Most self-taught programming mediums perpetuate this notion that putting in the work to learn the languages and developing a portfolio is enough to (eventually) land you a job. However, that’s (usually) only true in rich, first-world countries; especially in the US, in which job opportunities for this kind of field exist in abundance and where most of those mediums are headquartered.
Take this advice from me, a self-taught 34-year-old Brazilian who has been learning development for years on end, has a Github, portfolio with CRUD project, Linkedin, speaks 3 languages, and everything else needed and yet has never been anywhere near to getting employed: GO TO COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY, ESPECIALLY ONE WITH INTERNSHIPS.
In countries like mine, if you don’t have a higher degree, you won’t even be picked up by HR’s selection algorithm. Even if you are, there is very little chance you’ll be prioritized over someone who has a degree.
You don’t have to go for a full 4 years CS degree, a 2 year one focused solely on Software Development is enough. What matters is getting the degree and making connections(aka networking).
There might be pushback against what I’m trying to convey here so I’m going to take the liberty to anticipate myself by answering some of the most fallacious arguments I have seen in my journey so far:
- “I have (or) know someone who is self-taught and was able to get hired”
People win the lottery all the time, that doesn’t make it a reasonable way to earn money. For every success story, there are thousands of failed ones, and people are much keener to publicly post their successes rather than their failures.
- “You can work as a freelancer”
Good luck competing with literally millions out there to scrape the bottom of the barrel. There’s a reason there are hundreds of those freelance websites lying around and that number is increasing by the minute. It doesn’t take long for them to fall into the “Upwork” vicious cycle of having a 1% of actually well-paid freelancers while the other 99% fights to the death to see who gets that amazing job that pays $1/h.
- “You can get hired by overseas companies”
Overseas job openings almost always require you to have a Work visa, and you can only get a Work visa if the company sponsors you, which is costly. Now, why the hell would an overseas company sponsor a third-worlder junior dev? Spoiler alert: They won’t. They prefer to hire someone locally, which is cheaper and safer.
Even if you find a job that doesn’t require a Work visa, they’ll probably be looking for Senior devs.
- “You gotta build your connections/networking”
Not everyone has that possibility. I live in a remote small village very far away from any meetups nor do I have the financial availability to travel to them.
I do agree though that networking(or more realistically “kissing other people’s butt”) is the key to getting hired, not hard work. The idea of Meritocracy is great, but that’s what it ultimately is, just an idea. In the real world though, things work very differently.