I got a job! AMA

I really meant to post this earlier in the week (or even last week), but things have been such a whirlwind of activity that I completely forgot.

Long story short, I am now gainfully employed with a medium-sized company as a front-end developer! It was a really great find for me because this company is willing to work with self-taught developers to get them up to speed, and they understand that it will be an investment on their part. They develop everything in house, so project deadlines are very relaxed. Overall, I’m having a great time so far and am very excited to have landed my first job.

Rather than detail every single step of the process, feel free to ask me anything about what I experienced. I would love to share. I’ll do my best to answer everyone, but bare with me if I take a little while.

Big thanks to FCC and the community for helping me to get where I am today!


Congratulations! What is your prior coding experience prior to joining freecodecamp? How long did it take? When did you begin to apply? Where did you find the job to apply to? At what point in freecodecamp did you get your job? Did you finish the entire program?



I want to know everything you asked :smiley:


Awesome! Congratulations on your new job!

My question is: were there any resources that you used outside of Free Code Camp that you found helpful?


Congratulations on the new job!

  1. Can we see your portfolio :smiley:? Was it important at all or did they prefer looking at your GH profile instead?
  2. Did you ever get that “I’m not good enough” feeling when looking at job postings? (This is what I’m struggling w/ at the moment.)
  3. What was the interview process like? (Was there a test of some sort, and stuff like that.)

Prior Experience - Tutored some C# and C++ intro classes and had a few intros myself. Nothing more complex than some simple object-oriented concepts in one-off classes.

Time - From starting to now one year of lightly learning in the evening and another yearish of dedicating major time. Probably could have done it in 6 months to a year if I had really pushed and had the means to.

Applying - I started about 3 months ago and really ramped up in the past month. My huge issue was trying to find a company willing to take on a self-taught developer. I found the job I am currently working for on Indeed, but I looked on Glassdoor, Monster, and others as well.

Progress - I made it through Front-End, Data Vis mostly, API, and one Dynamic application. Front-End skills and light JavaScript are what got me hired though. Still want to finish, but no idea when I might be able to. Trying to learn some .Net templating at the moment as that’s what they use.

Hope that helps!



Three questions:

What was the ratio of applications:interviews:offers, over what period of time?

What channels did you use explicitly in your job search? (Online job postings, recruiters, shaking hands with people at meet ups etc…)

What city / area is the job located?


@terepaima During my interview you mean?

@QuincyLarson Definitely. As many free books as I could find (I’m poor :frowning2:, but hopefully not much longer lol). Eloquent JavaScript and You Don’t Know JS were great. Lots of docs for the technologies I was learning (React and Angular both have pretty good information for their library/framework). MDN (everyone bookmark it if you haven’t already) was super super helpful. Finally, StackOverflow is really great, as long as you are careful to watch how old the answer is.


  1. I’m embarrassed by it a little :slight_smile:, but http://zaclem.com/. There is a blog there that I intend to start writing my daily learnings on again.
  2. So much yes. I got really down about it, but I eventually decided as long as I was learning something new and practicing every day, I would get there. I had a bit of Imposters Syndrome my first day or two, but I’m starting to find out that I’m on a more equal footing with some more experienced devs than I originally thought. I would venture to say that I’m definitely about level with some of the interns I work with (but that might be me being overconfident).
  3. Phone interview with the CEO and Lead Front-End. Mostly a discussion about what I’ve learned and what I’ve used. Multiple choice test on DOM manipulation, CSS, and some light JS online. Scored fairly well for someone inexperienced. On-site interview afterwards, but I think that was more of a formality at that point. Nothing much more than that though. They knew I was inexperienced, so I think that may have made them lean towards a slightly easier technical interview.

Ratio - Dismal. My area is pretty bad for finding a company willing to commit to a self-taught developer. I probably had 4 or 5 actual interviews over 3ish months. This was the only offer, but fortunately I really liked what they had to offer in terms of mentoring me and giving me the experience for future positions.

Channels - All through job boards. I really, really should have networked more as I’m sure that would have helped immensely, and I strongly encourage others to do so.

Area - Outskirts of Orlando with an ecommerce company. Tried for Daytona, but the offerings there were few and mostly called for senior devs.

Edit: Also thanks for the congrats everyone! Geez am I rude!


@zaclem01 Congratulations for your new job. May I know the name of the company you’re working for currently?

First of all, congrats. Such a great achievement. I’m really happy for you.

Couple questions.

1). This may be a bit different for you since you had a tad bit of C# and C++ experience, but one thing I’ve thought about and wondered is how I go about finding a job if all my experience is in the MEAN stack. When I look for jobs in the city I’m in I don’t see a lot of that stack. I see tons of php, SQL, and Java. It makes me nervous as I’m planning on being in a place to start applying in the next 6 months. How did this go for you? Did you focus on job that were only front-end? Did you have any issue finding a place that seemed to use the tech you’ve been learning?

2). Not that you need to go into details, but I’ve got my MA and am switching careers to do this. I’m a bit worried about also switching salaries. When I look at averages, I should hopefully actually make more than I do now, but I know not having experience may hinder that. How was negotiating a salary for you as a self-taught developer?



@ankit-prgmr Company called OnlineLabels


  1. I did tend to focus on Front-End jobs as they seemed more accessible for a Jr level position. I did apply to the few NodeJS positions that I saw, but they were few and far between. It did seem that many business are still operating on older technologies (which makes sense for older companies), so depending on where you are, it might be harder to find a place implementing newer things like React, Angular, or Node.

  2. Also a Master’s here, and I did take a bit of a pay cut from my previous position. Fortunately, the company I am working for really seems to reward people who work to be the best they can (even if it means getting up to a normal functioning level for someone like me). Negotiating was basically me saying, “I know the average is roughly $XX,XXX for experienced. I would like at least some slightly lower number.” I got pretty much what I expected. As it turns out though, since there’s no state tax where I live now, I’m actually making slightly MORE each paycheck than in my previous position.


Congratulations! I remember you posting your portfolio for feedback here a few months ago. Great job finding a job, especially after such a short amount of time learning :smile:


@zaclem01 Congrats man you are a great example of diligent work and focused effort yielding results. This is my first post and my question to you is what part of this site was most helpful on this journey and if you had to do it all over what would you do differently?


Congratulations, @zaclem01 And thanks for your willingness to share your experience.

What soft skills do you think is important in landing a gig as a first-time Front End Developer?
Do you think your unrelated college degrees helped you at all or do you think they strictly hired you because of your skill set as a developer? I’m guessing the former helped because it showed your willingness to learn and a Masters always looks good on a resume, even if it’s unrelated.
I just have an AA in Liberal Arts, but hoping that a combination of an impressive portfolio & a certificate or two (or three) at FCC gets my foot in the door in 1-2 years.

On your LinkedIn profile you provided the following list that highlights your skills:
Javascript - Intermediate
HTML - Intermediate
CSS - Intermediate
React JS - Intermediate
Express JS - Novice/Intermediate
MongoDB - Novice
GitHub - Novice
Heroku - Novice
I’ve seen other people do this. How do you determine if you’re Novice in one area & Intermediate in another? I think that’s a very useful bit of information to provide potential employers. But only if your definition of Intermediate is the same as theirs.

Thanks again for your time.


Congratulations on the new achievement @zaclem01

It would be great if you could tell us how you found about that company ? not it’s name or anything, but were you able to land the interview in the first place and saw the offer ?

Congratulations and good luck moving forward!

I’m still in the algorithm challenge but I can tell you that stack overflow has help me a lot, some ebooks from site point to (JavaScript novice to ninja) finding a mentor helps a lot too, and some medium publications


@l-emi Thank you!

@StevenRB Two big things: First, focus much more on having a solid foundation in using vanilla HTML, CSS, and JS. I feel that everyone should really get a grasp on what they do, as all libraries and frameworks are pretty much built on the fundamentals of those. If you can understand them, you’ll know roughly how the various other technologies work. I’m still trying to do this!

Second, and this is at odds with the curriculum, but learn Angular instead of React. Completely personal preference of liking Angular better though.

@pewterfan As far as soft skills, I think the most helpful trait I brought to the table was being driven to keep learning. Most people here seem to have that, so I think it will really shine through in interviews. My degree didn’t really come into play much, mostly the fact that I had a desire to learn and a foundation to start with. Portfolio definitely didn’t hurt any!

As far as the skill levels, I’ve heard various conflicting opinions. Some people like the; others have told me it might turn off potential interviewers before they even talk to you. I’ve even had people tell me to overplay my skill level to get my foot in the door for an interview. I guess it mostly depends on personal preference. And you’re correct, your relative scale of skill level might be different from theirs, so that’s definitely something to consider.

@aBuzzLife I would hook you up if I could, but alas, I took the only opening :slight_smile:. Thanks for the congrats!

@wadie Indeed is where I did most of my searching. Just a quick search of the area and an application!



I see you mentioned that you studied from eloquent javscript. I have just started that now, but some explanations I don’t understand, but I already know what it does, is that a problem. For example I knew about recursive functions, but the explanation in the book really threw me off. I get that it’s a tough book, but would be interesting to know how someone else has got threw it.

Many Congratulations on your new job!