Another one of these posts incoming, but I figured I’d add to the encouragement pile for people who may be feeling hopeless.
I’ve always been interested in programming, but never really had the gumption to sit down and learn how to do it. I’d copy and paste some code into some frankenstein-esque beast, run it, and leave feeling unsatisfied. I eventually went to college, took some classes, and learned some real basic stuff before getting discouraged and dropping out. See a theme here? I’ve typically been a quitter when things get too hard, or I leave my comfort zone.
About two years ago I (a 26 y/o at the time) got the chance to help my father design a website for his work. He’s a programmer by trade, but mostly works in software development, so he asked if I could help since I knew a thing or two. I attempted to help, but we were using Angular for the front-end, and it was incredibly out of my league. So I quit. And then I felt really bad for a long time – always thinking about how cool it would have been to complete a project with my father.
Last year I found myself in a deep depression because I wasn’t in a place I wanted to be. I was a college drop out, my job sucked, I got myself into a shitload of debt. It was just a bad situation. I wasn’t happy. Somehow, I wound up on free code camp after trying to think of a way to escape the hole I was in. I wanted to learn how to do something useful. Even if I couldn’t do what my dad did, or even get a job. I just wanted to do something that required some skill and diligence to learn.
I spent nearly all of my free time and damn near every waking moment thinking about javacript and webdev from September of last year til now. With FCC and the community to help out, I felt empowered – like I could actually do the thing I wanted to do. I never had any idea what to make, or how to learn the basics until I got to really read about it, and do the projects that FCC laid out.
I just accepted a position at a wonderful company last week, and I’m absolutely floored. Free Code Camp gave me the building blocks I needed to develop as a programmer (teehee) and gave me the confidence to go out and chase the career that I really wanted. It’s surreal to actually to have people and businesses relying on my code to deliver memorable user experiences.
I’ll be honest, it felt like it wasn’t going to happen for most of the time I was doing it, and the self doubt is real, but it really happened. I’m making more money than I ever have in my life, my confidence is through the roof, and for the first time in my life, work doesn’t feel like work.
You can do it too. If you’re reading this still, and you’re in the infant stages of programming: keep at it. If I can do it – a quitter, a loser, a sadsack, a man with depression and no motivation – you can too. If I had any tips, it would be to eat, sleep, and breathe web dev (you probably already do that, but if you don’t, DO IT!). Get comfortable with frameworks, learning new technologies, and being on the cutting edge of design/development. The landscape dominated by Angular and React and the like. Learn some backend – things like PHP and MySQL are HUGE skills to have. Spend lots of time building a professional resume. If you don’t have prior dev experience GET CERTIFICATIONS. Just like a FCC front-end certificate :). APPLY EVERYWHERE!!! I honestly probably applied to over 75 different companies (full treatment, tailored resume and cover letter, etc) and heard back from 4 of them. Don’t get discouraged! As long as it’s not mission critical to your lively-hood, take some time once in a while, let it breathe, and try again when some new job listings are up.
Also, buy some nice clothes. I spent a ridiculous amount (well, I don’t know how ridiculous $300 is) on making myself look professional and stylish, and I feel it made a lot of difference in how serious the interviewers took me.
So that’s my schtick. I don’t think I’ll be hanging around here lurking anymore, but it’s been a wild ride. I’d like to thank FCC and the community for making my dream come true