Please give me advice on my next steps

Hello FreeCodeCamp!

I love this community. You have all been so open handed with advice as I have learned to code. Thank you for being awesome. I am here once again because I need your advice on my next steps.

Over the past two years I have been working through the FCC curriculum and successfully completed the front end certification a whole year ago. Since then I have been applying to jobs while dabbling with the back end and learning a lot but not enough to put it on my resume.

Still no luck on a job. I feel as if I have tried everything. Part of my head says I need to network more but I am not sure if that would help as the overwhelming response from my city is that I need a degree if I am to get a job. I am in Richmond, VA and the number one employer is Capitol One. I have had three different employees who are friends vouch for me to try and get me a job at Capitol One but the answer is always the same. Need a degree. I haven’t even had so much as an interview.

I have not only been searching in state. Through a friends help, I had a very serious interview at Software Engineering Professionals in Indianapolis, IN a couple months ago. I poured weeks into going over algorithms and practicing the whiteboard. SEP was amazing, but sent me away saying I need more experience with data structures and algorithms. No surprise there as this is definitely a weakness for the self-taught. They also didn’t like that I only had experience with Javascript. To this day, that has been my only in person interview in a year of searching.

Now I am facing a tough life decision as I actually NEED a job in the near future if I am going to survive. I am married with a child on the way and I am seeing the window closing on getting a developer job. My current job is only part time and is not in the tech sector. I do not have the finances to survive another year without getting employed into a full-time role.

I am tossing around the idea that attending a coding bootcamp might give me the extra boost in the eyes of employers but I have heard mixed reviews about how employers feel about bootcamps. I also would feel stupid for spending so much time learning things when I should’ve went to a bootcamp from the start.

Another idea I’ve had is trying to get a software developer degree from WGU (as Beau Carnes did). It would take more time but possibly be worth a lot more in the long run.

Honestly, my mind keeps going back to the idea of just diving in to the back-end (that’s the only thing I expect to learn at a bootcamp, but maybe I am wrong about that assumption) and then seeing if I would have more luck at getting a job. It’s too scary though because it looks exactly like what I have been attempting for the past two years with no tangible results.

Please feel free to critique my resume, LinkedIn, GitHub, portfolio, and anything else, but what I am really seeking is whether or not a bootcamp would potentially be the answer to my problems and if not, what is?

Thank you so much for your time. I know this was lengthy and I appreciate any feedback you may have for me.

Elliott Alexander

While I know that there are people who get purely front-end jobs after completing only the front-end certificate, I consider these to be outliers. Without a traditional degree or prior professional experience, I really don’t think that the front end section of FCC alone is enough to make someone competitive for most development jobs (and from what Quincy has said, I don’t think that he ever meant to create the impression that it was a stopping place).

I am in no position to give you advice related to your employment or your education. If you are considering a paid bootcamp, I would suggest that you consider actually finishing FCC at a bootcamp-like pace. I find it very unlikely that a bootcamp would give you more than that.


There are a lot of colleges in Virginia so the competition is probably worse than a state with less degree holders. Have you tried freelancing?

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I feel for you mate.

I too am an operations manager, in a full time position and I have been finding it hard going. If I had been 18 again, I would have been able to find a position relatively quickly, but unfortunately I have a house to pay for and food to put on the table, and whilst I can take a certain amount of payout I cannot afford to start on a minimum wage again. I got my original job due to my academic background in software development and over time moved away from it.

The job market seems certainly a different place in the US than the UK. I live in a town about an hours commute from London, and whilst there aren’t loads of jobs there are a few decent ones around but unfortunately I believe it comes down to the fact I just don’t have enough experience, or that killer project to just tip the balance into my favour. I have had four interviews from about ten applications. I had a phone interview yesterday and am waiting to hear if I got through to the next stage, and also have reached out to Vodafone on LinkedIn and am waiting to hear back. London is a different animal all together though.

If I was looking at breaking into a job in the city, I would no doubt 100% rely on networking to get me there. The traditional job hunting methods are just completely rinsed, and there is 100+ applicants on each junior job on some of the websites. My old man got himself a contract job just yesterday in the city, and he was one of 10 applicants and this came through a contact he had on LinkedIn. Its a ÂŁ500 a day job which you would have thought the competition would have been going mad for it, but they only advertised on LinkedIn.

As for a degree, people are even going to not be fussed either way or write you off immediately. Personally, I don’t necessarily see why a degree would be necessary for front-end work but that is me… I think I am possibly fairly lucky around here in the fact I have spoken to a few interviewers and they have agreed that a degree isn’t something they look for in front-end work.

My two cents moving forward (for what its worth):

  • Give your CV a rewrite - I think that the article posted above is a good indicator of what a CV should contain. I actually designed my CV (nothing too spectacular or complicated) as I am after a role which has some design aspects as well as well as hoping it will stand out. I haven’t written about personal projects, however focused more on the strong points I have from my job I do currently.

  • Get Networking - I think without a doubt networking is THE best method of finding a job. LinkedIn without a doubt but Instagram will take you by surprise! I have landed myself two freelance jobs with local companies through instagram. I post nearly every day about what I have done in the day, projects I am working on and it works! There is a massive amount of developers on there, and it is good to get in touch with them. I have spoken to a few people about collabs on projects as well as finding people in my local area.

  • Find a niche - The fact I have experience designing as well as developing comes across well. Possibly focus on back end, but I wouldn’t hang up on it too much… There is always going to be full-stack developers as they go hand in hand. Maybe call on your customer service skills, or something you learned in your job to get you into a tech position at least to get your foot in the door. For example: a tech support or something similar. I follow the progress of a pen-tester, and to get to his position he went through tech support to web dev, and then moved up from there.


@EddieCornelious Thanks for the input. I have read the article multiple times and so I am confused when you say “unpuff”. Do you mean I am listing skills that are irrelevant or do you mean I am not skilled enough in them to list them? Thanks for clarifying.


I think you should do a few projects independently of freeCodeCamp and/or extend the existing projects to make them your own. The projects you have now say nothing about you, other than the fact that you did freeCodeCamp projects.

I think you should update your styles, considering that your skill set is mostly in the front-end.

I think you should “act like you’ve been there” and try not to come off as desperate or overly eager. Job-hunting can be like dating in a lot of ways. It takes no effort, skill, or aptitude to say that you’re passionate and eager to learn, or that you eat, drink, and sleep code. Your experience and projects have to speak for you.

Most importantly, and I hate to say “never”, but never use the Lobster font.*

*Notice that I didn’t say “I think” there.