My career journey USA -> Russia -> UK. From zero to developer at a top startup in UK using freeCodeCamp

Hi, my name is Evgeny and here is my story.

My past

When I was a kid, I used to always like to spend my time with computers and do all the technical stuff, but my parents decided that a Business degree would be better for me. And so not knowing what I really liked, I applied to some business school in the USA (I am originally from Russia).

Studying abroad was quite an experience in itself and deserve another topic, but unfortunately (or fortunately) with time I started to understand that business, and more specifically Marketing, is not what I wanted to do. But I couldn’t change anything, I had to finish the super expensive degree to not disappoint my parents and to not appear as a failure. I guess I was afraid of that.

First line of code

While studying business, I continued to mess around with computers and even started to learn Java on YouTube, which was quite hard for me and I burned out within the first week.

At that time I really wanted to code but coding seemed so difficult that I started to think that it is not for me, that I am not smart enough or I don’t have what it takes. I jumped from language to language to find the one that I would be able to learn. At that time I didn’t understand that the problem wasn’t the language but the way I was learning. So… I burned out again and this time it was for almost a year, I proceeded with my business studies and stopped learning any programming.

Introduction to FreeCodeCamp

In 2015 right before my graduation, I stumbled upon FreeCodeCamp. And I decided that this time I will take it seriously and surely finish the whole course before moving on to something else (Spoiler alert. I didn't). I started coding daily, I even did the whole #100DaysOfCode challenge. And then I was hooked. I loved everything I do. I loved JavaScript. I was joining almost all of Quincy Larson's Twitch streams where he was building FreeCodeCamp.

I moved quickly through the FreeCodeCamp curriculum. The thing that I loved the most was the feedback. I was tweeting all of my finished projects at FreeCodeCamp and receiving some feedback that made me overcome that feeling that “I am not good enough”. I don’t remember if we had a forum at the time, but Twitter was the way for me.

First "coding" job

After graduation, I found a job as a Junior Marketing Specialist in a very small company (so small that it was me and, well, the owner of the company).

On my first day at work, I noticed how horrible the website of the company was. So as a Marketing specialist I suggested that we need to update it to “provide a better user experience and potentially better client retention”. Because of the small budget of the company I also suggested that I can update the website with my newly acquired skills (smart move huh?). And this is how I become “Junior Front End Developer”, well kind of, not officially.

I worked for the company for 6 months, mostly working on web site and doing some technical staff. The company wasn’t big enough to sponsor my visa so unfortunately, I had to return back to Russia. I guess this was that failure moment that I feared the most.

First coding job

When I moved back, I learned the hard way that marketing is not a very popular profession in Russia. I couldn't find ANY job with my experience. I continued to learn FreeCodeCamp and finally received my Front End Developer certificate. This was a very good achievement for me because with this certificate I could start applying to Front End positions.

Ooff… I think I applied to at least 100 open positions, I was applying to every open position in the COUNTRY. I had many interviews though. it was pretty embarrassing at first because of a lack of knowledge. But with every new interview, I learned what I was lacking and improved my skills. And finally, after about 20 - 30 interviews I got an offer! YAY!

Career upswing

From there on my career started rolling and today after 5 years I have moved to the UK, working as a Senior Software Engineer in one of the top startups in Great Britain. What a journey that has been.

I am really thankful to the FreeCodeCamp and personally to Quincy Larson for all the help and inspiration. I hope that this story will inspire some of you. Keep doing what you doing. Consistency is the key.

I am ready to answer any questions you have. You can comment here or DM me on Twitter @Dzheky

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@Dzheky

Nice story! It’s really encouraging to me, especially since I’m still learning the basics.

Best,
Cy499_Studios

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Quick question: What other resource (Besides FCC) helped you most with harder concepts in JavaScript or any other topic?

Hey, I mostly used official documentation or StackOverflow for staff that I didn’t understand. But to learn better JavaScript I read the “You don’t know JavaScript” book series and it gave me such a huge boost on my interviews.

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Thank you for sharing your story with us, @Dzheky.

I remember you from Twitch chat. It seems like a lifetime ago. I am so glad you were able to get a visa to the UK and find such a creatively fulfilling job over there.

I will look forward to hearing how your career progresses over the coming years. This is just the beginning. :+1:

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Nice man! It takes courage to carve and walk down your own path not the ones your parents or your society thinks is best for you and follow your passion.

Well done on persevering and I am sure you’ll only grow as you progress in your career. Thanks for sharing and I hope to read more from you!

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I am also an MBA graduate, right now I am a developer

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Thank you! I wish you would do Twitch streams again :smiley: We can learn a lot from you.

Thank you Banhawy! I agree, I wish I dared to not continue with the degree I didn’t like and switch to something I love a little bit earlier. But either way, it came out to be good.

That’s awesome! It is great that you also moved to a completely different field to pursue something you want!