Best way to describe on a resume time spent learning if not working during the same time period

Due to an unexpected physical injury I have not worked in almost 5 years. Silver lining I started learning to code in early 2019 and fell in love with it. I’ve spent almost every single day coding or trying to learn something new. I’m now at the point I think I can physically handle a job.

On my resume for this time period I know I can list the projects I’ve done and link to my portfolio website. But how to describe what I’ve been doing is the question.

Right now I’m calling it “Freelance” on my resume but is there a better description?

Unless you were actually working, lying about working is likely to cause issues. What happens when they ask you about your work in an interview? What happens when an employer asks for references?

You had a physical injury that prevented you working, that would be the sensible thing to say.

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Yeah, don’t lie about working.

A good portfolio will go a long way. And you can explain in a cover letter about your work gap - I would do it indirectly, along the lines of “after being laid up with an injury that prevented me from working, I discovered coding and …” Most places will also ask you about it in the preliminary interview, often with an HR person.