Hello all, Quincy asked me if I would share my experience getting a remote job. I wrote something before but it was turning out to be a novel. So to spare you all an even longer read, I am going to summarize things a little more. You can feel free to ask me any follow up questions if you have some.
At the beginning of 2017 I decided to join the #100daysofCode challenge. I went back and focused on CSS. I joined the #dailyCSSImages challenge at the same time and started diving into CSS.
As a stay at home mom my resume was not impressive. I almost didn’t apply for the job I found when I saw they wanted a resume and a portfolio. Instead of giving up I decided to do something different. I redid the company’s website as my resume. This helped me stand out from the applicant pool. It also helped me become familiar with the company, their brand, and their code.
About a month later they asked to interview me. It happened to be a remote position. I was honest during the interview. I explained the little experience I had and told them my strengths. They decided to give me a chance.
Disclaimer: after I started I realized I was in over my head. The company specialized in Drupal sites for their clients. They also worked with several other CMS. This was not a junior position so I only had a week for onboarding. I had never worked with a CMS before besides some work on my WordPress blog. I had no clue what SSHing into a server was. I hadn’t even completed a full website before I got this job. Instead of panicking, I sucked up my pride and started asking questions. A lot of questions. If something confused me I asked for clarification. I learned if I was stuck for more than 20 mintues on something I should ask for help. Lucky for me my team was onboard with my relentless questions. They even set up a specific Slack channel for me to ask them.
If you take anything from my ramblings here please take this. Ask questions when you are stuck. This is the quickest way to level up as a developer. I even asked a bunch of senior developers about this and wrote a little blog post on it if you don’t believe me
I spent a year at this position and then began looking for other opportunities. I had continued to learn new coding concepts through creative coding while I was working. I started to “specialize” and market myself as a creative coder. I even created an online course for SkillShare. It’s called Learn Code by Creating Art: Developing CSS Skills in CodePen.
Wes Bos and Scott Tolinski have a good podcast episode on Syntax called Specialization vs Generalization.
I specialized in SVG animations and working with the GreenSock framework. Making fun animations is now my job and I make almost 3 times what I was making at my first job.
Things I did that helped me get a remote job:
I worked on a lot of side projects (these were actually small CodePen Pens). I was enthusiastic about them. I shared my progress with other communities like the CodeNewbie community and #100daysofcode. This was useful because I had a lot to talk about during my interview with the company that gave me my first job.
I joined the Chingu group to get experience working with a remote team before I applied to a remote position.
Community. I joined a lot of communities for support and guidance.
These were some of the initial communities I reached out too.
I marketed myself. (This part a lot of people don’t like, myself included). I joined Twitter and reached out to people in tech. I got a LinkedIn account and started connecting with people in the industry. I started a blog. I shared my work, even when it was a work in progress. I put myself out there and accepted invitations to do things I didn’t think I could. ( I created a course, I was on a podcast, I applied to speak at conferences).