Thanks FCC - I got my first job as a front-end developer!

Thanks FCC - I got my first job as a front-end developer!
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#1

Edit: Thank you all for the congratulations and encouraging responses! I went on vacation for a week and was totally overwhelmed by all the emails and PMs that resulted from this post when I returned. There are a lot of questions to see my resume/cover letter; I am by no means an expert but I’ll try to address those questions in a separate post very soon. Thank you all again and I’ll keep you updated on the new job!

So it’s official. Starting October 16th, I will be an official, salaried front-end web developer. (:smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: !) Here’s a look at my coding journey:

  • Received my BS in Chemistry in 2014. Loved the problem solving and was really good at the subject but not entirely passionate about it…
  • Got accepted to a chemistry Ph.D. program and started in fall 2014.
  • Dropped out of the program before Xmas break 2015. I’d enjoyed some aspects like troubleshooting experiments, refining procedures, and teaching, but disliked most organic lab work.
  • Got hired for a part-time nanny gig
  • I found FCC the week after I dropped out and spent most of my ‘break’ learning.
  • Learned on-and-off while nannying and exploring other income possibilities (i.e. marketing, crafting, writing, etc)
  • Started the web dev job search around March 2017 while I was still nannying, but had to leave town to take care of my mom so I put the job hunt on hold.
  • Returned home in May and continued my nanny gig (I stopped looking for dev jobs since I was so grateful they’d kept my job open while I was gone). That became a full-time commitment.
  • Didn’t do anything coding-related for several months, until I found a part-time marketing job with a tech-related nonprofit. Being in a techy workplace inspired me to start coding again.
  • About a month ago, had some minor emergencies that made getting a dev job my highest priority.
  • After applying to ~5 jobs per day for a couple weeks, I got an email back from a company hiring for a Web Designer/Developer. They wanted to interview me the next day.

How I Prepared for the Interview

The job ad had been vague with no information at all about the company, except that they wanted someone with experience in Bootstrap, front-end development, Adobe design products, and the Wordpress CMS. When I received their info in the interview email, I immediately jumped onto their websites to do pre-interview research. So note: this wasn’t an agency, but a small business looking for someone to fill their sole developer position.

My focus in applying or reaching out to companies is to make myself out to be the problem-solver they’re looking for. The sites this company owned had a lot of issues - fixed-size items in responsive containers, div-itis and divs being used to center things in containers, but totally breaking the layout on mobile… AHH!

To foster a more conversational interview, I made a gigantic list of topics to bring up so that I could position myself as an expert. I brought my laptop and, during the interview, pulled up Chrome developer tools and Pesticide, sang praises about version control and clean code, and so on. :woman_technologist:

The Offer

I know women (and in general, everyone facing impostor syndrome) can be wary about coming off as arrogant or advocating for themselves when it comes to things like salary and career advancement. I’m usually the quiet, non-confrontational type and I’ve never been in a situation of negotiating salary so I was caught a little off-guard during the interview.

In the interview, my interviewers let it be known that I was the last person of many being interviewed and that they were shooting for an hourly rate that was just kind of…meh. I wasn’t too thrilled about it, so when they asked about my interest level I backed off somewhat and kept insisting my salary requirements were higher than they were looking for.

Lo and behold, after the weekend, I received an email asking for a second meeting with this company. They started the meeting by saying they talked it through and would meet my salary requirement, and they would be willing to further negotiation in 6 months time.

I ACCEPTED!

More Perspective - Where I’m At

I got my job offer ~22 months after starting FCC. There were times when I was coding every day for weeks on end, and then there were times when I didn’t code for months on end.

When I fell off the bandwagon, I just picked up where I left off. Sure, I had to do some backtracking but there was no need to completely start over.

I haven’t even finished Free Code Camp’s front-end certification, so don’t feel like you need to have a piece of (virtual) paper in hand to get a job.

Here’s my portfolio for reference.

My coding advice

  • Get a local development environment up and running as soon as you can. I used parts of The Odin Project to get my computer setup and get started using Git and command line.
  • Start a website - it doesn’t matter what it is. Having the experience setting one up is super valuable, and it looks great on your resume.
  • Always be trying to do things better. Learn about cool things like modular CSS and functional JavaScript and always be trying to improve.
  • Get out of your comfort zone. Hate CSS? Sign up for a challenge that will push you to improve. (I’ve come to realize that hate of a language/process/framework/whatever is just my brain telling me it’s uncomfortable with its lack of understanding.)
  • Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself and your skills. I love, love, love Free Code Camp and all the free learning materials out there, but there are just some things that wouldn’t click for me until I found the right resources. APIs, I’m talking about you. For example, Treehouse has saved me many times over with their insanely clear big-picture explanations and focus on best practices. That’s not to say you have to go that route - just know what works for you, and foster a learning environment that helps you do your best work.
  • Acknowledge how far you’ve come by helping people who are just starting. This can be a huge self-esteem boost when you’re feeling stuck.
  • Take breaks when you need to. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten frustrated with a project, taken a week off to not think about it, and had a glorious a-ha moment where everything suddenly makes sense.

Cool job hunting resources

How to Write a Good Resume in 2017: I followed the tips and resume template in this awesome post
How to Write a Cover Letter: Once I started using these tips, I began getting way more responses (even if just to say they appreciated my application and to reapply when I have more experience).

You can find my blog at lupecamacho.com
Let’s be Twitter buddies! @lupecamach0


How I landed 2 part-time dev jobs
Thank you Community - I just got my first Front-End Web Developer Job. Here's my story :)
#2

Awesome! Congrats!

:fist_right::boom::fist_left:


#3

Thanks Jeremy! :tada::tada::tada:


#4

congrats and keep going :wink:


#5

Congratulations and thanks for the interview’s hints!!

Really helpful!


#6

Congratulations!

And thank you for this extensive write up of your experiences and tips for success.

I know myself and other campers will find this super helpful and encouraging!


#7

Congratulations! Super awesome you didn’t back down on salary level, but instead they met yours!


#8

Congratulations! And I just wanted to say that your post was very encouraging.


#9

Congrats. Thank you so much for sharing. It’s very encouraging to read the experiences of another woman in the field. I can’t help but feel guilty when I don’t study my coding every day, but your post makes me feel better. It’s definitely not an excuse to slack, but rather a reminder that you don’t have to run yourself ragged. Thank you again.


#10

Congratulations on your new job, and having successfully made the transition to developer! Thanks for writing this recap of your coding journey so far and sharing the insights you’ve had along the way.

Congratulations! Haseeb would be proud!


#11

Thank you for sharing. Your experience is eerily similar to mine, starting a science grad program in fall 2014 before becoming disillusioned. :scream: Still no job here though. I hope our stories turn out the same! :crossed_fingers:

Best wishes in the future. Be sure to keep us updated on the new position on here or on Twitter.


#12

I’m so glad you found it encouraging! :grinning: Where are you at in your journey?


#13

Thanks very much for sharing your journey and so happy for you on getting a job on your salaried terms! I know myself how it can be. It actually also really helps with that how we took wrong paths and have come to realisation on what we should do with our life.

Like you said you even enrolled for Phd, but then realised maybe it is not for me. I was offered to do one too, but thanks god I rejected it. anyway, we all have done this in personal and professional life!!!

Thanks again for sharing it, have a great time at your new job and hope you would love it! This post gives me and believe a lot of us hope!! You are right this forum and Free code camp is just so good, I love it too and it is because it seems good people created it and good people like you are part of it. Looking forward to how you get along.


#14

By the way, nice site clean and modern :smiley: Do let us know about how work is going and what you have to do there in future. Good luck! :smiley:


#15

^^ THIS! I think some of the campers here get some kind of tunnel vision and fail to see the big picture. There were several other women on the forum that got jobs very quickly on the strength of their interview, portfolio and aesthetics/eye-for-design/style skills.

Welp, about a month ago (ok, 40 days to be exact) I started development of a new website/startup during my free time. This afternoon until this evening worked on migration to the live server and finally launched it, also got it’s own FB/twitter accounts for SM marketing. :slight_smile: I can PM you the link if you’re interested.

My longer journey is I’ve been a self-trained/self-employed web developer for last 17+ yrs.


#16

Absolutely! It can be so easy to get tunnel vision, but emerging for fresh air and giving your brain some downtime is essential. :sunflower:


#17

Thanks Quincy! Also, that article is pure gold. :moneybag:


#18

Spooky! :ghost: What field were you in and how long did you stay?
I’m confident our stories will turn out the same, there are just too many tech jobs out there looking for qualified people. You portfolio looks amazing by the way!


#19

Congrats :slight_smile:


#20

@gcamacho079 - I am so happy for you , good luck and keep prospering :slight_smile: