I have landed my first full time front end developer job!
Yikes! This is a long one!
Working on a range of front end projects for a number of existing clients. My first project has been on working on a Craft CMS powered marketing site we have inherited from a design company. I’m also involved in the React front end of some extremely cool AI / ML products.
Hours are reasonably flexible, with the option to work from home a couple of days a week (which I will start doing next week)
Tertiary qualifications: BA English Literature, MA Teaching.
Professional experience: 10 years teaching, 2.5 years stay at home Dad.
No Bootcamps etc
I’ve been a hobbyist code tinkerer for about 10 years. I started with HTML and a smattering of CSS. Later I got into Python, with many false starts (took a while too really understand loops, tbh). Managed to solve about 25 project Euler problems and build a couple of tools to automate teaching related things, such as a tool that parsed Excel data and spat out semester reports for me, and one that scraped the CMS we used to host documents when we needed to switch and there was no useful bulk export feature baked in.
I played around with some WAMP stack web dev stuff too, but never finished a project in it.
I also tinkered with Ruby on Rails and Java, but again…nothing productive.
The Free Code Camp Era
I was just getting ready to deep dive on Java a couple of years ago when I read an Ask Metafilter answer in which someone mentioned freeCodeCamp.
I logged on and cranked out the HTML and CSS sections on my phone late at night and was hooked. The JS section took a little longer, and some of the intermediate algorithms stumped me for ages.
Getting involved heavily in the forum was a massive motivator, and when I used to help people all day everyday (Stay at home Dad life is sweet!) my own understanding rocketed.
The other big motivation was being involved in the local freeCodeCamp meetup. Meeting and hanging out with other people on the same journey was really encouraging - don’t underestimate this!
I completed the legacy Front End cert in 1 month with UGLY projects.
Then I did a bunch of the legacy backend projects.
@P1xt hosted a 1 week online hackathon style challenge which I used to learn React and that led to a cool open source project that involved lots of people here…but life sorta torpeedoed it in the end.
After that I took about a year off coding
The Job Hunt
After a year off, I resolved to finish some more projects - a FCC solutions scraper, a Twitter bot and a Reactified portfolio.
I started applying for jobs and received a lot of silence.
I put my resume out on Twitter and got some good feedback on it.
This also got me noticed by a recruiter, which was encouraging, but ultimately fruitless.
I sent out more resumes and this time got some bites: 30 applications landed me 2 interviews and one offer to reapply for a junior trainee program 3 months later.
First interview was for a product that was literally just 3 web forms that get embedded on various sites. The job was to tweek the CSS to match client branding. That was it. Pay was a little over minimum wage. I did not get the job.
Second interview was a company that was pivoting into providing web services in their domain. They wanted a front ender to replace their outgoing front ender to start work on greenfield projects. This would have been an exciting role - I would have had ownership over the frontend tech stack and would have been working with a small team. They offered the job to someone with more experience.
He handed me a business card as he left and it turned out that he was the managing director at a ML consultancy. I emailed a follow up asking what kinds of projects I could be working on to be a viable candidate at company like his in a couple of years and that, suprisingly, turned into a phone interview.
The phone interview turned into an in person technical interview. This was still quite casual…no whiteboards! They just asked what I knew and took my word for it, I guess. After that I spent a day on site working alongside the team on a real client project to see if I was a good fit.
About 10 days later, I was offered the job!
I’m happy to answer any questions I can