From Zero to Software Engineer at Google using freeCodeCamp

Hi everyone!

This is a story of how I went from knowing practically nothing about software development to working as a software engineer at Google - and it all started with Free Code Camp.

This journey wasn’t easy. I chose to switch careers - from non-profit communications to software development - in my early 30s. This change came as my wife and I were starting our family. Not ideal, and at times very stressful!

This was an intense transition, with lots of ups and downs, and plenty of self-doubt along the way. Yet I am so glad that I have chosen this path. I am so thankful that I am now doing work that brings me such a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

I started learning JavaScript via Free Code Camp in January of 2016, and it took me about a year before I landed my first job. From that beginning, I worked in several different roles before I joined Google at the end of 2019. It was a hard journey, with lots of stumbles and learning experiences along the way. But somehow, I made it.

butwhy

What inspired me to make the switch? Why take the hard path of starting a new career in a field I knew nothing about? Why put my family through that, when I could have stayed in a profession where I had more experience?

Ultimately, it was a question of self-mastery. It was about proving I could do it. It was about becoming the person I imagined I could be when I was teenager. It was about refusing to take “no” for an answer.

Because I had taken “no” for an answer. I had allowed myself to accept the lie that I was a “humanities person” - that technical subjects weren’t my strong suit. It didn’t really matter whether this was true or not; I believed it. It took a long time for me to get past this false belief about myself, to be able to take the leap and pursue my dreams.

Maybe you have these doubts, too. Maybe you don’t think you’re a “natural” at coding or technical subjects. Neither did I.

But I enjoyed it. I wanted it. And with the loving support of my wife, I was able to go from zero to Google in about four years, even while raising small children together.

So am I good enough now? Am I a natural at software development? Do I deserve to be an engineer at Google?

I have no idea!

But I am going to keep pushing, keep learning, keep growing. I’ll keep working to be the software engineer that my colleagues seem to believe that I am.

youcandoit

My message to you, to my fellow Free Code Campers, is this:

You are going to make it.

You may not end up working for Google. You may not end up in exactly the role that you imagined when you started. (A lot of that is luck.) But you can be successful as a software developer if that’s truly what you want to do. If you keep at it, week after week, month after month, year after year. You’re going to get there.

It is a journey, and it won’t be easy. But you have the resources you need to get where you want to go.

I believe in you!

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Wow! Early 30s? Props to you. That is a daring move.
And I am here trying to get my mind off of the risk of switching career in my mid 20s every time I’m learning web development.

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@Coder_A haha, I had no idea what I was doing in my mid-twenties. Perfectly reasonable to be looking at even just starting your first real “career” in your twenties.

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Nice job, dude! Thanks for checking in and sharing your story.

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Wow! I’m inspired. Working at Google is my dream job.

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I was the same, I thought technical skills were for other people and always thought I was a humanities person and had to accept the…let’s be honest… associated sales jobs. I’m glad you stretched yourself and found you were capable. Thanks for sharing your story it was insightful and encouraging.

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