Career success after Learning through FCC

I want to tell my coding career story here in hopes that transparency will help motivate others who are working towards a better career. I started learning to code on FCC in January of 2018. It was part of my new year goals. I started going through the front-end curriculum. I was working as a pharmacy tech and worked 40 hr/week and was making anywhere from $58k-62k/year doing that. I live in Salt Lake City UT and that seemed like a decent income there. I started dating my wife in 2018 and started snowboarding that year too so I didn’t spend a ton of time each week to learning to code probably less than 10 hours per week.
In Feb of 2019 I got laid off from my pharmacy tech job. I knew that if I wanted to get another pharmacy tech job I’d only get $30k/year. I felt pretty confident in my coding abilities and started applying seriously to tech jobs so that I could make basically as much or more than what I was making in my job that laid me off.
I started applying to more jobs per week and after about 2 months of searching I was desperate to get a coding job. I found a position at a University about 40 minutes south of where I was living and they would pay me $17/hr for 28 hours/week. I would meet with Professors and help spruce up their websites. It was a custom cms app and I only touched html and css. I wouldn’t get health insurance or benefits but I would get employee benefits like one university class for free per semester after my six month mark. I didn’t hit my 6 month mark. I ended up working there for 3 weeks. The weekly pay was a little bit better than my unemployment checks.
I kept looking for jobs that were full time and that would have benefits. I used a recruiter to find a job at a small startup that was nearby. The job would be doing Python development for a healthcare search application. I had worked with Python before but wasn’t an expert. The recruiter suggested I ask for $50k as a yearly salary to start out. I studied Python and did well in the face to face interview. They offered me a job and I took it because it was much better than the money I was making at the University web development job. I worked there for 1.5 years and by the time I left I had negotiated a salary of $60500/year. They completely covered my family’s health and dental insurance which was nice.
I felt underpaid and knew I could get better pay at different jobs so when the time came to take paternity leave for my first child’s birth, I was applying to many jobs. My child was born in December and I was on the hunt. I tried to track down how many application and interviews I had. It looks like I had applied to 88 companies and did 17 interviews. I went with shotgun my resume out there to as many places as possible and didn’t spend much time tailoring it to the jobs I was applying to. I knew what I liked to work with and the experience gave me a feel for what I wanted to work with. I ended up getting a job offer for $90k base salary with a $9k bonus. I pretty good raise from just having 1 year and 7 months of professional coding experience.
My previous employer also asked me to contract for them around 10-20 hours per week. I now work for them at $75/hr so this year looks like it’ll be my first year earning a six figure income and I couldn’t have done it without FreeCodeCamp. I wanted to share this with you guys so you know that making real money is attainable with being self taught (I didn’t teach myself, FreeCodeCamp did but most people use this term). I don’t think I’m that remarkable and I wanted to thank the community here at FCC and say to all those who are working towards their first job, it’s the hardest one to get and after that they seem to be easier to pick up.
Thank you and have a wonderful day.


Congratulations! I’m glad that we could be part of your journey. I hope you’ll stick around and share the benefits of your experience.

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@dmoneyballer that is freakin AWESOME!! congratulations and thanks for sharing… you honestly make me feel like I should go back to job hunting again…

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Congrats, great to hear.

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Hey Drew,

congrats, well done! :clap:

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I don’t think job hunting could hurt at all it’s got a lot of upside though.

Congrats! Very inspirational.

In hindsight, what would you recommend to focus on, and maybe in which order, when just starting learning coding?

I think you focus on one thing instead of trying to learn a little of everything. I first started learning JavaScript Html and CSS but never really used them too much professionally. I do a lot more Python and Bash scripting currently. Once you have learned something, then you can know if you like it or not. Your interests will develop as you learn more and more about coding/tech. Once you know one programming language well, you kinda see the concepts better and they transfer to other languages more easily.

Congratulations Man!
That’s so inspiring
I hope that everyone achieve their dreams

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