Rant on making sense out of code

Ok guys, I hit a wall.
I like JS. It’s fun.

But it’s not fun having spent years (yeah, you read right) plowing through code. I got a certificate on edX, enjoyed the JS algorithms and data structures challenges and tried to improve my JS working on MDN.

And hunting for entry level positions is tougher than learning to code.

So what if I freelance?

I wanted to learn MERN, but I have to be great at JS before that (still struggle with third party APIs), so React is still out of reach. It sounds ridiculous, but even entry level positions ask for 2-3 years of experience with it. Come on! it’s entry level.

So maybe I could freelance.
But for that I have to learn PHP. Got some resources to study from.
Now it seems like it’s pointless to learn PHP if I don’t learn wordpress.
Installed LAMP, phpmyadmin crashed my OS, which had been running perfectly since april 2018.
So I reinstall ubuntu. Beautiful. Set up vscode. Check. LAMP with phpmyadmin, done.
Install wordpress…

What do I do guys?

I mean, those of you that can finally do fullstack, on any stack, I have three very important questions:

    • Does this happen to you, that it’s more trouble messing with tools and setups than with code most of the time?
    • If you had to freelance and build stuff for clients and/or small businisses, could you do it with your stack?
    • What are those core skills that can get you an income, even if it’s not a full time position at a company?

I’m sorry guys, I still like HTML, CSS and JS. I understand them and use them for silly little projects, but I think I’ve hit a low point.

I’m worried that I may be wasting my time. It has been almost 3 years trying to learn code. I thought I would be able to at least freelance by now.
I don’t understand. I was good at computer classes in high school. I was the best at flowcharts. I took a basic course in C and was among the top in class by the second week. I like programming, but what if it’s not for me?

To make things worse, I’m terrible at design. It’s embarassing. My only good looking projects are the ones I copied the ui appearance from the Material Design guidelines.

If I can never impress, how can I ever get a job, or at least freelance?

PS: Is it essential to spend on hosting to learn backend?
Sorry I’m giving you a full plate to deal with.

1 Like

Hey @Ebecode.

I think a lot of people been in your position. Do you have a portfolio? If so, what projects do you have there? Employers need proof that you know what you are applying to. Check these links for improving your LinkedIn profile, I don’t know if you’ve tried this but I’m sure you will find them useful for getting a job:

I don’t know much about freelancing apart from testing at uTest, but I think the more you know the better. Here are some posts that may help you with that:

I’m also terrible at design, so I suggest you check these resources to help you improve that:

Don’t get discouraged and keep trying!

I’d stop you right there, what wall? None of what you have told me sounds like a wall. They all sounds like setbacks but not walls.

Breaking the job market isn’t easy, but I’d say it isn’t that hard either. If you think you should be able to get 1% of jobs you apply to, then apply to 500 jobs, and you get 5 offers. (!) Obviously applying to 500 jobs isn’t easy, takes tons of time and effort, but that’s it. If a job says 2-3 years of experience, then apply and say you have 2-3 years experience learning the technology, that should be good enough. Even if you get rejected at some stage, find out why and improve that area if you can.
If anything each rejection should give you feedback on where you need to improve.

Freelancing is harder than getting a full job IMO. Freelancing requires a mix of skills that all rely on you. Your the marketer, salesman, manager, and developer.

I don’t believe in learning X because you failed at Y, which you stated a few times. Pick something and grind. If you want to learn the MERN stack, go learn the MERN stack. If you run into issues, figure them out. It might take time and grit, but that’s the whole point! Employers want people who can get the job done, if you already have done the job by yourself then there is a higher chance in hiring you :smiley:

Now for your questions:

  1. I’ve re-built my development environment at least 5 times by now. I’m a Linux guy so installing Linux on any machine I can get my hands on, and setting up my dev environment it almost like a hobby haha! There’s always some issues installing Linux most of the time. Since we are talking low-risk issues, there’s always the “I can just nuke the whole thing” solution, but otherwise I google my way thru most issues.

  2. Yup, but I also don’t think I’m a very good salesman/marketer. Also, the cost of living is high where I live so freelancing is almost out of the question due to the financial cost of living. I would never look at the “I need a static web page” jobs that flood most freelance sites. Like you, I’m a terrible designer so I wouldn’t be able to compete there.

  3. Not sure what you mean by “core skills that can get you an income”. If you need income now, go down to the local fast food place and get a part-time job! In the mean-time apply to all the jobs under the sun and improve your skills to apply to more. Now if your asking freelancing I already mentioned the “core” skills you need, which is basically everything.

Don’t take setbacks as “walls” that prevent you from progressing. Keep applying to jobs, keep learning, keep over coming. The only way to really fail at any of this sort of stuff is to give up. Failure is a a temporary state of mind, not an actual position.

Some questions to hopefully clear some thing up…

  • Three years is how much time has passed. How long have you spent learning?
    For some context, I spend about 5 to 10 hours a week on learning, outside of my full-time employment, for the last 20 years.

  • Are you following a curriculum?

  • Have you set any goals?

  • Are there a lot of jobs to apply for where you live?

If you don’t have a clear answer (that is not no) for those questions, you might want to re-evaluate how you are spending your efforts. Working hard is only part of the answer.

Ok, here go the answers. I’ll feel stupid, but here goes:
Answer 1:
I started trying to learn web dev when I was in uni because I wanted to learn to code as fast as possible (they jumped straight to C#, no intro to programming). I had an old laptop (from 2007 in 2015) and I had never programmed before. I chose web development because I read this article stating that you could become a web dev in 6 months. I started learning html with outdated resources, and then read that I couldn’t program with it, that I had to learn python instead, so I tried it for some time, but I couldn’t understand the book I got.
I got a job, kept going to uni, and tried some codecademy and the new boston for html and css (only got to colors) went to khan Academy for js, but it was just a toy.
I started real js with Eloquent JS and freaked out at the weresquirrel chapter.

I had spent a couple of months with those, trying to dodge C# in Uni going to work and taking my other classes. My study hours were being spent on Uni assignments. I didn’t trust my Uni because all the advanced students I asked had either learned to code another language before or didn’t actually learn in programming class and had passed with teacher’s help (developing country, ok?). I didn’t trust the free resources because they only taught phony code to my knowledge back then. I had tried the Odin Project, but I couldn’t install Ruby. So I got into edX. A few weeks later, I found FCC.

Back in 2016, FCC didn’t go as deep, so my edX course was more through, In two months, I learned HTML and CSS, but the 3 remaining JS sections were a mess. So I hop on FCC and spend a few months on the JS section. But then I got stuck on the Weather App and couldn’t find how to learn DOM or APIs, going back to edX, it felt like hand holding and the concepts didn’t really click (I didn’t know about MDN, weird huh?).

It felt like a mess. I was frustrated with some work issues, I had failed several subjects in Uni. I had always been an A student, always, so that got me depressed. I wasn’t learning, had no good books suggested by Uni, couldn’t learn something I wanted to learn. Neither could I switch careers because I had done that several times already, I didn’t dare (long story, still painful). I dropped out of Uni at that time. I also became inactive on FCC back then (mid to late 2017).

I kept plowing through edX, hated it, wasted time on YouTube for 2 -3 months. Quit my job.
I finished edX in summer 2018 (in the US), got my certificate, but felt totally unprepared for a job. I checked FCC, loved the updated curriculum. Rushed it (in DR), until I got to the Sass section (nov - dec 2018).
Tried to follow previous p1xt guide because it was recommended (here at the forum), but I didn’t want to start over. Wasted weeks trying to pick a framework. Tried to learn Sass. (March 2019). Built a couple of p1xt clones (when I finally did learn DOM in real life).
Still getting stuck on Sass setup and compilation. I was living in a rural area, farming and trying to make sense of my life.

Do I have any goals? Yes. I want to be a web developer because, even if I’m wrong, I see it as my only chance to still be successful even if I couldn’t succed in Uni.
I want to be successful like my siblings (who still believe I’m the smartest of them). I want to make my parent’s proud and be able to care for them in their old age. But now, I don’t have a certain future, I don’t have a career, I don’t want to get in debt, and becoming a web developer seems like the only way to change that.

I came back to the US because there are barely any web dev jobs in DR. I’m not ready, but I want to be. I’ll need to get an unrelated job for now until I can get a coding job.

I wish I had a reliable guide. FCC is great, it really is, but the tooling to link the technologies together confuses me, and all the tech articles that pop out disorient me with all the new stuff I don’t know. I wish I had a mentor I could trust.

Look guys, it’s ok if you think I’m nuts. It’s ok if you say I’m a wimp, but this has been my path, and I want to be a web developer because I don’t want to be a loser for the rest of my life.

By the way, thanks so much for your posts. Thanks for listening.

That’s a good start. But it’s also a bit of a mess. But that’s normal, so don’t stress over that part (I constantly go back and forth on what to learn next).

In the US, you can get a programming job if you know how to program in Python, C#, JavaScript, Java, or PHP. You only need 1 to start. You don’t have to be great, you just have to believe in your ability to solve the problem (that’s the 1 thing I have plenty of - I know I can solve the problem).

First: Pick a career oriented goal. For example -

“I want to be employed as a <specific language> programmer.”

Second: Pick a language. Whichever one you want.

Maybe check to see what there are the most of where you live? I live in Texas. C# and Java skills will be bill payers for the foreseeable future. JavaScript and Python are growing in popularity quickly. PHP has a smaller, but still steady presence. Find out what it looks like where you live. Contact a couple of recruiters that advertise entry level/junior positions and ask them what your resume/CV should have on it. A good recruiter will work with you and help you shape your CV and give you ideas on what skills to emphasize.

Start with those. Spend some time on them. Once you pick a specific goal and pick a specific language - then you can look around for a path to get there. Remember, there is no perfect path. You just need a path to start on. Once you do that, there are several ways to move forward.

1 Like

Thanks whipdancer. I can’t say it was a quick fix, but neither can I thank you enough for helping restore my confidence. I almost thought I was hopeless.
I will focus.

Also, I want to thank Brad and Lucas. Thanks for caring and reading my rant.

(Virtual hug).
(You can take an http high five instead if it’s too much):grin: