My first coding job (how I got there)

My first coding job (how I got there)
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#1

Hello campers!

I started on FCC a little less than a year ago. I was working part-time (sometimes full time) and I have a 3-year-old daughter.
I had been taking some web dev classes on Lynday.com for a few weeks, but javascript seemed… scary. I kept putting off learning it because I did not think I could handle the frustration of programming. I have always been drawn to things that were easy for me, and I didn’t enjoy struggling.
Someone sent me a link to FCC and I fell in love with the concept. So I powered through. I worked on it whenever I can: when my daughter was napping, when she was gone to bed or early mornings in the weekend… yes, I did wake up around 5-6am on weekends so I could have time work.

I finished the front-end certificate at the end of October. I tried the back-end but really struggled with it. When the Data Visualization certification came up, I started working on that. I am now just one project away from finishing.

While I was learning, I also got involved in our local FreeCodeCamp group and found another local group dedicated to helping people who are learning tech skills online. It was through that other group that I found my first job. A startup company approached the group to find some interns to build the prototype for their app. The app was IOS based, but they also needed a web-based administrator portal. The person responsible for the group recommended me, and just like that, I had the job. (No, I didn’t even interview for it :smile: )

So in the last weeks, I have been building this portal, reviewing how to properly create forms with React, figuring out how to use Firebase to handle much of the backend (good thing too! I still can’t do backend!). I am working on my own with the web stuff. It’s not easy.

Now the prototype is coming to an end. We are doing a demo on Wednesday and then not touching that prototype again. They want to start from scratch to build the real app soon. They will be hiring more experienced developers, but I hope they keep me on board as well. If not, at least I got some professional experience.

So the lesson is, there are many different ways to get a job. Networking helps. I am a very shy person, but somehow still managed to network in my own way. If you can, meet other people who are learning, and good things happen. Soon I might be running a web dev. learning circle and I will find other ways to stay involved in this community.
I am really excited to see this new career in front of me. I am turning 38 soon (yikes!) and so far only had career interest in fields that don’t offer much jobs (Masters degree in History, interest in urban gardening) and jobs that led nowhere (office clerk).


#2

Merle000,

Congrats on getting the job. You have been rewarded for taking action and learning on your own. Glad to see there are others that “older” (I am 54) that are learning programming. Congrats again.

Jennifer


#3

Thank you.
I kept having some doubts about myself, in part because of my age. But whenever I wondered if I was too old for this brand new career, I reminded myself that I could either do it anyways, or wait until I somehow got younger. :smile:


#4

Every day I hear people start sentences with “you can’t” or “you should”. What language are they speaking? Are they insane?


#5

Congrats and thanks for sharing your story! This is why we’re all here.


#6

Congrats on the job! I have a few questions.

  • How much of the FCC did you finish when you got this job?
  • Was that enough to be able to do everything required for the job?

#7

I had finished the front-end certification and was almost done the data visualization.

Was it enough? Yes and no. I did not know everything I needed for the job, but I don’t think that is necessary. I had gained enough confidence to figure out how to figure out what I didn’t know. I had experience fixing bugs, learning new tools, etc.
There are a few times when I had to tell my boss ‘sorry, that’s just too complicated for me right now’, most of which involved knowledge of backend development. Normally your first dev. job will have you working with people with more experience. It wasn’t the case for me. I was on my own doing the web stuff. Looking back, that was not ideal. Still, somehow we made it work and our prototype is working.
For the ‘real’ application, they will hire more experienced developers, so our work environment will become more typical.


#8

Congratulations Marie000! Wish you the best! Thank you for sharing.


#9

Hey,
I’m living in Earth since 1976. Started FCC last month. Programming like music too. Everyone can’t do it. But if you love it, like it, have the affection to computer then it’s for you. You see there are lots of old school guys with these awesome green ones. Keep it up as long as you get fun of it. Last thing “never quit”.

Best wishes.


#10

Thanks for the response! Even though you didn’t know everything, it sounded like a really good experience and I’m guessing you learned a lot. Hopefully I can get something like this too.


#11

First, Congratulation for your new step and your story sounds like anyone who keeps struggling on improving skill eventually reach to the point where he/she has longed. Thanks for sharing your story…


#12

Congratulations, and thanks for sharing your inspiring story. My background is very similar (except 40, with two kids (3,6), and coming from business administration), and it’s heartwarming to see it’s possible to make this work. I see your post was from about a month ago, I hope you are still enjoying your job, and in case they didn’t keep you on board, you found another similar one. I wish you all the best!


#13

Did any of this result in a real job at the end?


#14

Yes and no. The project has continued and I was still working on it part time when they decided to take a break in the development last month.
I also had another contract I was working on part time between June and September. Now I have a new contract with a startup since last month.
My original project will resume development later this month, but most likely without me. I am also doing a training program because I want to learn backend.

I probably could have applied for ‘real’ full-time jobs, but I like the flexibility of being able to continue my education and take time off whenever I need to.
Once my training program is done, I will most likely join a worker’s Co-op that is being started by other developers, so I can continue to work on a flexible contract-type schedule.


#15

Thank you for writing this post it has inspired me to keep learning especially when I wanted to give up.


#16

You are an AMAZING inspirational person! Thank you for sharing your story and congratulation!


#17

Really cool to hear this. I’m 34, also with a kid, and worried about changing careers (I’m a professor now) but I just can’t stay in my field any second longer. Congratulations for being courageous