahead! Pursue what makes you happy! Get to the Point of No Return! Love yourself and always thrive to be a better Human Being!

The end of the year is approaching and there was something in my Wunderlist that needed to be done. Today it’s Sunday and I’m relaxing a little bit from my effort on completing MongoDB Developer Certification. I thought it was the best time to bring a cup of ginger tea to my computer desk and share with you how I’ve became a Software Engineer in 1800 hours.


I always keep some time for myself in December to think about last year and do some introspection. Last December (2016) I’ve decided it was time to reboot my career. I’ve been a Civil Engineer for 12 years, working in Portugal and abroad, in the Sub-Saharan Africa (Angola). The market has changed and in spite of loving what I was doing I felt I only had one life to do everything I’ve ever dreamed about. I needed to change, to get new challenges, to study, to dedicate myself to other type of “quests”, to feel curious, to wonder about something else.

It wasn’t an easy decision. Life pushed me thrice out of my comfort zone and I guess that was a gift (… but this is another long story…).

Since then I’ve never had the desire to settle back and see life passing by comfortably installed on my arm chair. I’ve learnt to surpass difficulties and to adapt to a lot of different cultures and life styles.

I’m happy to see my twitter profile today and remember of all the nights I’ve spent on learning how to code. Because they were pure delight.

I’ve started to learn on “Codecademy” and a few days later I’ve discovered freeCodeCamp.

Well… I don’t want to sound repetitive… but freeCodeCamp was a great help to understand what I needed to study and how would I become a Software Engineer not knowing anyone on the field that could help me find out what languages to study or how to organize my path.

Thank you Quincy Larson (teacher and programmer) for creating freeCodeCamp and for transforming my life!

I’ve also learnt quite fast that to become a programmer I’d need to program everyday. This is a must, a rule that you can’t break!

Thank you Alexander Kallaway (self-taught programmer) for creating a challenge on Twitter called #100DaysOfCode!

With these two tools I’ve started my study, surpassing all the difficulties on learning how to code on a daily basis.

HTML, CSS, jQuery, Bootstrap were easy to get. When I’ve started JavaScript challenges I felt the need to have someone to clear my doubts and to guide me through my fights against more complex challenges.

freeCodeCamp provides you with a forum, Gitter, Youtube, Facebook groups. It doesn’t allow you to stay alone closed in your world and that is 90% of the magic. To improve and grow as a programmer you need to talk with more experienced programmers and to have some “travel” mates that are struggling at your side with the same challenges — thank you João Henrique, You’ve been there from the beginning!

When June arrived I had already completed my freeCodeCamp Front End Certification and was struggling with the Back End one. By that time I wasn’t already working. I was 100% dedicated to become a Software Engineer and left Africa settling at home in Portugal. It was my Point of No Return. I had to get inside my head that I was a Software Engineer and that I needed to get a job to pay the bills! I also had to relocate my family and this was another big adventure to share with you later!

I’ve felt the need of getting some local support and getting in touch with the community. I’ve started to appear in NodeSchool and some local “hackathons”. That allowed me to do some networking and to know better the Peeps with whom I was already talking on the Internet from a few months ago.

By that time I already was on the GeekSessions’ Faro Slack. I was already being mentored by some fine “Super Humans”! Thank you guys! Miguel Coquet, André Jonas and Nelson Neves! You are the best!

When August arrived one of my mentors, Miguel Coquet, told me it was time to get a job. I felt shocked, I couldn’t believe for an instance that I could be ready to handle such a responsibility at that time. I felt so noob, so new in the business, with so much to learn… I couldn’t believe I was ready.

He suggested me to try. To send some cvs and make some tests. To expose myself to the business and taste the difficulty of getting a job interview.

I’ve started sending some cvs and I got my first interview. It was a great team with very nice people but the work wasn’t what I wanted it to be! I really wanted to do React or Node.

Talking with Miguel about this job thing started to happen on a daily basis and after some weeks he opened his door and told me he could try to find something for me to do as a front-ender in React.

In a few days he pulled the strings and found some work. It was time to dance in the rain and get a real job. I only took some days to fall into this reality and fine tune the mindset to believe that I could be a junior developer.

I’ve answered to Miguel immediately and told him it would be a great pleasure to work at his side. He was already my mentor for some time and everything was great!

Thank you Miguel! You’ve helped me a lot this year! Without you everything would be thrice as hard!

And so it was! 4 months have passed since I’ve started to work at Miguel’s side and the feedback from the client was amazingly positive! I feel completely integrated on a dev team and his mentoring has revealed to be a great plus everyday.

The challenge is DONE! For those who are asking this - I’ve studied somethinglike 2500 hours this year.

Programming is definitely a craft and you need to keep improving on a daily basis. The more you study, the more you feel you have to keep on studying.

I’ve always had an idea that programmers were geniuses and rockstars that worked alone in the basement! The truth is that I got to know a lot of interesting people and made some really good friends!

All of this to explain you and share with you how I’ve finished this quest on becoming a Software Engineer. I’m very happy and I really enjoy my new job!

Champagne please!!!


Never quit your dreams! Hurry up! Life doesn’t wait for you!


ADVICE:

Don’t put inside your head that you’re too old, or that you can’t do it because it’s too hard. Just commit to your decision and go ahead! Pursue what makes you happy! Love yourself and always thrive to be a better Human Being!

Receipt: Decision to Reboot + FreeCodeCamp + Study +Social Networking + Finding a Mentor + Perseverance + Self Commitment on a daily basis!

Have fun and press the reboot button inside your brain!

Cheers!