Hey all -
I just participated in the hackathon in San Francisco and had the opportunity to tell Quincy how FCC changed my life. He urged me to post my story here… so here I am.
I started with FCC about 4 years ago in the early days of the site. I was living in Korea, teaching English and playing jazz every night in a hotel. I loved my life but when my daughter was born, it was clear that I needed to go back home (to the US) and get a proper job.
But I had been living in Asia for the better part of a decade and I had no skills… no resume… no network. I found FCC and started bumbling my way through the program for fun. When I first started, it never occurred to me that I could actually be a bona fide software engineer. I remember feeling totally lost All. The. Time. But whenever I had spare time, I’d be hacking away. I loved how FCC didn’t hold my hand too much. I was allowed to fail.
My parents offered to help my family get on our feet if we moved back to the US so we decided to jump on the opportunity. Luckily, they had recently moved to the SF bay area and had a spare bedroom. So I took the opportunity to try and enroll in an in-person bootcamp. At this point, I was still in Korea and didn’t know the difference between a
console.log(). I interviewed at my #1 choice and was rejected. But I kept plugging away at FCC projects and practicing CodeWars problems. The second time I interviewed, I got in.
At this point, FCC and I drifted apart. There wasn’t enough time to be engaged with both programs. In my bootcamp cohort, I was definitely a middle-of-the-pack student… neither the best nor the worst. After I graduated, I was honored to be offered a fellowship and help mentor students coming up behind me.
When that was finished, I spent every day studying algorithms and data structures during the day while pumping out resumes to CTOs at night… over 120 when all was said and done. All but a handful didn’t bother to reply. Recruiters and hiring managers could see I was green a mile off.
From all my resume submissions, I ended up with 5 onsite interviews. Even though I performed well, two hiring managers rejected me for my lack of experience. I received three offers, two from large companies and one from a Silicon Valley startup. I’ll celebrate my 2 year anniversary at AWS in a few months.
There were so many chances for me to give up throughout my journey. And the struggle hasn’t really let up. I’m challenged every day and I love it. Imposter Syndrome is real… and it can be crippling sometimes.
FCC - the program AND the community - was a crucial element to my success thus far. For folks who are just starting out… or grinding through a soul crushing job hunt… or dealing with a ridiculous bug in their personal project: You can muscle through it. The great thing about this work is that there will always be a challenge. Rising to the occasion is thrilling. Sometimes you might fail… but there will always be another chance to succeed.