by Stephen Mayeux
Here’s What 9 Months of Self-Taught Coding Looks Like
Just Scratching the Surface
Today marks 9 months since I embarked on my journey as a self-taught coder, and I feel fantastic!
In the beginning, shortly after the hand-holding phase that all newbies go through, I hit wall after wall trying to make sense of higher order functions, asynchronous callbacks in Node.js, and the ever so cryptic Heroku error logs.
There were a lot of doubts along the way, but I have bulldozed through those negative thoughts and learned so much cool stuff!
Since I started learning to code last summer, I have built several MEAN stack applications and helped others to do so through Free Code Camp. But I have only scratched the surface!
I am currently wrapping up my final teaching contract in South Korea, and I will be returning home to the States in September 2016. This gives me about 5 more months to build, learn, collaborate, and prepare so that I can find a full time development position in Texas or California.
In the meantime, I want to reflect on what I have learned so far and tell you how I was able to do it.
What I’ve Learned
- HTML5, CSS3, and Twitter Bootstrap
- Sass (SCSS)
- jQuery and AJAX Requests
- AngularJS 1.x
- Node.js and Express
- Templating: Dust, EJS, and Jade
- Git and GitHub
- The Command Line
If you are not ready to pay a lot of money for a bootcamp, an online certificate is an affordable option. Many of them are free, and include real-world projects that you can add to your portfolio.
I have completed 4 certificates, and I hope to get a couple of more by the end of the summer.
- Free Code Camp’s Back End Development Program — By far the most difficult and challenging part of my journey, but totally worth it! Build 10 API microservices and dynamic web applications using the MEAN stack.
- M101JS: MongoDB for Node.js Developers — Free certifications offered by Mongo University. Watch video lectures, complete quizzes and a final project.
The Next Step
The pressure to find a job is building, and I have to go into hyperdrive. To help me cross the bridge from serious hobbyist to professional developer, I have decided to make a big investment of time and money and enroll in a coding bootcamp to help me make the ultimate transition. I applied to several coding bootcamps including Hack Reactor, App Academy, MakerSquare, Coding House, and Viking Code School.
Each school has a different set of strengths, but I ultimately decided to become a Viking Warrior! The VCS intensive program (and part-time flex program) is 100% online and is perfect for people who can’t afford to live in big cities for 3 or 4 months without pulling in any income.
I can actually go through the program on a part time basis while I am teaching in Korea, and I will be nearly done by the time I return home in September.
That’s All Folks!
Overall, I am impressed by how much I have learned, and I am looking forward to building a lot of cool stuff! If you are interested in making the transition to coding or if you’re a self-taught programmer as well, I would love to hear from you! Drop me a line in the comments below and let’s compare notes.
Thanks for reading and happy coding!