How good do I need to be to start applying for jobs?

I recently started a course on coding and data science. I do wonder is what potential employers are prepared to accept in a job candidate. I have turned out to be a slow learner, though I used to do well in school. So there is some coming to terms with that.

And I am concerned that once I finish my course I may not good enough for any jobs at all, and I must to come across as exceptional for my age, to make it in the job market. And yet, I do know that there are armies of IT folks out there, it can’t be true that everyone is a math whiz, or an A student in their school days or boot camp days, right? And yet, they can be gainfully employed. Should I just apply for jobs even when I feel like I am not ready yet? When do you know you are ready to make it professionally?

It’s not an either/or thing.

It’s like asking “Can I get a date with a pretty girl when I’m poor, slovenly, and out of shape, or do I have to be rich and look like Brad Pitt?” Sure, anyone can, but the more you lean towards that latter, the easier it’s going to be.

In theory there are jobs out there for people that have just begun FCC. There may be some company that has very low standards and are willing to work with someone, and pay so little that it makes sense to them, or maybe that person just interviews really well - it does happen. The question is - Is it likely? The more you learn and do, the odds of getting a job slowly increase. And at a certain point, it’s time and persistence.

it can’t be true that everyone is a math whiz

No, many aren’t. And people overestimate the importance of math, like you have to be a math wiz. For the vast majority of web dev, if you’re comfortable with the math they teach 12-year-olds, you’re probably fine.

Should I just apply for jobs even when I feel like I am not ready yet?

Prereqs in job postings are often wish lists, often unrealistic. If you halfway meet their requirements, it would probably be good to apply.

If you are working through the FCC material, I’d say that after the first 3 certs, you are probably beginning to become reasonably employable. After the first 6, you have a good tech stack. Granted, it will still be very, very, very difficult to get that first job.

When do you know you are ready to make it professionally?

You’ll never feel ready. It’s a process of never ending learning and always feeling at least a little inadequate.

Just keep learning and building stuff.


Thank you for the reality check and encouragement. I’m drawing strength from it, and will soon start on the fcc materials. Wish everyone in the same boat as me lots of staying power. Thanks again!

Agreed. You’ll never feel ready or feel like you’re good enough to land your dream job. It’s all in your head. I think that once you have picked some hands-on experience and filled your portfolio ( that can be freelance gigs, mock projects, etc), you’re good to go. Best of luck!

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