My Journey from Café Owner to Professional Developer

I want to share with you a little bit of my story of how I got my first developer role. If you feel like it’s impossible to find your first job as a software developer, just read these few lines - written from someone who had felt that feeling many times.

When I was 18 years old I started to work in a cafe in my small village in Italy. I was so excited about the café that I decided to save up and buy it.

The first thing I wanted to do was actually to create a website for it. After several hours of research (I had no idea where and how to start) I ended up in a tutorial on youtube showing how to create a simple static website.

Following that tutorial, I created one with different pages and I remember it was perfect and I was so proud of it. Only now I know: that ugly website was the beginning of my career.

When I started to look into coding, I remember, the most exciting thing was the control you have in everything and the logic behind every single line. I fell in love and I wanted more. I found freeCodeCamp and it helped me to learn the basics.

I started to create another website for a restaurant in my village. After a few months I decided to enroll in a bachelor’s program in software engineering. I was working during the day and studying during the evening, struggling between Cappuccino and C++. One night when I was wrapping up my coursework, I suddenly I realized I didn’t envision myself, in my fifties, working in that café. So I decided to sell it.

I clearly remember all my friends, family and everyone trying to convince me not to trade a profitable venture - which was a permanent job for me - for nothing more than just a dream. But I did it. I felt that was the right thing to do and I believed in my dream.

I sold everything I had - my car, bicycle, tv, sofa. I left everyone I had - family, friends, and my beautiful country. All to move to a more developer-friendly country: Ireland.

I went there with no English. I remember I used to confuse “how are you” with “how old are you” (wondering why people were answering at my polite “Hi, how old are you today?” with a really rude “same as yesterday Luca”).

I attended an English class for a few months and, day by day, I was getting capable to learn faster on freeCodeCamp. (Up until that point, I had to use Google Translate to understand its lessons).

Eventually I got my first internship as a front end developer. But it was an unpaid one. So I had to work as a barback in a nightclub to pay rent and bills.

It was my hardest time ever, and I am not talking about how many steps or floors I had to climb up every night or how many buckets of ice I had to carry. This was not a problem compared to what was going on in my mind. With few hours of sleep, It was hard to be focused during the day at my internship. But the worst moments were when I worried that I had left all my life behind to go alone to another country for nothing more than just a dream.

I started to feel like I made a mistake. I had that feeling several times. I silently cried many times for that. I realized I was not invincible as I thought I was.

But I didn’t give up, I kept applying for other jobs. I kept reading emails containing the famous sentence “We have decided to move forward with other candidates.”

Only later did I realize that I was facing the same beast that any junior developer has to defeat: confidence in one’s own skills.

Yes, I already had skills. It was just a matter of showing them up.

I believed in myself. Thank god I did. And after a few weeks, I got a position as a web developer. It was a support role, creating Vanilla JavaScript scripts for the tracking of users on websites.

Since then, I have changed jobs a few times, and now I am a full-fledged software developer… who also knows how to make a great Cappuccino.

Believe in yourself,


Thanks for sharing your story, Luca. This is super inspiring.

This is such a profound sacrifice to follow your passion.

I am thrilled that all this put you on the path toward an entry level developer job, and that you’ve been able to progress so steadily from there.


Awesome story, Luca! Thanks for sharing it with the rest of the community as inspiration. So glad things worked out for you.


I’m very happy with stubbornness, that feeling also happened to me, and as an old boss says work until you have a lot of “luck.”


Wow, man! Just wow! I’m impressed with how you worked through FreeCodeCamp knowing nothing of English and make great sacrifices. That speaks a lot of determination and patience.

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Luca. And congratulations on becoming a software developer.

(On a side note, does the FCC curriculum support other languages?)


What a great story - thank you for sharing it with the community, Luca. It has inspired me, and I’m sure it’ll inspire many others.

It just goes to show what someone can accomplish with a lot of hard work and determination. And your skillset seems uniquely well-suited to the developer lifestyle… (come on, coffee + code, anyone? :smiley: ).

Congrats on your success - and best of luck to you!


It is such a nice thing to see many people reading my story, I feel so grateful that you all spend some of your time to read it. :slight_smile:
Thanks, @QuincyLarson for everything you did and for Twitting my post.
@GeanCarloV just keep going as I did and you will tell me in a short time that I was right.
Glad you liked it @nshep, hopefully, it is going to help people that are in the situation I was.
Yeah @abbey you are right, it is a useful skill to have :laughing: I also learned how to deal with people during my years at my Cafè, skill that I still consider the most important one I have.
@Masker Thanks you for reading it, happy you liked it.
Happy coding and happy learning to everyone :slight_smile:


We’re taking time and doing other languages right. We’re starting with Chinese, then moving forward from there.


Grazie mille !! Luca Cumplimenti !!

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Awesome story! Congratulations on your achievements, Luca! And, thanks for sharing!

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Thanks for your inspired story.
I just start learning code recently and going to study in Ireland is my dream!
You can do it so there is no reason that I can not :slight_smile:
Believe in myself!!
Congratulation on your success!

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