After 2 long years, I have a job

Hey everyone,

After 2 years and 2 months since I started learning web development, I’m delighted to report that I have just accepted my first Frontend Developer role. Some background information about myself, I’m a university dropout who has been working in a gym as a Personal Trainer for the last 10 years (I turned 30 this year). I started learning back in August 2016 and found FCC later that year. Up until July 2017 my time was spent either coding or personal training to pay my bills. Then in July I’m delighted to say my wife and I had our first child. Naturally this meant the time I had to code was now significantly reduced. But don’t get me wrong, I never resented this, it was a conscious decision I made because I wanted to spend time with my son and try to be a good father. I still cracked on though with the time I did have and by the start of this year I had a portfolio that I made in React and was ready to start applying for jobs.

Actually landing a job was the hardest part of this whole journey for me. It took me 10 months, a lot of job applications and 6 interviews from 6 different companies before I was offered this job. And I was completely deluded how long and difficult it would be. I found balancing my time was an issue. Like I alluded to earlier, I was not time rich. I still wanted to continue learning and improving my portfolio but that had to be balanced with applying for jobs. But the hardest aspect is how soul destroying it can be. It gets really hard to keep motivated when you don’t even get a response to most of the jobs you apply for. Then finally you land an interview and you start getting excited about the possibility of finally landing your first job and you get rejected. I had plenty of low moments this year when I would question whether I could achieve this and it was hard to picking myself back up after each set back. Then in September I had an interview with my future manager who is a really nice laid back guy and we talked about my skill set and I showed him my portfolio on my laptop and what future projects I was working on. He then e-mailed me the following day with a small technical challenge - I have done 5 technical tests this year and ironically this was the easiest one I’d been set - that I sent back to him a few days later. Then after a few weeks I was contacted by the company’s recruiter and offered the job :).

I’m still a bit shell shocked to be honest and it still hasn’t fully sunk in that I finally have a dev job. I’d like to thank everyone who’s contributed to FCC. The curriculum is amazing and is better than most paid for learning tools out there (I could not get my head around Redux until I completed FCCs Redux section). The posts from people who have gotten their first jobs has really helped me at times too. And to anyone reading this who is struggling to find their first job, remember that you’re in good company and getting your first job is not easy, it’s hard. But keep going, keep improving, keep applying and eventually it’ll happen.

Takeaways / Tips:

  • Keep applying for jobs until you have accepted a formal job offer. I learned this the hard way. I had gotten through to the third and final stage of an interview process for a job I really wanted. Around the time of the final interview and in waiting for their decision I completely stopped applying for jobs and coding. Then when I got rejected it was really difficult starting again because I had completely lost my momentum and had no positive leads.

  • Every interview is a good learning experience. Interviewing well is a skill that needs practise to hone. There was big difference in how well I interviewed from my first to my last interview. I was a lot~ more relaxed and confident because of the practise I’d had. I also learned a lot about my weaknesses from these interviews. After each one I knew what questions I had answered badly. Afterwards I would come up with better answers or learn more about the topic I was asked so I was better prepared next time.

  • External recruiters are mostly a waste of space, but they can sometimes be useful. Generally my experience with recruiters from external agencies is a negative one. I have been lied to, deceived and they are very time consuming. But they can be useful, however what makes them good is also what makes them bad. The good thing about them is because they’re paid commission for placing someone in a role they will go out of their way to sell you to their client and get you an interview. But this is also what lets them down. Because all they are interested in is filling the role, some have been known for bending the truth about the role like what the pay is etc. And if you fail to provide to be of any use to them, they will drop you like a sack of potatoes and won’t even bother replying to e-mails. Now, I am being a bit unfair because there are some genuinely nice and good recruiters out there. But there are some bad apples. So if you do decide to use them, proceed with caution.

  • Use Adobe XD (it’s free), photoshop or sketch to design your portfolio and apps. It is so much easier using these tools to design the layout of your webpage/app than just figuring it out with CSS. It saves a lot of time and practising taking a webpage layout and converting it to code is a requirement in a lot of Frontend Dev roles I’ve seen.

  • Web design is a skill that can be learned, or least significantly improved. I’m not claiming to be good at web design by any stretch of the imagination. But I’m better at it now than when I started 2 years ago and that was down to practise and learning. FCC and Medium has some great articles to help. I’d also recommend this book. If you suck at web design don’t despair, you can learn to get better.

  • Focus on quality, rather than quantity when applying for jobs. I had more success in getting interviews when I focused on sending applications more tailored to the role than just simply sending in my resume. I would write a cover letter/message and in it I would include a link to my portfolio and point out what technologies I used that were also in the job advert. My feeling is if you don’t make an effort with your application for the role, why would the person at the other end make the effort to consider you seriously.

  • React design patterns and Best Practises. This is an excellent book to help you learn how to structure your React code.

For anyone looking for a job in London check out this company, they have a great 12 week academy for new starters and it’s targeted towards people looking for their first dev job.


Hi @jimbomags congratsss for your new job. I’m so inspired by your story. I’ve started FCC for almost one month now with 386 challenges done. Got some ups and downs as well through the camp, got bored then tried to open the forum and found your story first. and again, your story is really inspiring. Wish I could get into a position like you sooner or at a time.

Once again, congratulation!! :tada:


Thanks @madmedmod. The main reason I wanted to write this post was to help motivate others in the same way others have motivated me over the last two years. Having ups and downs is perfectly normal. Important thing is just to keep going.


Congratulations. What’s the stack with which you will be working? Is your job local or remote?

Congrats!!! Inspiring story. I’m planning to apply from next month for the job thanks for the motivation.

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Thanks. Stack is HTML, CSS/SASS, Javascript, jQuery & Bootstrap I think. I actually had the interview back in September so I can’t exactly remember what it is. And the job is local.


Congratulations, Jimbo! On both your new developer job and on your new child!

Thank you for taking the time to share your story here and reassure the many of us who are still hustling to get our first developer job. I wish you the best of luck with your first few months as a developer - may you learn a ton!

If you’re on Twitter, could you tweet a link to this with the hashtag #DevAfter30? I will add you to my list of people who got their first dev job after 30.


Awesome. I’m 33 years ago. But I learning and doing web development not as you. So I can understand how difficult and how many challenge you have to pass. Just keep your ambition and your hard work. I strongly believe that you will get a good result in the future.

I am really happy for you! Thanks, your feedback is gold, I will try Adobe XD.
You applied on websites? how many resume have you sent? Also, would it be possible to see your portfolio?
Thank you and congrats

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Congrats! In terms of pay/compensations and working with recruiters, did you have to adjust your expectations for entry-level pay? I’m a career changer too and find my having to explain to recruiter that although I have over 10yrs exp. in IT that I’m and willing to adjust my compensations if the right oppty. comes a long as a coder…problem for me is that I feel that some recruiters try to low-ball me. Did you experienced this?

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Can you provide your portfolio site?

Congrats @jimbomags and thanks for sharing your story! :slight_smile:

Congratulations on getting your new job @jimbomags.

You just motivated me with your story.

Thanks for sharing your story with us…

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Thank you.

I used indeed a lot. Plus LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Stack Overflow and I recently signed up with this website. They specifically aim to find jobs for people looking for their first developer role. They have only recently started but I think they have a lot of potential.

I’m not sure how many resumes I sent, but it was at least 50 - 100.

Sure here is the link to my portfolio


Yes I experienced this as well, but only with ones working for external agencies. They do this deliberately to lower your expectations as much as possible. Then if they come to you with an offer paying an average salary, your expectations are so low at this point that you’ll more likely accept rather than push back for more money or turn it down. I’m pretty sure their commission is based on a percentage of the annual salary. Getting you an extra $10,000 a year for example doesn’t really add that much to their commission so they are not incentivised to do so.

My advice would be to play along with what the recruiter recommends in order to get the interview. Then if an offer comes along from a company paying less than you’d like but you really want the job, then you’ll happily accept. But if an offer comes from a company you’re not that keen on, either push back for more money to make it appeal to you or turn it down.

Congratulations and thank you for sharing this. It is very nice to hear your story, for me, someone who is at the beginning of similar path. I myself have started learning HTML, CSS and JS just few months ago and I hope to be successful at finding a job sooner or later. I would like to ask you one thing. Could you write something more about your 4th tip (Adobe XD…) or could you point me to some source on the internet?

First things first:

I wanted to spend time with my son and try to be a good father.

congrats on becoming a father!

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That’s super inspiring! I have just dropped out of college (Business Administration, tried to complete it three times and finally got fed up with it because I discovered web development and it rocks) and am scared out of my wits (like losing-my-sleep scared) of not getting any job because I won’t have a college degree. I also plan to do a lot of freelancing gigs but what I would like to know is the weight that not having a college degree, if any, had in your process. Congratulations on your patience on those two years and persisting on it!

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Hi @jimbomags,

Thanks for sharing. I am on a very similar path and you’re story has been very motivating and just what I needed to get over my current hurdle. Congratulations on the job,kid and the exciting new chapter in your life.

Thanks again.


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Adobe XD is a software tool for designing websites. The reason I recommend it is because it is a lot quicker to design how your website/app will look like on screen compared to tinkering something with CSS as you go along. Then once you are happy with the design, you write the code to match the design you made using Adobe XD. Does that make sense?

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Yes, of course that does make sense, thank you for reply. Unfortunately Adobe XD doesn’t support Win7 which I am currently running.