A bit of background about me. I’m from the US, but I live abroad in China teaching English. I came to China because, after graduating with a Liberal Arts degree, I found the opportunities for me in the US were unsatisfactory. I only teach 10-15 hours/week, so I have a lot of free time.
That’s when I started FreeCodeCamp’s front-end certificate on the old curriculum. I was on a tear at this point. The only time I wasn’t thinking about coding was literally while in class. That front-end certificate took about 6 weeks. And that’s about the time when I made a difficult decision to stay in China one more year since I got a job offer from a university to teach their General English course.
In the last year I have used a variety of resources. I learned PHP/SQL at one point in order to become a back-end developer. I only used that for 1 project and then learned React from Codecademy. Once I learned React, I made several projects with it before finally coming back to FreeCodeCamp in February and learning SASS followed by the MERN stack.
In 12 weeks I will move back to the US and need to find a web developer job ASAP. My target cities are Denver, CO, Austin, TX, and Las Vegas, NV.
Projects worked on:
Personal Portfolio Page
Random Quote Machine
Local Weather App
Twitch JSON API
Tic Tac Toe Game
Personal Portfolio, blog-style, no CMS, self-hosted (old version)
Ab Workout Generator (PHP/SQL)
Pathfinder Wildshape Calculator (React)
D&D Party Manager (React)
Cleric Spell Selector (React)
Story Dice (React)
D&D 5E NPC Generator (React)
Personal Portfolio (React/PHP)
Company Website (React/Router)
Pomodoro Clock (React)
Timestamp Microservice (mongoose/mongodb/express/node)
URL Shortener (MERN)
I have no mentor and haven’t found any sort of foreigner coding community here in China. My girlfriend’s dad is a senior programmer and offers me advice occasionally over video-chat, but he’s super busy with his work and he’s in a band. As such, I don’t know what I don’t know, so to speak.
I have moved back to the US from China once before with the intent to start a business. That plan fell-through due to lack of motivation and follow-through. Next thing I knew I was working minimum-wage at a grocery store and teaching ESL on the side in addition to other odd jobs, missing the laid back life I had in China teaching English. I hope going back to the US this time won’t be a repeat of last time.
The only “professional” job I’ve ever had was doing some financial “advising” aka insurance sales. Outside of that, I’ve never had a successful interview for anything that had a college degree as a job requirement (outside of teaching). Even if I have the skills, maybe I will flounder in interviews and be jobless.
What should I work on from here? I plan to do at least a couple more projects in the MERN stack (personal projects) in addition to the last two projects for the back-end certificate. Then what?
How can I learn things like agile methodology, scrums, working with other developers, best practices, etc. and demonstrate that to employers?
I’ve got 12 weeks to get job-ready. And not just job-ready but interview and application ready. When I land in the US, I need to be either employed or have a good enough online presence to score interviews at a consistent clip.
I plan to update this 1/week. In between updates, I’m happy to answer any questions from those that are where I was a year or so ago, and I would appreciate advice and/or encouragement from anyone that’s ahead of me in this journey.