32 y.o, factory job is crippling me mentally. Looking for a bit of guidance. (And encouragement)

Hey everyone. I have been working in a manufacturing plant for 12 years. It was great money at the time, and allowed me to buy my first house at 20 years old. A decade of telling myself I would finish my degree and get an actual career, and failing to do so, has left me in this hole that feels inescapable at the moment.

I have taken several runs at becoming a dev in a professional capacity. But like most things so far, I’ve not followed through. A friend I used to know had a startup that he hired me onto as a subcontractor to help me learn, and make some extra money.

We developed a mobile game for a medical company that was used for keeping children calm when they were having a specific procedure done. It was done in Unity, and it actually turned out pretty nice. But I ended up handling most of the asset creation more than the code.

After that was done, I actually came up with the concept for a feature-rich tournament organization app for Magic: the Gathering events. I wrote a lot of the player stat tracking code, SMS alerts for when rounds start, and our player rating system.

Wizards of the Coast ended up not liking any of this, and sent us a pile of legal threats as they apparently only want organizers to use their own buggy software for this.

Anyways, sorry for the wall of text. I just wanted to lay out a bit where I am.

I’m getting to the point where even thinking about going to my current job gives me a mild panic attack. I would just like any nudge in the correct direction to become employable by a dev team. I am not picky at all at this point.

I am able to learn, I’m competent at finding what I need by googling, and I have a decent amount of experience with html/css, jS, jquery, and python.

I just want to know what the general steps are that I should take, in order to be considered by SOME company within a few months. (If this is even reasonable)

Thank you if you’ve read all of this.

Well, I’d say you have to decide what you want to do. We focus mainly on web dev here, but all are welcome. If you’re interested in web dev, I’d checkout the FCC curriculum.

But again, what are you going to be? Web? Games? You mentioned Unity - do you do C#?

Is it reasonable “to be considered by SOME company within a few months”? I wouldn’t call it impossible, just improbable. You are competing against people with degrees and/or fat portfolios. You have neither.

So, if you don’t/won’t have a degree, you need a fat portfolio. Start building things and learning. Then switch it up to learning and building things.

But a few months? I think a year would be optimistic. Two years would be getting towards conservative. But that ignores a lot of factors: aptitude, the job market where you live, how much time you can put in, how well you interview, luck… It’s impossible to predict. Some people pull it off in 3 months. Some it takes 3 years.

I enjoy web dev more than backend or games. UI/UX is the most enjoyable to me.

I have a small portfolio at the moment. I will start by improving that right away. I already have a decent working knowledge of React. (And polymer, but that’s pretty useless now it seems)

Are there any specific projects that would be more beneficial to showcase in a portfolio? Or just build whatever comes to mind, and include it?

Again, I would recommend going through the FCC materials. You can skip over things that are very familiar, but all in all, it gives you a pretty rounded basic knowledge of a MERN stack.

As far as projects, just build stuff. Come up with an idea and build it. Don’t worry if it’s not original or clever - this is to show that you can code, not that you’re a trendsetting visionary - they have other people to come up with grand ideas.

Pick a tech stack. Learn it off by heart. Find a bunch of open source projects to contribute towards. This will count as you portfolio.

You can get a job in development very easily. If you live in the states, it’s a painful process to be employed full stop. All those questions they ask you about your right to work, your security checks for every little thing. In the UK - you just get a CV put together and then by hook or by crook - you start to fill it. Volunteer, work poorly paid jobs. Whatever it takes to get to where you want to be.

However it sounds like you are talking about a GAMES developer - when you talked about the Magic The Gathering stuff. Listen - everyone has written a Roguealike, a card game and a platformer. Forget the games industry unless you start your own company. It’s an exploitative industry that milks young talented geniuses by having them work under incredibly tight deadlines and pays them a decent salary for their age - but then fires everyone once the title has been released.

Look on job boards. Find out what the tech stack is that is most in demand in your area. Learn that. Learn to study what people want not what you want.

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