Another FCC Success Story

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 return and 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.


You got a job in AWS after spending two years at FCC? Great! I would like to know what and how many projects you chose to build and what were the technologies (or anything else you worth sharing) you worked on that increased the chances of getting offers from those companies you mentioned?

I absolutely loved reading this!!! I would love the opportunity to meet Quincy and tell him how much FCC means to me (I mean, he knows but…still jelly you got to meet him hah!) and random question!!! Where in Korea did you live (I used to live in Wonju…I miss it there so much!)

Okay, back to the really awesome stuff, that is so inspiring how you didnt give up and have been working at AWS the past couple years. I started on FCC 2 years ago, and just now on the cusp of my dream job (fingers crossed!) so I sort of feel like Im looking into my possible future through you… Thanks for sharing your path and where you are now :smile:

I think that may be underselling his hard work at the bootcamp, on algorithm and data structures, and resume writing a bit.

FCC is his entryway like many of us, but it’s important to note that people worked hard beyond the FCC curriculum to increase their chance of success.


Greetings from a Korean, congratulations :slight_smile:

Just like psychometry said, FCC was just one resource of many that put me on the path to professional software engineering.

With regard to technologies to use and projects done to increase your chances, it doesn’t matter what specific projects you do… only that you do some something. I decided having some open source contributions would help my chances so I found a super easy bug to fix and submitted a CR (it was fixing a string). But that didn’t matter. From that point forward, I could say I contributed to open source software.

When I interview candidates at my job now, I don’t care if they solve their coding problems in Python or JS or Java. I just care that they can solve problems. It’s fine if they’ve never worked in React… just as long as they’ve learned and successfully used a different framework or library before.

The most important thing to know is web domain knowledge (How does browser security work? What happens when I type an address into my browser’s url bar and hit enter? What are some ways to hide an element with CSS and how are they different? How does a browser build the page from HTML, CSS and JS?) and vanilla JS.


I was in Busan. Quincy was super nice. It’s amazing what he’s created.


Your story is an inspiration for me. I just started in FCC and I am learning from other places too. I am a graphic designer that hopes to be able to get a job as a front end dev in the future (I don’t know, maybe in 4 or 5 years).

I spend my day between my work and trying to learn the first steps on HTML5. It can be hard, but reading your story made me think that it is possible.

Anyway, congratulations again and thanks for sharing your story.

PS: sorry if I wrote something wrong. English is not my language and as coding, is something that I try to teach myself.

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Congrats on your success! I’m in a similar boat. I’ve been teaching English in Asia for going on 7 years (5 years in China, then 2 in Korea)

I’m married now and am planning to relocate back to the USA with my wife. Naturally, having taught English overseas for so long, I am left wondering where I would fit in the American job market. After looking into the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s report about which job markets will be growing the most over the next few years, I was naturally led to web development.

I actually started with FCC in October 2016 under the old format, and I’m still working through it. I’ve completed the first three sectiosn and am now working my way through the React/Redux portion. Along the way, I’ve also gone through a handful of Udemy course, including the popular Colt Steele Web Developer Bootcamp course, some courses by other popular course creators like Brad Traversy and Andrew Mead.

I started out with essentially zero knowledge about development to what feels like… not quite zero, but not so good to make me feel job ready quite yet. I’m still considering signing up for an in-person bootcamp, but a few things really make me hesitant to do so, mainly due to the cost. Many of the top bootcamps cost $16k or more. And that’s not including living expenses! Ouch.

Anyway, glad to hear you succeeded in your web development journey. It gives me hope!

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