Blown away by online coding tests

I graduate in 2.5 months with an A.A.S. in software development. I plan to start into a bachelor’s program in the fall, but I was hoping to get some sort of entry-level coding job after the associate’s degree just to get experience under my belt. I decided to test my merits and Googled online coding tests. I tried two. To be unabashedly frank, I had no clue how to go about solving half the questions. Some of them I didn’t even recognize. I’ve earned A’s and B’s in all my coding classes, got great remarks on programming projects, etc… but now I’m starting to wonder if I even know what I’m doing. Did I just waste two years of my life and put myself thousands in debt for something I can’t do? I’m feeling really discouraged here, and wondering if I should even waste my time going into a bachelor’s program.

Is this common? Or should I jump ship now while I’m only waist deep in student debt, before I take on the astronomical tuition of a 4 year school?

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Unfortunately, that feeling will persist throughout your career unless you pidgeonhole yourself in a very narrow field. Tech changes so fast now that all professionals have to dedicate a certain amount of time to learning outside of work if they want to keep themselves marketable. As far as formal education in development is concerned, I would bet that by the time a curriculum gets formed around using a certain technology and people start taking classes based on that curriculum, things surrounding that tech will have changed significantly. However, the fundamental principles of development change more slowly, so pick the tech you want to work with, keep up with the changes, and bang away at building portfolio projects until you can look at your own portfolio and go, “Yeah, that’s alright.”
Fresh out of school with little practical experience makes it hard to get a job unless you apply to only massive companies that can afford to interview lots of college grads and select out the most “trainable”.


This is really solid advice. +1
@arronp A degree, especially a bachelors or higher is your goal, not necessarily for programming, but being selected if it comes down between you and some other person that doesn’t have one. Places view a degree as having “some” experience. Programmers/Developers skills are being able to learn as things change, and solve problems, this will come with practice. A degree, even if you change fields, can make the difference between a blue collar and white collar job. If you quit now, you’ll still be in debt, the only way out is to push through.


Man, this sounds like a normal situation. You are novice and its OK to feel overwhelmed, to have imposter syndrome and what not. You are not wasting anything, its all part of the journey. I can make my web pages work, look nice and appealing, but my code looks terrible. I can understand parts of JS but with each day that im learning it, i realize how much i dont know JS. And its ok by me. I will get to the point where i can use it with knowledge, not with this “i suppose it will work” method. I suck hard at algorhytms. I get frustrated at JS challenges at FCC. I have questions about myself, about my knowledge and doubts if i am right person for this field. It is ok to have these thoughts. Only thing that matters:no quitting. You can make it in this industry, just stick with it and be patient. Get out of comfort zone as much as possible and it will pay off. I hope this helps.

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Thanks, everyone. That genuinely makes me feel better. IMO part of what makes this process so difficult is it’s almost impossible to gauge progress in terms of markers (you should be at X level by Y time) outside of an academic environment.

I’ve been watching the local job market very closely and it doesn’t seem too friendly toward new grads of any degree. Nearly all want (at minimum) 2 years on-the-job experience. I’m what the statistics refer to as a ‘non-traditional’ student. I’m well beyond 20-something and don’t live at home, so I can’t afford to take a part-time internship or gamble with quitting my job for a full-time internship if there’s even a chance I could be unemployed after the term has ended. It’s a catch-22… can’t get the job without experience, can’t get experience without the job.

Any additional words of wisdom for someone needing to get some resume building experience that won’t leave them rolling the dice in terms of paying rent?

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Start building your portfolio. Finish some static web sites for you, maybe your family or friends.Build some apps that involve some databases, authentication, following good coding practice. I am on somewhat same way, or i will be soon…:slight_smile:
I plan to finish my portfolio site where i can show my progress and i will develop static site for my brother and his business . I have an idea about web app that i will finish once when i get good enough with JS. I plan to really get to know JS, front and back side. Building back side with NodeJS(Express) should give me sense of what is it like on the back end.It should be enough exp to apply for jobs. Its all practice.

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sounds about right.

you’re looking for an intro job after college. focus on learning the basics in terms of getting a UI and backends set up to work together.

no one is going to expect you to know what people working in trenches for big companies would know with 5-10 years of experience.

when you’re out of college, have a portfolio and you will get a role in a company that will allow you to get your start. just make sure you’re prepared for the chance when it comes.