Looking for career advice, non-IT background

Hi, I wish to have a career change to front-end-development role.
So far, I have completed certificate for html, css, java.
I have heard of people getting their job after completing these certificate.
However, given this covid-19 issue, it is so difficult to land a job, especially for people like me without prior IT experience. I wish to improve my competency.
My next plan is to complete the frontendlibrary certificate, after that will to look for github free project to complete.
But, without a mentor, I am not sure whether I am on the right tracks.
I am in desperate need for career advice and guidance to increase my competency and make myself attractive to job-recruiter.
Given that the government is nice enough to postpone my study loan repayment for a year, I am willing to take a gap period to buildup my portfolio.
Really wish I could secure a job in months and a year maximum.
Thank you!!!


The different certificates on freeCodeCamp aren’t meant to be independent. They’re just progress markers on the way to the complete course. This is just one developer’s opinion, but I do not think that the “front end” sections of freeCodeCamp are enough to make you qualified for a job (nor are they meant to be). It’s true that many people find jobs when they have only partially completed freeCodeCamp, but that’s because they choose to pursue further study and practice outside of freeCodeCamp.


First of all, whatever you heard about people getting jobs after just completed Responsive Web Design certificate or the first 2 certificate of the FCC curriculum, assume they are in the minority and/or FCC is not their only source of education. I’m not saying this to discourage you, rather to keep your expectations grounded. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

FCC curriculum is definitely the right track for web/front-end developer. However, for job readiness, you most likely have to go some extra miles beyond. There is no real set path, everyone have different experience and path of progression.

If you have no computer science background what so ever, consider taking CS50 concurrently to beef up your foundation. If front-end/JavaScript is your primary focus, consider reading through You don’t know JS to gain a deeper understanding of JavaScript.

Once you completed the front-end libraries certification, consider joining Chingu and work on a group project. Here is the key, take initiative and help lead the group. It will help your leadership experience and ensure you actually produce something for your portfolio.

Do code wars or leet code somewhat regularly. It helps to keep your coding basics sharp and prep you for technical interviews. Don’t focus on the hard problems. Target medium and easy mostly, the goal isn’t to memorize solutions, rather to keep you comfortable thinking in algorithms and data structures.

Most important thing for a self-learner, build and COMPLETE projects. By complete, I don’t mean some sort of perfect market ready multifaceted app. I mean just something you can deploy and present without obvious bugs. Try and build things you’d use and would be proud to present.

How you structure all these is up to you, but my advice is to have a structure so you stay on track.

Now, all that was just about learning. The other part of the leg work is maybe harder, which is networking and and job searching.

Definitely look through job posting. List down keywords and technologies in jobs that interest you. It helps you identify direction and knowledge gaps between you and the job you want.

Write your resume and iterate. FCC has multiple articles on how to write an effective resume, as well as a forum that will help critique and improve your résumé. There are also services like job scan that can help you tailor resume to jobs.

Create a LinkedIn profile, and continuously update you skills and profiles as you progress. This is also where you can reach out to recruiters for a conversation on addressing your weakness/job readiness. They won’t all be productive, but just one person talking to you as a human can mean a lot.

In this age of isolation, Meetup is not as accessible as it once was, but I maintain it is the best way to broaden your horizon and connect with like minded people that could connect you to a job. Gitter and Discord can serve as somewhat reasonable alternative if you can find the community, but it doesn’t forge quite as strong of connection.

Practice talking about projects and pitching yourself. Meetup were a great way to do this, but you can also do this in remote groups and call. The ability to effectively and clearly communicate is a highly important soft skill. You generated good impression when you don’t sound like a nervous, stuttering mess.

Lastly, once you get to a point where coding is not totally intimidating, Apply, Apply, Apply. Ignore experience requirements and focus on your skills. The hit-rate is not going to be high. It’s actually quite common to have like 2% reply rate to cold application. You may also get rejected in interviews a lot. Know that it’s part of the process and learn from each of those.


Thank you guys for your advice.
I know what I need to do now.

Hi, It’s me again. I have further questions for the last post. I tried reading You don’t know JS yet for the past week. And I realized that there are so many code I never seen before. And as the author suggests, it shall be an intermediate book to read. Any recommendation book for a slight beginner? I want to read more about the fundamentals as well as the basic knowledge of JS especially to learn the terminology as I see quite a lots of jargon in You don’t know JS.

Besides, I just took a quiz in CSS in Linkedin and I failed, so many CSS selector I have never seen, how could I improve my fundamentals of CSS as well? Is www.w3schools.com another good source to improve Html and CSS as well?

As I finished my unpaid-leaves, I started working again in my tiring job, 10hrs 6 days a week, I was only able to learn 2-3 hours a day, my progress dropped a lot, and when I did my Responsive Web Design revision during my transport time, I found out that I forgot quite a lot about Applied Visual Design Section. Haiz.

I am hoping to find a mentor to guide me. Do you manage to know where I could find one?

Hi, I once posted this reply on reddit, in case you missed it.

In my opinion, FCC JavaScript curriculum already covered the basics pretty well. My advice was based meant to supplement the FCC curriculum and by no means are they definitive. If there are jargon you don’t know, Google them until you do.

For things like CSS, HTML…etc. You can only really learn the basics and expand via repetitions. Do something like daily CSS image or 100 days CSS challenge if you really wants to be good at CSS. You’re never going to memorize those thing. Having references like MDN and W3school while you work is fine. No one is going to judge you for not being able to name every CSS selector ever. Can you tell the difference between different displays and positions? Can you work with layouts like Grid and Flexbox? That’s far more practical.

You are going to forget things, skills decay when you’re not constantly using it. The only way to keep them sharp is to practice, projects, coding challenges… etc. You will have to relearn things as you go. I cannot stress this enough, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You can only learn so much rushing through contents.

As far as mentorship goes, it kind of come down to your network and your social skills. Again, it’s tricky in this age of isolation, but look up your local coding community, reach out to people on LinkedIn .

You and the person you connected with should have a pretty clear definition of what the relationship is from the onset. If your envisioning some sort of tutor for life that will dedicated his/her time to advance your skills and career for free, I’m afraid you are asking for the impossible. No one’s job is to be your Master Roshi for free, and you should be skeptical of anyone offers to be that. People lead busy lives and can only spend so much bandwidth to be invested in your life. The best they can do is help you with coding and learning when they are available, encourage you along the way and offer you guidance and hopefully open some doors for you in job searching.

This is the hard part of self-learning. Being discipline and accountable to both manage your life and keep yourself progressing.

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Hi, thank you for your hearful advices.It is really inspiring. I think not only me but also others who is on this self-learning journey benefit from it.

I now spend 2-3hours per working day on coding. almost whole day on non-working day. it is tough and I sometimes wonder whether it worths, whether I will really achieve something from it. But it is really fulfilling. Especially I am currently doing those frontend projects. They are challenging but really fun. Build them from scratch. From like total lost, then have a rough idea, try some code here and there, and finally make them out, and have some idea how to improve them. Like the random quote i just completed, I spent few hours struggle with ajax and fetch method, but when i finally figured out how they work, it is really fulfilling.

Recently, I also bumped into university of people, wondering should i take a second degree on computer science as it is tuition-free, but it is a really long journey especially I am not a 19yo freshman anymore ORZ.

I still havent make up my mind, but I am a fan of this quote, “If you are really into something, you should die trying it.”