I just tweeted Quincy Larson to thank him for freeCodeCamp as I just landed my first Frontend dev job as an actual employee and he asked me to make one of these posts… a long time coming
Up until a few years ago I ran my own start ups and help others to build theirs. I’ve had some real successes and a few failures too. That said, about 3 years ago, I realised that I just didn’t enjoy the job anymore. What I really enjoyed was the technology itself and not running the company that built the technology.
So, at 33 with a young son I decided to throw it in.
After taking some time out the direction for me was clear, I needed to become a developer. Like everyone else I started out with a lot of questions:
- Am I too old?
- Will it be possible to learn on my own and not in a dev bootcamp
- How long will it take
So are you too old?
I don’t need to know how old you are the answer is no. If you love to code and trust me you will need to (more in a moment on that) you can start now and be amazed in a few weeks when you look back and see how far you have come.
Do I need to go to a bootcamp?
I think I will get slammed for this but I would actively advise against a formal 12 week bootcamp that you pay through the nose for. My reasoning behind that is simple.
Development can, at times, be really hard but your job as a developer is to find solutions to problems, read docs, scour Stackoverflow, anything you can think of. So get used to this from day 1. Do not rely on formal tuition, I just think it starts you off in the wrong direction. That is one of the reasons I think freeCodeCamp is so awesome, you just get challenges and a few hints to point you in the right direction.
How long will it take?
Try not to worry about this part. It will take as long as it takes. If like me you can free up your time to code all day, everyday it will obviously happen a lot quicker than if you can only manage a couple of hours a day.
But if you can focus full time, really apply yourself then you can probably be at a Jnr dev level within a few months. If like me you prefer to wait and go in at a more senior level then get to know a framework well and build some complicated projects. This will obviously take a lot longer.
So here is my advice for how to get your first job:
Do freeCodeCamp & build all the challenges
These will get you to a place where you can start understanding how to tackle your own projects
Read good books
Learn a framework well
I started with Angular but it just felt too big, too rigid as my first framework, so I chose React instead. This course is amazing - https://www.udemy.com/react-the-complete-guide-incl-redux/
Build lots of things outside of free codecamp using your framework of choice
This is probably the most important part. You can begin to understand where you are at by doing this. Aim for as complex as you can manage if you ask me. It will really push your skills forward.
Anyway, good luck everyone. Keep coding, keep on here. It will pay off.
I better go buy a new lunchbox