Im 23 and not sure what path to take

Hi,

So im 23 and from London, UK and ive been sitting around during this corona virus lockdown wondering what to do and then the thing that i have always found interesting and wanted to do but never done it is coding, so here i am. But the one thing that keeps burning my brain is the path i would take. Sure i could take the free lance option but i need a more stable path for my future. I would never be okay with the uncertainty.

In terms of my education. I dont really have one. I have a C in maths a D in English and then a bunch of other irrelevant qualifications at GCSE level (high school equivalent i think). My overall goal is to work for myself but in the build up to that i would like a standard job from where i could improve my skills in certain areas. Now im pretty sure i cant just go and jump into a Uni and get a degree/qualification that way. In getting that secured job thats what i would need but i have no idea how i would go about getting that. I know at the end of the FFC you get a certification but that isnt always recognized, as someone told me in my last post.

As it stands, i fresh, i am learning to code from the very start and yes, what i am asking is maybe something that is way ahead of me yet but thats what im asking. If its unclear my question is once i have got the fundamentals of learning to code what would i be doing after that to make a career out of it?

Thanks all!

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Random thoughts:

  • Going to uni without A levels: google it, it’s possible. First you can get a degree with the Open University. You can also use credits you’ve earned with them to apply to a brick university. Or you could develop skills at work or through self-study and use those to apply. You’re unlikely to get into the top universities that way but not all students are A* students and there are all kinds of universities. What they want is people who are likely to stick through it and not give up when it gets hard. If you really want to go to uni, you can make it happen. Just remember that you might have to work extra hard once you’re there, and that it’s expensive (so much debt!). Also do your research into the uni and the department you’re applying to. Make sure it fits you and that you’re likely to get a job with that degree.

  • Alternatively you can look into apprenticeships, they exist at all levels and you’ll be paid.

  • You can get a development job without qualifications. If you have the skills, someone will be interested. The whole point of the fCC certification is for you to learn and practice those skills. You can put it in your CV / LinkedIn and that’s a talking point at the interview. But the strongest thing is the portfolio you’ll build. Why do employers want degrees? Because they don’t know you, so it’s a reassurance that you know your stuff. It says little about how good you would be at a particular job though. Your portfolio shows a prospective employer what you can do, what you have actually built. If it’s good and it shows skills that they need, they’ll want to talk to you.

  • Keep in mind that technology moves fast and if you stay in development you’ll need to keep up to date technically while holding a full-time job. It can be fun when you’re starting up, can be less so when you are further in your career and have less free time. Some people move into management after a while, it’s a different challenge, less technical, more dealing with people and office politics.

  • My advice: Don’t make grand plans yet, do it for fun for a while and see if you enjoy programming and problem solving. If you don’t enjoy it, you’re probably better off doing something else. If you do enjoy it, go all in, get those skills, build tons of projects and get your first job (note: it will take a while to get there). Once you are in the industry you’ll meet people doing different things and you’ll have a better idea of what paths are available.

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i really appreciate that reply. theres alot i will take away from that. thank you!!

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i know how you feel man. I’m 32 now and started learning coding… I have a misguided past where I was trying this and that. wasted like 10 years of my life… As the word goes, 90% of people in the industry has stated that having a good portfolio is what really matters… There are tons of free learning material out there where you can learn the skills and practice. Last night I learned how to make a basic app on android with little knowledge I gained within past 3 weeks… even though it’s nothing much I gained some confidence about my future… You will feel the same… Good luck…

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Hey guys, I’ll leave my 2 cents here.

I’m also 23 years old. I spent about a year (1-3 hours a day, 4-5 days a week) going through FreeCodeCamp and then working on my own projects once I completed FCC. I had a project that used technology I learned on FCC (MongoDB, Express, Node, React) that an employer liked, and I got hired at a startup. The project was not even fully finished yet, it was pretty much just a proof-of-concept.

Worry about learning and getting through FreeCodeCamp first, and then make a cool project that shows that you know how to use some of the popular technologies. If you can show that you know enough React.js and Express.js to put together something that works, they know you can learn what they want you to. You may have to apply for 50 jobs, or 500, but there are tons of places you can look, and if you keep improving your skills, you will eventually catch a companies eye.

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Make a career, and take the software management route. Then leave and freelance with your own company (you might make some connections along the way of your career).

The biggest challenge for any company is not so much “how to code”, you can hire talent for that. It’s “how to develop software” that they struggle with. So having a career where you learn that will be highly valued.