Joined in April, got a job as a junior front-end developer!


#1

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to share my story for a little bit of motivation and inspiration for everyone.

I joined free code camp in April and slowly started working through the course.

I started getting extremely discouraged when I got to the algorithm section as I could barely solve anything. My partner helped me for a little while (he is a senior software engineer), but he ended up getting frustrated and telling me that those challenges were pointless. After his advice, I decided to focus more on the “projects”, which he said was what was really going to prepare me for the workforce so I jumped ahead a little bit and finished a lot of the projects. I am currently working on the pomodoro timer which I am really proud of. I realised I was coding Javasscript okay in my projects, even though I couldn’t solve those crazy algorithms.

Two months ago, I applied for an intern position at thriveweb.com.au by showing them my code-pen and explaining I was eager to learn for free and help out. I told them about what I was studying, how I was studying, and that I will continue to improve in my own time at home while I worked there. I got an answer straight away from the director, and after two months of working there he hired me happily, a month before he had to :slight_smile:

https://codepen.io/francescacosta/

To be honest, it was a little stressful at first and there are still days where I get stressed out because I’m not sure what to do and other developers get too busy to help me, but I know that the environment there is right for me, and I feel a deep sense of belonging or being in the right place in my heart :slight_smile: The environment is perfect, laid back, crusiy, surfing on the lunch break, no micro-management, and to boot, beers and lunch on Fridays!

I have slowed down on my free code camp, as now, to progress in this company I need to get better at wordpress, so I have switched tree house and other learning tracks for a bit.

My personal opinion is that those algorithms are really unnecessary! I understand that they help us to think like a programmer, but for someone who is just learning they are too crazy. If I didn’t have the guidance and encouragement of my partner I would have given up. I coded my projects with ease. However, I am playing “code. combat” online which is problem solving but more at a beginner stage, with more support. I feel like I am getting much better with the logic through that game and I will come back one day when I have learnt what I need to for my job.

Thrive wasn’t the only place that answered me, two other people replied to my internship email asking me to come and work with them. I do believe this was partly due to how my email was worded, if anyone wants me to post it please let me know.

And if you have annnny questions! Please let me know too!

I hope to become a teacher in the community one day and share my knowledge in a way I know can really help beginners.

And my advice to anyone who has done at least as many projects as I have, show some companies! Get that internship!

Francesca x

UPDATE**

A couple of people have really tried to stress to me the importance of algorithms, and I think I didn’t make myself really clear in my original post, as I do agree with you all on that point. I just was more flexible in the way I have decided to learn those, as in my opinion the way I went, got my my job faster. Below I have pasted a reply I wrote to somebody about the matter :slight_smile:


In regards to the algorithms section, I kind of completely agree with everything you said which is why I mentioned I am not giving up on that section and continuing to work through it and develop my algorithm skills in different ways like playing code combat for now.

After a few months of playing codecombat I can feel my brain changing, and I totally get that independent and happy and confident feeling from being able to problem solve on my own.

My only issue is that my brain actually NEVER had any experience with any sort of problem solving, I am not a logical girl, I am intuitive and creative, that is how I have always solved problems, from my gut and my heart, so these algorithms are a completely different ballgame. I remember sitting there, doing everything you said, reading the challenge for like a day, reading all the documentation, and still having no idea where I would start. So my problem with that part is that I personally feel, my brain needed more warming up and more knowledge to get to be at a level to start to really understand what I might be able to do. I was still completely able to go ahead and do all the projects by myself without solving any of those algorithms. And if I had stayed there stuck and not moving forward trying to solve this and not have skipped to the projects, or studied more javascript online on other courses to get a better handle of it, I wouldn’t have my job now. I had to be proactive and try to determine what was best for me instead of sitting in a corner staring at a wall trying to find something within that wasn’t there. I believe this also made me more independent and able to problem-solve too! (but in a different way) :wink:

So I am happy that I was flexible and did what was right for me to move forward. Doing projects was what has really helped my brain start to develop those skills, as well as playing code combat online (have you tried it) its amazing!

So that was really the initial point I was trying to make when bringing that up.

I’m actually very excited moving forward to get better at solving the algorithims, while I am also doing things that are practically moving my career forward, like learning the java script I need for the word press sites at work, which the algorithims have nothing to do with in my opinion, they might make me faster at problem solving in the long run, but learning exactly what I need is also very quick too.


#2

Congratulations on your position!
I understand perfectly feeling stressed out while working as an intern, was in that spot a few times. I am currently working my way towards finding a job too and hope to achieve that one day so it is a great encouragement when I see others get there :slight_smile:

Could I ask how/why you applied to thriveweb? Was it through personal contact?

Good luck with everything in the future!


#3

Hi Vallode

Thankyou so much :slight_smile: personally, I still can’t even believe he is paying me to do this stuff, it will put more pressure on me a little bit as I still feel I need a lot of guidance in wordpress.

I hope you can find a job soon!

I went online to look at jobs in my area, they were looking for a junior so I emailed them and asked if I could learn for free to possibly get ready for that junior position! It seems he decided to hire me as that junior :slight_smile:

x


#4

First of all, congratulations!

It makes me wonder, if learning exercises (not just on FCC) should be more mini-project based. Something that focuses on using the things we’re learning in a practical/real word scenario. I’ve kinda always wanted to put together a website that gives out web design/development prompts in order to practice and build up one’s portfolio with projects.

By the way, you mentioned WordPress, are you doing theme building or plugins? If it’s themes I have book I could suggest to you, it basically takes you from beginning to end on building a theme from scratch.


#5

Hi @dlyons Thankyou so much! :slight_smile:

There are some companies that give those algorithms as part of your interview process, but its not common in Australia for “Web Development” maybe a little more in backend and software. Felipe my partner got them for his interviews as more of a backend guy, but he still thinks that have nothing to do with his job. He says of course you need to develop the logic you need to solve problems, but the algorithms are more math based and he doesn’t really experience having to think that way, and he isn’t even good at maths!

I do think mini-projects are the best way, Free Code Camp could have built up with more mini projects to help us understand the more basic ideas, I have noticed that treehouse does this.

We are building themes from scratch, so far I have done two websites for them.

www.vivacollections.com.au
https://ssssh.com.au/

You can see its more basic, the rest of the time I am doing HTML e-sigs, small landing or holding pages, migrating sites, changing or fixing bugs that I can on other websites they have done, moving things around and changing things. He has advised me they will slowly build me up with my worpdress. Of course i am eager to jump in more to multi-page sites as soon as possible so I am developing a free one for a coffee shop using wordpress so I can show my boss at the end!

I’d love the name of that book thanks :slight_smile:


#6

Totally, developing a strong grasp in logic is very important. I would argue that it’s important regardless of what you end up programming or programming with. I mean heck, there’s logic in HTML you have to abide by and use. I think it comes down to what you end up using the most, how you use it, and if there’s any room to improve or expand. (And I suck at math myself haha)

Who knows maybe after they debut the new Beta curriculum they might add some more supplemental projects. Maybe at the very least in the more programming heavy languages. I wouldn’t mind some more JavaScript projects myself.

Those are some excellent looking sites! I always say it’s hard to make basic look good, but I think those are wonderful.

Here’s the book: http://a.co/8yMTvJv
Now just a heads up it is from 2012, so there might be some better or more advanced ways to do some of this stuff. But the author gives a great breakdown on all key parts of theme building: templates, navigation menus, posts, custom post types, loops, what should go into your functions.php file, working with comments, tags and categories, all that good stuff.

I still use it for reference in fact :wink:

Edit: I’m also going to toss in this tutorial here: https://www.taniarascia.com/developing-a-wordpress-theme-from-scratch/
This one deals with converting a Bootstrap theme into a WP one. Which is pretty handy coming off of FCC’s bootstrap lessons.


#7

Congrats! i love a good success story!


#8

Me too , I decided to skip the algorithms and just jump ahead to doing the projects cause I felt like I am wasting my time figuring out the answer to 1 challenge for 2 to 3 hours.I would rather waste my time figuring out the problems in my project but once I am all done with the projects, I will probably comeback and do the challenges while I’m applying for jobs.


#9

amazing, thanks so much for that!


#10

Congrats, and to echo above–always good to hear some success stories! Also glad to see you’re continuing to challenge yourself on the logic front in another setting you feel more comfortable with.

I also think the algorithms are pretty critical at learning how to navigate data structures with javascript. I remember pulling my hair out and forcing myself to sleep on a problem before I went back and tried one again. Doing them myself and then reading the various styles of solution in the Guides (now saved in this forum) really drilled into my how best to apply all the array methods (.map, .filter, .reduce, .forEach, etc.) to get around and pick out just the exact data I need.

This has been very helpful since my first job has been working on a single-page app that requires making calls to dozens of different APIs returning different data structures (and sometimes with half the structure empty). I’ve actually been interviewing new candidates for the team, and it’s amazing how many candidates, even with a few years of experience don’t know how to use these basic Array methods.

So keep pushing yourself outside your comfort zone! Good luck.


#11

@francescacosta - super excited to hear this from you , congrats…But a little point here, i believe one must go through algorithm as with out them one is totally dependent on shortcut methods like map,filter,reduce etc…

I am solving each and every algorithm without using these methods and using control logic and loops , and its good , i am at step 273 right now …

Congrats again

Regards


#12

Congratulations on the job :smiley:

If you don’t mind, I would love it if you could post the email that you sent, please?
I have been stressing over how I’m going to apply for a junior position without any previous work (web development) because I’ve found that even those positions want you to have experience and a lot of companies want a portfolio of 5 to 6 websites - it’s very intimidating and I started to feel like I would never be able to get a job.

But reading your post has made me feel very positive about finding a job :slight_smile:
Thank you for sharing!


#13

Just wanted to chime in and say I am in the exact same boat as you @Nicole ! I would also love to see the email that @francescacosta. I am hoping that showcasing completed projects will up my chances with getting hired as a junior level. Congrats on the job, btw, @francescacosta!


#14

@Nicole @bordenm

Here you go!

Hi Thrive Team,

Hope you are having a wonderful day :slight_smile:

My name is Francesca, and I am an aspiring Front-End developer / Although I would love to eventually grow into a Full Stack Developer.

I must say I took a look at your website, and find your work really inspired and interesting, involving a market I would love to grow to become an expert in as it involves passion, inspiration, keeping up and growing my design talent and work in different fields including web and applications!

I have been studying coding with a partner whom is a Senior Software Engineer, and working through a couple of courses online such as Free Code Camp for the past 3 months.

Although I do not yet feel confident to apply for the position you have on seek I was wondering if I could be of some help full-time as an intern and learn from you all with my current skill level.

I have been doing really well with CSS + HTML, but am still struggling a little with Javascript. Some concepts are starting to come together nicely, but I do need more time before I would be able to apply for this position. I have also discovered I am quite natural with website design, however I still have a lot to learn.

**I am fairly proficient in both Photoshop and Illustrator, and spend a lot of time learning more. **

**I would be able to help out up to 5 days a week within the next two weeks. **

Please feel free to contact me to discuss anything further, or call me to learn more about my current study.

**I will link all the relevant information and projects below so you can take a look at the work I have completed, design, and some code on my codePen, as well as gaining some insight into my current skill level to see if I can be of some assistance. **

Thanks for taking the time to read my email either way :slight_smile:

Sincerely,
Francesca x

https://www.freecodecamp.com/francescacosta

https://github.com/francescacosta

https://codepen.io/francescacosta/pens/public/#

PS: Here is some design work that is not yet hosted online, as I am also playing around with creating a blog about health to learn more.

Then I gave them some pictures of a design I was working on.

I really hope this helps :slight_smile:

I think the key is being open to working as an intern for them as a while, as this is how I got my foot in the door :slight_smile:


#15

@blackmorrow

Yes I totally agree it would be great to be able to solve these, as I said in my post I am hoping to come back to them, and playing some logic games online to help me build up my left, because as for now there is no way my brain could wrap around anything like they are giving even in the early challenges. It jumps too quickly into that, and for someone who has no kind of experience in those sorts of logic puzzles, there is no help to be gained. Through working on small projects and playing Javascript games online, I feel my brain is becoming developed in the areas required to solve these puzzles, and I of course will come back to them.


#16

Yes you know earlier when i would look at those problems , i was really thinking , this can take lot of time , but not so much now, also now you will learn much more at job, however, topics like node.js, data visualization covered here can see a big jump in earnings i guess … i feel good for your hard work … :slight_smile:


#17

@francescacosta I just want to say thank you SO MUCH for posting your story. I am actually on the algorithms section myself and have been struggling with them. I was starting to wonder if I was cut out for this, despite how much I love it. Your story has encouraged me to step outside the box and try something else.
Also, thank you for posting your letter to them and your codepen. I am definitely planning to use them as reference.
Again, thank you, and Congrats! :tada:


#18

@GadgetgirlMommy

Naw, you are so welcome, I know I needed a bit of inspiration too, I was just lucky I had my partner for that. But I also know other success stories on this forum helped me as well.

I hope when you email future employers that my letter helps you!

X


#19

Thank you for writing your story. It inspires me to keep coding every day.

Congrats on the position. I can only hope someday I will find the same opportunity.


#20

You are so welcome! Don’t wait for a job go get an internship!!! X