Feeling anxiety about job search

Long story short: I did some self-study while working full time as an ESL teacher overseas, thought I knew more than I did, came back to the US after my teaching contract ended, and opted to self-study until I found a job. In the four months I’ve been back, I’ve done CS50, a few Udemy tutorials, and a Chingu cohort (Chingu being an organization that matches developers for collaborative projects). The Chingu cohort was a bust as both of my teammates flaked on me, so the final result of the project is just my first React app, so nothing special. In terms of getting a job, right now I feel “so close yet so far” in the sense that I’ve learned a lot of web development, but not nearly as much as I perceive I need to. I’ve read bootcamp success stories online and I feel a sense of regret for not having signed up for one four months ago when I got back stateside.

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my portfolio page, but I’ll link a few of my recent projects down below. Am I overreacting, and in a better position for finding a job than I think I am? Or are my nerves right, should I abandon self-study and enroll in a bootcamp? I’d really appreciate your thoughts.

Calculator (JQuery, Sass): https://signiorgratiano.github.io/calculator/
Trello front-end clone (React, Redux, Sass): https://signiorgratiano.github.io/v11-geckos-team-03/
Searchable map with Mapbox API (JQuery): https://github.com/SigniorGratiano/chingu-prework-map
Blender Bottle landing page (Bootstrap): https://signiorgratiano.github.io/blender-bottle/

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Have you tried to apply to any position? As soon as you have accumulated a handful of projects under your belt, the quickest way to get feedback is to start applying imo. Maybe don’t start with your ‘dream company’ (in case if you have one), but what’s the worst that could happen? You get rejected, sure, but you also gain experience in job searching process (and hopefully in all sorts of interviews as well).
And this is just my opinion, others might disagree; but if you aim to be a frontend dev, maybe try to show off more of your CSS/Sass skills? I’m talking about the product landing page that you made with Bootstrap. Don’t get me wrong, Bootstrap is awesome and I use it at work everyday; I just think that demonstrating your ability to make things look sleek and responsive without Bootstrap can potentially make your work more interesting and different.

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I haven’t applied to any position yet. My worry is that I’ll spend a few months applying to positions, realize I should have done a bootcamp, and then kick myself for having wasted so much time. That’s why I’m wondering if I should just apply for a bootcamp now.

I am in a very similar situation to yours. (ESL teacher back in the states now trying to self-teach and also thinking about bootcamps.)

I’m not as far along with my learning as you are, and even though I’m studying as hard as I can, I think it will take a long time for me to be ready to apply for jobs. I don’t want to spend that long not working. I could go back to my teaching job abroad, but there was just so little free time that I could use to work on programming on the side. I wouldn’t make any progress that way.

My main concern with bootcamps is the money, since some are very expensive. And if I don’t get a job, I’d feel that it was a waste. Also if they’re a short program, I don’t know how much they are worth it. I’m doubtful if one can learn enough in such a short amount of time. I’m just skeptical in general of them, but you’re right, there are many success stories online.

Are you considering any specific bootcamp? I think you should find one that fits for you so that you can compare self study to a specific program instead of just the concept of a “hypothetical program that would make me 100% employable”. If you can’t find a bootcamp that works money/time/skills-wise, then self study is your answer.

Also, if you start applying for jobs you don’t have to stop improving and studying. That way if you don’t get anything for a while it won’t have been a waste of time like you said. You will have still improved.

I was thinking Hack Reactor or devCodeCamp. The former is my first choice. The latter has stellar reviews but they start from the very basics, and I don’t know if I want my time and money going toward relearning HTML, CSS, and Javascript bascis. I’m worried I’d be bored for the first week or two. Both of those are 12-week bootcamps, which I like since I’m trying to minimize the amount of time I’m living with my parents.

Interestingly enough, I’ve just found a couple videos from an Uber software engineer who did Hack Reactor and recommends against it.

Yeah, I definitely wouldn’t want to waste my time with the basics at a bootcamp.

I like his advice that though bootcamps can help, being able to teach yourself is an invaluable skill. You’ve already done most of the work yourself. I don’t know if you’d get much out of a bootcamp.

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Bootcamps don’t give the whole truth.

Here is a Medium article from a former IBM developer who has created different bootcamps and learning plaftforms. He struggled between choosing to “make money” and “help students actually retain information.”

I was torn between wanting a fast bootcamp experience or learning slowly on my own. This revealed a lot to me.

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Everyone is anxious in the beginning. Just go, just do it and you’ll gain confidence.

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