Deppressed Graduate - Need Advice

Hi FreeCodeCamp community,

I’ve graduated in Software Engineering last year in december. I started my degree as an Aerospace Avionics Engineer then changed major because I didn’t like it. My grades slightly suffered, but I still graduated on time with good grades. I did my final year thesis on machine learning with c++.

Only to then realize I can’t get a job and most interviews told me to learn more. I didn’t do so well last year in white board coding stuff. Then I decided to go the web dev path. I didn’t have any prior html/css knowledge, but I had a bit of programming language experience.

So I did a few udemy courses. I learned scope, enclosure etc. Then dived into react, only to realize I didn’t build anything with javascript and those udemy courses weren’t cutting it for me.

However I had to pay bills and responsabilities so I ended up working full time as a debt collector during this period of time.

I’ve decided to go part time for the time being so I can focus on my craft but I don’t know where to start.

Now, about a year later of graduation, I feel stupid and haven’t achieved much. I feel like crap.

Am I out of hope? Am I running out of time after graduation? A few graduate postings in my area want graduates who graduated within the last 1 to 2 years. Am I running out of options?

Do I build a portfolio?
Keep applying for jobs?
Do I just die? (jokes)

I’m made myself start a github account and currently and decided to build a portfolio. I’m doing an udemy course that makes me build a weather webapp based in vanilla JS. I previously went to a job interview with like three stages of the interview. First step was phone screening, second step was pair coding session, third one was a more intense coding session. I didn’t pass the third stage. Was told to learn more and that I was just starting out.

How would I be able to navigate this guys? I am open to suggestions here. Apologies for the long self absorbed post.

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bro, first off, congrats. You have achieved something that I have been trying to achieve for years now (a degree) and let me tell you, I know a lot of stuff.

Look, I think at this point, life is throwing some heavy shit at you. some stuff you don’t know how to handle, etc.
You have achieved so much already, and dude, to tell you the truth, you are fu***** crazy to say that you feel stupid and have not achieved anything, you have no idea of how much you know and how much you can bring to the industry.

I struggled for years. I graduated highschool and didn’t have money to go to college. I knew I wanted to do web development so I started practicing and learning on my own. believe it or not, I was changing oil in cars at the time making minimum wage. There were times that I felt like there was no hope. I was married at the time ( and still am, happily) and was worrying about how I was going to pay for my wife to go to school. better yet, i was worried about how I was going to pay for myself to go to school.

I kept working and I kept trying to learn. I woke up early af before work and would build projects, work through free code camp, and I also had some help from Udemy classes. I seriously had times to where I felt like I should give up and settle for a average everyday person who was married, in thousands of dollars of debt, etc. But no, I wouldnt settle. I wanted to rise above it and become something better.

Also, just to let you know, being depressed is a part of life and you are not alone. I have had many times that I felt like this but I somehow was able to push through it.

Dont give up man, and keep pushing forward and learning all you can. Apply for jobs that pertain to your skill set. It took me so long, so many sleepless nights, so many early morning, so many stresfull times, but now I make more money than anyone in my family has ever made and I am one of the best developers in my town.

keep up the hard work and just DONT GIVE UP.

much love :slight_smile:

if you are having problems knowing whether you should apply for a job or not, let me know. I have a youtube video talking about this as well.


Thank you so much for your response Micheal. I am so glad to hear you’ve made it through! That really makes me smile. I know getting deppressed is part of life. Getting put down is part of life. I just have to push harder and keep going. Your kind words do help.


Am I running out of time after graduation? A few graduate postings in my area want graduates who graduated within the last 1 to 2 years. Am I running out of options?

There’s no time limit so don’t stress yourself out. There are plenty of people that have started way later than you and still had success.

Do I build a portfolio?
Keep applying for jobs?

Both, a portfolio definitely helps with web dev jobs.

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Yeah, it’s a tough and long struggle. You gotta keep at it. It will break your heart 100 times before you land that job, but it will be worth it. Remember, it doesn’t matter how much your fail - all that matters is the one time you succeed.

Before landing a job, I probably sent out over 200 applications. Did about 30 phone interviews. I got deep in for about 10 jobs, and was in the final stages for 3. But all that matters is that I finally got 1 job offer.

If you majored in c++ but now want to do web dev, you need to do some work. Your c++ work is by no means wasted, but isn’t as common of a language in web dev. But you still learned a lot about data structures and algorithms that will help you. And there will be some web dev jobs where c++ will be part of the job. Most programmers do more than one language. Many do several.

Having a github account certainly helps. Try to push something up every day if you can. Some (not all) employers look there for activity. It also shows that you are enthusiastic.

Build, build, build. In a lot of interviews, they were very interesting in what I’d built and and what I’d learned from it. Build and learn. Learn new libraries and use them in new projects. Collect new libraries like baseball cards.

Build up a portfolio. Build a professional looking portfolio site. Keep improving it and adding to it.

Build your resume. Keep adding to it and improving it. Have a copy as pdf, word, and txt - some people want one specific one. Have a generic cover letter, but if the job is a real possibility, custom craft one.

Fail at interviews. I mean it. Interviewing is a skill. The more you do it, the better you get. So plan on failing some. Each interview I did, I learned something. At the end of the interview ask, “What could I do better? What do you think I should be working on?” It shows that you are interested in learning and getting better. A lot of these people love giving out some advice and I learned some good things this way.

Get a list of interview questions and practice answering them. I mean actually out loud. Most people don’t have a lot of practice talking about themselves. Do it over and over so you sound confident (without being cocky) and smooth. This is a really important impression you can make.

Go to meetups. Meet people. Network, network, network. A lot of job possibilities come from people you know. Get a linkedin account. Join job hunt sites. Check them daily.

Research companies. Find ones that you like. Connect with their hiring managers and coders on linkedin. Ask them about their tech stack. Ask them for advice on what to learn. You’d me amazed how many people with offer advice.

Practice algorithms - a lot (not all) employers will judge you by this. Not just solving it but how you think and how you work through it. And what attitude you have when you struggle. Get Cracking the Coding Interview and learn it. Join algorithms sites like Code Wars. They can be a pain, but you do learn things.

In interviews, try to sound like fun. Sometimes at the job I here the phone conferences of other people’s interviews and the conversations afterwards, I’m more and more convinced that this is really important. I’ve actually heard them talk about passing on slightly more qualified candidates because they sounded boring. They went with the slightly less qualified guy that was fun to interview. Remember that they will spend more time with you than they do with their spouses. They don’t want and angry guy or a guy that doesn’t communicate or a guy that has no life.

Thomas Edison failed 1000 times before making a light bulb. When a report asked him about failing 1000 times, he said “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” That’s how you think about the job hunt. Keep trying and failing, but learning and getting better. It’s a learning process.


Glad to know that I’m not the only one who faced this. Society often times feeds us the wrong thing. I really appreciate this sort of advice. I am not really comfortable going out and asking people for this sort of advice. They more often than give me advice about things they haven’t lived through at all or have no idea how to deal with.

I think I just need adopt a more industrius mind set. A not giving up mindset.

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Good god no. This is a very common problem. Check out the “finding a job” section. If you look back far enough you’ll find some of my “why the eff can’t I get a job, what am I doing wrong” posts.

Learn to be that guy. Take chances. Even if you have to fake it at first. Learn to be a fearless and outgoing person. Or learn how to fake it when you need it. Some people do it naturally. Some people (like you and me) have to learn to fake it. It’s a skill, like anything else. But it’s a skill that successful people can pull out of their quiver when they need to.


Finding a job requires skills, luck, and a whole lot of hard work largely apart from your actual programming skills. Unless the luck portion is extraordinarily generous, you need to spend a lot of time and effort studying, practicing, and using techniques for searching for jobs, improving your resume, contacting employers, answering verbal and written language tests, whiteboard coding algorithms (on a timer and with no resources), and interviewing. You may need to reflect on both the types of jobs that you’re applying to and the locations of those jobs and whether those factors make success more or less likely.

There is a skill gap and that does mean that employers are forced to be less strict in their requirements than when hiring for other skilled positions, but hiring and training a developer is extremely expensive and they cannot afford to just give people the benefit of the doubt. Having the right degree and good grades isn’t enough for them to take a risk on you.


I want to second what Ariel said.

From reading your story, you’re doing many right things but it lacks one biggie: Focus.

Focus on learning one thing, build projects, add to your portfolio, go to meetups and connect. Start there. When you have a good amount of one thing, meaning you can help others, build what you need from it, move on to the next. If you keep skipping around you’ll never get past that “you don’t know enough” stage of the job hunt.

A degree does help but it doesn’t end there. You can do this but you need to do the work to get there. They want to see what you can do so be prepared to show them both in whiteboard scenarios and your portfolio.

And yeah it takes time. Time you have to devote to. you aren’t running out of time unless you’re not doing the learning you need to continue to do.

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