First of all i want to be clear from the start, this is not exactly about getting a developer job or a big client/freelance job. But about how i finally earned something actually doing web development (Spoiler: i made $18).
I am Manuel from Venezuela and i’m 22 years old. Always loved computers because my father and brother always loved them, just as normal users, but they got me in!
So i have already more than one year learning web development and programming in general. I decided to learn it because my country is really struggling, and hence, venezuelans are also struggling. So i did it for the money, because even though i have always loved computers and games, i was actually pursuing music, and as soon as i started learning web development, i got so hooked that i decided this was my thing!
I consider that i have learnt quite a lot, i consider that i have a good coding style, quite clean, i use ES6, i understand OOP, i do Sass with BEM. However, i have learnt a lot from courses, as well as FCC, and those have really been great. The problem is that i recently realized (or actually accepted), that i didn’t have almost anything to show for jobs, i was only doing projects from courses, and even though i actually tinkered with the code and made parts by myself before following a lecture, they weren’t really mine.
So i am trying to work on that. But, well, actually there’s something else i should mention.
Back when i was starting to learn web development, i got a freelance gig for a few months as a content writer for a spanish blog. It paid me $3 an hour an even though it is extremely low for a developed country, here and in many other countries it was a decent sum. So by the time i was fired, or my contract ended, i had $300 saved and i thought “Well, i have more than enough to help my family and dedicate to learn as much as i can and get a proper web dev job”. However, it has been like 6 months since that happened and i still have $110 but that is because i had spent those veeeeeery carefully, and i was already getting quite anxious about the money stuff.
Therefore, i decided to learn WordPress just because there are tons of jobs on that. But just as in the web development job hunting, it is important to have things to show, and i didn’t like implementing WP sites all that much.
However, one day, like a bit more than a month ago, i magically got a Facebook message from someone who found me on Truelancer (ever heard of that site?), asking me for help to make her a blog, and i was learning WP so, why not right?
Well, that person ended up actually becoming a wonderful friend and i won’t charge her anything at all. But also, that blog has become something i’m motivated to work on everyday! I started it with the Divi theme, but it was driving me crazy, to make any small change i had to make all kind of weird hacks, so the other day i just got a starter theme template and started making it from scratch. Here is what i have so far:
So, even though it is just one site, it is a custom theme and all that stuff, so it gives me something to show. And because of that, three days ago i applied for a freelance gig for some WP modifications on Upwork, and got an answer from the client! So i didn’t get that job, but the person asked me to regularly help him with some client work, like some CSS, JS and PHP stuff.
And i got my first $18 as a web developer! As i mentioned, that amount is much more significant in a country like mine, however, it is far from ideal, but to make yourself an idea, this nice person paid me $3 the hour, while the minimum wage here is like $1.5 or $2 a month. Am i rich or am i going to stop here? Nope, i want to be a six figures guy, and to live in a developed country! But this is a huge milestone for me.
Also, even though i have not really done that much FCC, i had learnt a lot from here, and from the community in general. And i’m looking forward to start finishing some FCC projects!
Finally, if there’s something i want you to take from this weird post is not that you should learn this or that technology or WP or whatnot, actually WP doesn’t pay all that well, even though i find it very fun to work with. What i want you to take from this is that things take time, i have like 1 year and 4 months learning, and i feel well prepared, but there are other things necessary to get a job that are not how much programming you know.
Get good courses, read books, do algorithms. But also, start a project, BUT! Do something that is just a bit out of your scope, nothing too small or too big. Or help someone, like, this person i didn’t know 2 months ago is now my friend, and i want her to have an awesome blog, that excites me, so try to do something that excites you, but that is manageable for you.
Also, if looking for inspiration in places like codepen or Awwwards, just be careful not to get discouraged because of the quality there. Remember that most of those great things have been made by people with quite a lot of experience, and a few months later i assure you that things that you found impossible, will be completely doable for you.
So, yes, i’m $18 more rich hahaha. No but, i’m happy and i wanted to encourage you a bit.