Best steps? New to this platform

Hello, everyone, a little background on me before I pose my question:

I’m currently working in retail, (pharmacy) for 8 years. I completed an Associates in Simulation and Game Design a few years back, online, but really didn’t feel like I had a great understanding of programming and the curriculum was a pretty light foundation of coding, modeling, animation, and business models. I didn’t really feel like I knew enough to pursue a job in any one specific category. I did go back occasionally and work on the 3d modeling a bit after my degree but never touched programming. (And then a botched Windows 10 update erased 3ds Max from my comp. :cry: )

In anycase, I knew I wanted to get out of what I’m doing now already had quite a large sum of debt with only a relatively useless Associate Degree in terms of education but pursuing a four year university wasn’t really an option, financially. I saw an add for a coding bootcamp and took the plunge, despite the additional debt because I thought it would be a better investment.

I completed my bootcamp in June of 2019 and have been on the job search since. Before Covid I wasn’t getting an extremely high amount of responses but I WAS getting a few here and there. I’ve had one in-person interview at a small start-up, a handful of phone screenings with recruiters and hr, a number of pre-screening coding challenges that I never hear back on (project-based and some hackerrank algorithm-specific challenges), and one codeshare.

Since the start of Covid I think I’ve had maybe 3 phone screenings and an occasional auto-generated assessment but 99% of the time I either don’t hear back or get an automated rejection a week - a few weeks later.

I know many bootcamp grads, (not just from Trilogy), that have been struggling pretty hard as well. 2 specifically from my class that are still on the search. I think my class had about a 30% placement rate and probably 70% of those were people that already had connections in the industry or related experience.

Over the past year I’ve bounced back and forth between doing heavy applying and attempting to network (which can be pretty challenging when you’ve never had to do it before and naturally have social anxiety), working on projects here and there, and fixated on learning or following along with Udemy courses.

I’ve mentioned the length of time I’ve been searching to alumni in the past and their first question is, “Well what have you learned in the past year?”

Truthfully, I’ve worked a bit on learning Angular for a collaborative side project, implemented smaller things like Nodemailer/Passport Auth, redesigned a website with Gatsby for a local business (that despite looking infinitely better I’m still nervous to actually reach out to the business owners about), redone my portfolio a couple times, made small contributions to alumni projects here and there, and made a few smaller non-deployed apps following along with Udemy instructors. I haven’t made leaps and bounds or deployed large production apps.

I haven’t practiced with data structures/algorithms because I was always telling myself that, because I never actually get that far in the application process, I needed to focus on learning things that I see in job descriptions to increase my chances of getting to that part of the process first.

I’ve just been bouncing back and forth, in between bouts of pretty heavy depression from the process itself.

Ultimately, I guess I’m just wondering what the best step is at this point. I have a portfolio, and my github commits look more like dangling christmas lights than a football field which probably isn’t ideal, but it just doesn’t feel like anything is ever enough. I look around at advice online, or via LinkedIn, and people suggest blogging, starting a youtube channel, building projects, learning a new language, practicing algorithms/data structures, contributing to open source. It feels like this ever-expanding list of things that you have to do, just to stand out. If I learn this, this, and this, just MAYBE I’ll get further than I am now. But how much of each do I need to learn? What is expected of me when applying for even an entry level position? As it stands now, the majority of auto-rejections I get are specifically for entry level/jr positions.

I’ve also always been pretty lacking in confidence. The site I redesigned for the local business for example, I know it looks better but I’m too nervous to even offer it up to the owner FOR FREE because for some reason I’m just worried they’re going to think it’s tacky or just not like it. (It’s not great, mind you, but their current site is pretty flat. They mostly use Facebook anyway.)

I used to paint and design promotional material for upcoming films at a movie theater I worked at and had people wanting to buy some of the things I made or asking me to paint murals in their home, but I was always too conscientious to pursue it. It just felt wrong for some reason. I don’t know how to get past that.

It’s just been a mess (kind of like this post :laughing: ). I’m going on 31 and it just feels like it’s too late to turn things around. It feels like nothing I ever do will be enough and it feels like I’m just not cut out for this and everyone sees it but me.

My current plan right now is just to give up on the job search entirely and focus on learning and building better portfolio projects. I’m not sure if my applications are even getting to the state that someone is looking at my github or my portfolio, but it at least gives me practice and something more to talk about if I ever work up the courage to attempt networking events again or make it to an actual interview. I know I’m capable and I did pretty well in my bootcamp, even if the curriculum was pretty light, I just feel like I’ve lost all passion and focus from how draining this process has been and the stage of my life that I’m at.

I’ll post a link to my portfolio here, though I’ll probably redo it as I start to build more projects. From a ux perspective it’s probably not the best as there is no scroll indicator. (But ironically I’m not that great at design.)

I’ll gladly take any portfolio tips you might have. In terms of design, what to show, what not to show. I’ve seen some pretty creative ones here already, including one that looked like it was using a material tree view with a ReadMe style project overview. (Nifty.)

And just advice in general. I know this was a bit of a long one but I appreciate gaining other perspectives as it feels like I’m my own worst enemy most of the time.

For some reason, the images took a while to load. Maybe try compressing it?
Edit: Never mind, I refreshed it and it loaded faster the second time.

But the images are really big, adding up to 12MB.


By resizing and compressing them, you wouldn’t lose visible quality, but I think like 80-90% better site performance.