A lost soul, any advice is greatly appreciated

Good day fellow campers…

I would like to begin by just saying, Happy New Year!

Okay, so while I may have used other forums before, this is my first post on the FCC forums, and while there are plenty of answers out there online, none particular answer on how to get by each day knowing what to focus on and why?

To give you a little background on myself, I have recently graduated in computer science, and have been employed for the past 7 years in an industry that has little to no relevance to what I have expertise in. I am passionate about technology for as long as I can remember, and am at a point where I can’t solve the question on what to do…

While being employed for the past 7 years, I have worked in asset management, and have picked up on some skills within the field of asset management, as well as logistics, which I have little to no interest in, I have remained employed with my employer due to being able to receive a salary and pursue studies in a field I love which is Computer Science, and upon balancing work, University, and sideline studies of hobbies, I have built this base of personal knowledge in a variety of tools, hardware, development…etc and have absolutely no idea on where to go from here…

I have an interest in android development, and have started learning by means of online courses, books, and projects to improve my capabilities in the field, however, I feel that I am becoming irrelevant as I have no real working experience of what is expected from an actual developer, as I’ve worked so long doing no development on a professional level. So now I sit with working projects that just means I’ve learned another concept, nothing more…

I am trying to bridge that gap of converting my knowledge into income, or some form of efficient learning such that I know what is required of me if I continue to go towards this path of mobile development…

For instance, I can learn Java, then some of android studio, then perhaps Kotlin, and something else, but it all is still exactly as being in University, I am not understanding what else to look at to be relevant as a developer, right now this is just someone who knows how to code in say 10 languages, but what would I do if I were employed as a developer? what else would I need to do? How are projects/tasks given to actual developers? and when they are given a task, do they just code what they think and present that everyday?

I apologize to whoever reads this entire long piece of text, ultimately, I am just trying to figure out what to learn and how, while not yet being employed as a developer such that I do not become too irrelevant while applying and waiting for a job… Every time I see a job listing, I see the entire list of requirements which are different between job listings, and if I just chase after learning what the job requirements are, I feel I would spend a lifetime learning concepts without purpose…

If there is anyone willing to guide a lost soul in terms of development, I highly appreciate your time. I just do not know which direction to move to…

Kind Regards

I’m not sure if anyone here can give you the answer, but let me go over a few things before I say why.

So the best way to gain some experience as a developer working on actual projects… is to build an actual project.

So your actually in an interesting spot, as you have a stable job, but you have the desire to learn new stuff (which you have), but aren’t sure what the next step is in terms of what a “real developer” would be doing. A “real developer” would just go build something for someone and apply all that knowledge. Going back to that stable job of yours you can apply your knowledge of the domain (logistics) your work in to build something for work. Not only should you know where technology can improve your work, you also have skills and a desire to learn more and build. One of the advantages of getting into technology is it can be applied to almost anything.

So building something for work would be a good “test” to see how much you know, or don’t know, or at least a starting point to learn more things.


Build something for work, to solve a problem you see at work, and do it in your off time. The goal being to leverage your existing experience between tech and your current job. You should try to “stay as hands off” from your work as much as possible, so you can’t say connect to production databases as an example, but I’m sure you can think of something.

If you can’t think of anything, maybe ask your co-workers for ideas of what you can build. Its mostly a win-win scenario as you get to learn and learn how to build stuff for a client, with basically 0 risk for your work. If it works out, then work gets a free app to help solve a problem.

Regardless you will learn something that is relevant to what you want to do (build stuff) so even if the project crashes and burns, you still learn something :slight_smile:

The simplest explanation of what a developer’s job description would be “solving problems using software”.

These problems could be from end user’s, or from companies. If your writing code that solves no problems, and just does “cool stuff”, your are coding, but I’m not sure if your developing software for people to use. Its worth mentioning these sorts of terms are interchangeable. Regardless, you want to be able to leverage all that knowledge you have for development, to build stuff to solve a problem.


Most requirements are part of a general “skill-set” employers seek for an individual who will do their job adequately. This job could be to build software for the company, or even build software that the company will “sell” to end users. If you can tick all the boxes for a job application you have a much better chance than if you only cover some. I usually say set the bar at what they are asking for, as if you can “clear the bar”, then you have the best chance of getting the job.


So going back to what I said at the top of this post, no one here has the answer. This is because your the only one that gets to answer it of what you will do. We can offer advice on what you could do (like build something for work), but the really there isn’t a 100% correct “answer” to your question. Its up to you to.

Good luck, keep building, keep learning!

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Hi Brad, thank you for your reply, there’s something you’ve said that has given me so mucg of clarity in a lot of aspects, whereby you’ve said “solving problems using software” Brilliant!..

In terms of building projects, so I have worked on a project that’s work related, and even though I would not be able to make any sort of income from it, I have built a solution to a problem… So a little more background, I am employed by the Defence Force(DOD), whereby I have been placed in a situation where I am responsible for electronic stock verification, since the DOD has such a large amount of assets, in order for various units within to do an annual stock take, an electronic system has been implemented by means of barcode scanning devices working on the windows mobile platform, and the external service provider has built software to work on these scanning devices in order to perform tasks such as comparing an asset registers serial number to that of the barcode…etc Now the issue here is that Microsoft has stopped support of Windows Mobile devices, as well as these scanners cannot connect to a computer with a desktop operating system newer than that of windows 7… So as being the person responsible for support on this system, I took it upon myself to recreate the entire system on a desktop machine at first, whereby it would use an actual inexpensive barcode scanner as an input device, such that I could practice python, and use python’s data handling features to simplify the entire process, as well as allow for my program to read in the current asset register data that the current system utilizes, such that if they were to ever implement my solution, it could work with minimal changes to the input dataset… All worked well, and upon gaining an interest in android development, I have rebuilt the software to work on android, with eliminating the need of a barcode scanner, as I have read up on the ML KIT, and have used the built in camera of the android device to perform barcode scanning, which then tests the scanned result against that of the loaded dataset, and all works super well…

Now while I may have solved a major issue for the DOD, due to me not being the service provider for this, there is no way to actually implement my solution, nor to deploy it as there are a lot of politics involved, and believe me, I have approached both the service provider and the DOD relevant members to try and get this out there as my solution is more efficient, cost effective, and current in terms of technology…

Now with this in mind, I have worked on various development platforms from the year 2008, whereby I had been in school, and had been developing on the Borland Delphi platform… I have learned C++, C#, Some front-end, some Drupal, some Opencart, done the FCC course on Responsive web design as a refresher…etc and have been learning ever since… The only issue I seem to constantly come across is that after learning these concepts, without actual use for it, these skills lay dormant for long enough to forget it…

Like right now, android and Java is fresh in my mind due to the interest I’ve had in learning, and actually creating a solution, and if I have direction on how to move forward with it, I could maybe develop more and actually be a developer. But if I don’t find some break out of my loop, It will be something I done years ago, with no growth…

I love learning, besides Coding, I have interacted with electronics, and vehicles, whereby I have created personal solutions to diagnose my vehicle as the dealers would by means of reworking the electronic components in the diagnostic hardware, and allowing for it to work optimally with the software in order to give me stable results in diagnosing my vehicle… The purpose of me stating this is to give you an idea of the person I am, whereby I come across a problem I face, and work tirelessly until I have some sort of a solution that I can build… Whether it be software related, or hardware related, the thing I’m just trying to figure out mainly is my approach, I question it due to my current set of circumstances, and have decided to approach this forum for example to get a better idea of how to restructure myself in terms of working, such that I could become a developer and be surrounded by like minded individuals that can allow for me to grow in the area I am passionate about… And your response is exactly the kind of responses I am desperate to attain…

Nevertheless, I am so glad I decided to post a message here, as your very response gives me a slight direction. Thank you!

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After reading your long explanation of a single project you did for your work, and how its more efficient, cost effective and just over all better than their current system, how are you not a developer exactly?

Yes your project isn’t being used by your work, but that’s politics (like actual politics, not office politics lol) at play which is something you can get into, or just leave what you built to those with power and let them deal with it.

If you feel like you “aren’t an actual developer” I’d say stop, because that single project is very much “developer material”. You took a real world problem, and made a solution, with minimal guidance or help. That is development.

You can easily advertise and show off that project, just make sure your work understands its your project, not theirs. Assuming you didn’t get into any legal position with who owns the code, you should be able to show it off, at least at a surface level. It would really suck if your work doesn’t use your code, but then doesn’t let you “show if off”.

From there you can apply to any number of jobs that have similar requirements right now. Never mind “growing” or “learning more so I’m ready”, or “which approach should I take”. At this point, I’d say apply apply apply and see what you get get yourself into.

Once you start applying it becomes less about your skills, and more about how you sell your skills and apply your experience to a give job. This still means you will see rejections, maybe a lot of rejections, but that’s normal. Just get feedback to your rejections if you can, update your resume from your feedback and apply again.

At a certain point you have to make the jump, and start going into what you want, rather than just sticking with what you got. It sounds like your already checking a lot of the “developer job” boxes and then some, with the main thing being you have projects you have built to show off, and have the experience to go into.

Good luck, go apply, keep learning, and keep applying!

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You don’t even understand how much this actually means to me…

Like if I speak to the people around me who have no understanding of development, even if they attempt to shed some thought on the topic, it’s generally irrelevant as their opinion isn’t based on knowledge of the industry… and coming from a fellow developer, to say what you’ve just said, all I can say is thank you! Like there is no way to express my gratitude enough, It is really what I needed to ‘hear’, and with that in mind, I know that regardless of the path I choose in topics to study, or the effort I put towards attaining work, its a voice of comfort stating that I’m headed in the right direction, and that is all I ultimately needed from someone who actually understands the industry…

I look forward to sucking up all the valuable information I can from every source possible, and growing my skills, capabilities, and overall knowledge, and look forward to interacting with this amazing community more…

I have been studying random languages, areas, and topics these past couple of weeks because I had this underlying uncertainty, and now if a fellow developer can say what I’ve been trying in this self created environment is development, I can just say, I’m grateful, for the time taken to give me peace of mind, and clearing my personal doubts created.

I wish you all of the best for the new year, and look forward to possible future interactions!

Thank you again!

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