When is it time to call it quits?

I’ve been learning this stuff for two years. I’ve spent $10,000 on a coding bootcamp which was pretty great while it lasted. But I’m still not employable.

Some advice I’ve received is to build out my most promising app more to include features that are actually usable, work on interview stuff, etc. HackerRank is the only thing I really know of, so I try that. Problem 1 of the Interview Prep series has me absolutely stumped. I check the discussions for the solution and even that doesn’t make sense.

What have I gotten myself into? How do I know when it’s time to call it quits?


Only you can really know whether it is time to call it quits.

For me, if I felt like I had tried absolutely everything within my power to get a job in the field, and I was still getting nowhere I’d probably quit. Or if I absolutely had to take an unrelated job to make ends meet and that took all of my coding time away from me, then I would at least postpone the dream.

That said, have you tried everything in your power?


  • how many jobs have you applied for?
  • how long have you been applying for jobs?
  • have you attended meetups or other networking events with a view to seeking out work?
  • do you live in an area with opportunities for junior devs?
  • have you run your resume (and linkedin profile) past people with experience to ensure it’s hitting the right kind of talking points?
  • do you have a polished portfolio demonstrating skills expected of junior devs?
  • have you sought feedback from unsuccessful interviews as to what areas you could improve upon?

Getting your first job as a web developer is really hard.

A friend of mine is incredibly experienced and even he struggled for months to get his next senior position just because of our local job market and his particular work needs.

Read as many of the success stories on here and look for the details that mirror your situation as much as possible. Everybody’s success is ultimately a combination of a whole load of variables, so you can’t hope to just do what someone else did and get the job - but if you try as many of the things you see others doing as possible, eventually something will click.

As for the algorithms - some places will want you to be able to solve algorithms and others won’t even bring it up in an interview. It just depends on you finding the right place.

Someone somewhere needs someone who can do what you currently know how to do. You just have to find them :slight_smile:


If you enjoy writing code then never call it quits, get a normal job and freelance on the side. After a few years of freelancing you should have a solid portfolio and might get hired faster.

If you don’t enjoy coding and are simply doing it for the money or some other perks, there’s other jobs out there that will allow you to make the same amount of money and same perks in less than 2 years.

I personally enjoy coming home to write code after my full time job, I enjoy the challenge, I might never get a job in it, but I’ll always write code.


how many jobs have you applied for?
how long have you been applying for jobs?
have you attended meetups or other networking events with a view to seeking out work?
do you live in an area with opportunities for junior devs?
have you run your resume (and linkedin profile) past people with experience to ensure it’s hitting the right kind of talking points?
do you have a polished portfolio demonstrating skills expected of junior devs?
have you sought feedback from unsuccessful interviews as to what areas you could improve upon?

  • 35
  • 4 months
  • I have attended networking meetups, but not enough
  • Area w/ opportunities for jr. devs: I don’t really know. Seattle. I’ve spoken with someone that got a job right out of college for a software engineer role. He’s been there three years and is now a level IV engineer.
  • I’ve run my résumé by several people. They all say it’s well-formatted, includes all the right bits, and it even passes through the automated system that some larger places use. Several agree on one point: I need at least one app with more robust features.
  • I have not had any interviews yet.

So I’ve been working on adding features to make my MERN app more robust. They’re features I wanted to add from the beginning, too, so it’s something I’m interested in doing. However, when I try to implement something that seems simple in my head, but I can’t figure it out despite Google, docs, videos, it gets to be really discouraging. Not having a soundboard like I would at a place of employment is really tough, because sometimes I just need a rubber-duck that talks back.

I have found myself someone that’s offered to mentor, and he’s agreed to meet up today (second meeting), but he’s also super busy, so it won’t be a regular thing. Someone else offered as well (I didn’t ask), but they’ve been unresponsive, for the most part.

One person says to hit HackerRank hard and just land interviews until I score a position somewhere so that I can learn more on the job. But I don’t want to be that guy that drags their team down and gets fired. I have a history of learning on-the-job and rising to senior positions within only a couple of years, but I feel this is very different.

Others say to build out that app, go to meetups, etc.

Right now – and maybe it’s only right now – I feel pulled in so many directions. Go to meetups, work on building out those features, practice interview materials. And that’s not including spending time with my partner and kiddo. I’ve been at this two years and I’m feeling like a failure of a parent and partner, and a failure as a developer. I have a job, and it’s awesome, but it doesn’t pay much, and it on top of this is just a lot to keep doing.

I can only be gung-ho for so long, you know?

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What projects have you been learning in your spare time? There is only so far that Bootcamps can take you and unless you really start doing the work yourself and using your own initiative, you’ll get nowhere.

There is a ‘wall’ in programming that you must overcome in order to really ‘get’ it. It seems you just havn’t stepped over yet. That is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

Create your own projects you are passionate about. If you get stuck, think about it for an evening. (It’s helpful to break down your problem into steps, in plan English (I need to do this, then this, and I need to send this back)) then come back to it and see if you can crack it. It really is the only way.

Keep going.


I don’t know if any others that pay as well, with as good benefits, room to grow, etc. as the software industry without a piece of paper from a university.

I sat down with my mentor today and walked through some things. He said many of the issues I’m having are much of the same he has being a remote engineer. Once we get talking, I understand most of what’s being discussed, or can at least pseudo-code my way through.

So that’s reassuring.

@ArcticPirate - all my projects are personal projects. The full stack MERN app is a carryover from my time with the coding boot camp, but it’s 100% mine. I’ve been working on it since after I submitted it for its original purpose, and had future implementations planned already.

I think you’re 100% right about the wall. I’ve read about it elsewhere, I’ve thought about it myself, and today my mentor mentioned it. Everyone says it’ll come.

My mentor also brought up a point. I was skipping a valuable step in my most recent roadblock. I’m creating a data visualization component with React, utilizing a third part tool. I did their provided tutorial, everything worked well, then I went straight to attempting to plug it in with my data in a new component on a feature branch. Instead, I should have created a very basic stateless component with just the bones of the third party tool (a chart scale). Once I get that to work, I should then move on to plugging in dummy data to make sure that all works properly. Only then should I attempt to plug in my actual data.

So that’s what I’m going to be working on. I’ve always been someone that struggles to break down big pictures into smaller bits, so this is something I need to work on if I’m serious about this.

That, and getting to more meetups.


There are other positions besides dev in the software industry. You can start making 75k as an entry level SDR (sales development rep, you don’t even have to sell anything, just book appt.) at a software company with no college degree, search it up on indeed. Listen, you can put a negative spin on any suggestion anyone offers on here, at the end of the day, the only one that can help you is you. I would suggest you start thinking more positive and keep up the grind. Like they say, nothing worth having comes easy.

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I love Veghead.
If I were you I would not give up yet.
I would make sure all your example projects are working 100%.
This one has an error with the map: https://daviddoes.github.io/projects/teo-hannum/index.html
Stick at it and you will get there.


Thanks, Johnny.

I had not noticed that map error. Thanks!
I an hoping to remove that one from my portfolio, though. I think it might do more harm than good being on there.

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Hi I just wanted to say I appreciate your post. I actually have a similar learning path as you. I have been been self learning for 2 years now, though i choose to enroll in college instead of a bootcamp. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to quit or am just so discouraged from even applying to jobs. I haven’t had any luck either on getting a job/internship search. Although my city really has very few opportunities that come up.

I did see you said you put about 35 job applications in, I do think you can up that a little. A recent breakthrough finally happen though, which was an accomplishment to me. I was so happy recently to get an interview, it didn’t go anywhere, but it was encouraging to finally get a call. It took probably a 100 applications or more though.

I believe with the knowledge you have and being in the awesome tech area you live in, with a few more applications and going to meetups it can be super helpful for you. Going to meetups are awesome just to learn and sometimes help others. This will also help you realize how much you know, sometimes how little as well :).

I finally got to a point to just code all the time and not even care what happens anymore. I am always applying to jobs, but I am also okay every time it doesn’t work out because I just keep working harder and if a place looks over me it really just isn’t the right fit for me. I wish you the best and hope you find what your looking for soon. Thanks for sharing your story so far. It helps other to hear it like myself, especially when you get the job your looking for and when you do please let us know.

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My feedback:

-35 job applications over 4 months is not very much IMO.

-Weather its Tech, Finance, Sales, you name it, most people gets jobs because of their connections not by just blasting out their resume in hopes of landing something. Start networking and get connected with the right people.

-If you enjoy making web pages and do it well I say just Freelance. Plenty of opportunities out there where you can make real money and build your portfolio up. If maybe very part-time at the beginning but if you stick with it and do a good job you will start building a book of business and you might get to point where its a full-time enterprise. I know people who have never gotten an official job in tech but know their stuff and just do projects either on the side or full-time if they have built their base / business up.

I get this, I do.

However, I also feel pulled in several directions. Folks say “keep building” or “go network” or “keep applying for jobs”, but honestly, there aren’t enough hours in the week to do them all. And I know 35 is not a lot, and that’s because of this being pulled in different directions.

As for freelancing, I’ve looked into it. I just haven’t found any way to do it.

I do have an idea for an application I could build and sell on an e-commerce platform that would actually make a lot of peoples’ jobs much easier, so I plan to start that after I have my current project in a good place.

THIS… I can relate. My wife just looks at me weird when I celebrate that something finally works. It’s a weird, unique, adictive pleasure


Hah! I agree.

I actually have this thing I do whenever I figure something out. Jason Mraz has a great song called You Fckn Did It. I push ‘Play’, scoot out my chair, do a stretch, and start dancing. My partner and kiddo think it’s pretty great / embarrassing.


When you’ve done your absolute best to learn the current employable techs and sent job applications (well written) or made calls day and night with 0 results; not even a “we’ll let you know”.

Or when you feel burned out but not quit completely just take some vacation and try again.

It’s not easy to know when your vocational choice isn’t the best for you but you kinda know the signs. For me it’s when I studied graphic design and saw that I had 0 talent or creativity for it; I even tried photography and editorial but my brain just couldn’t do it.

I know its not a popular thing to say on fcc, as here we always cheer on the “coding is for everyone and no one should ever consider an other job than coding”. But for me, i don’t think this is true. I think some people are better in other jobs. There are other fun jobs. Coding can be fun, other jobs can be fun. Most the time, what your good at is what you love to do. As in: if you like coding, you probably become good at it. Now, this may ofcourse sometimes differ and there may be people that:

  • are no good at coding but like it.
  • are good at coding but dont like it.
    either way, its not a match, and it will be a tuff time to keep up appearance no matter which it.

On the other hand, training can beat talent. If you like coding, there is probably a way to reach what you want. Also, im not saying ur bad at it. Ur just not at thát point.

Only you can decide whats what.

Oh, also, the forum really helped a lot with my resume, so I’d recommend making a new topic asking for resume review as well.

An encouraging story as well: I applied for around 40 jobs in the US before I got hired. I interviewed for 2. At the first job I interviewed for, I felt it was almost underwhelming what they wanted me to work on it. Converting simple mockups (no pushing the boundaries of modern design, straight 2005 style generic websites) into HTML, CSS, JS and only framework they wanted was jQuery. Pay was $15/hour.

The job I accepted had a coding test attached. They’d review the resume (I don’t think it was automated, hand-reviewed) and send the coding test to promising applicants. When I asked HR she said at the point she got to my resume there were already like 100+ applicants and she just started approving anyone that’s resume looked like they knew what they were doing.

The coding test was a different story. I got 7/8 questions right. The one I missed was 1 of the 2 Python questions. I just studied made that application bot I mentioned above in order to practice Python in the 2 days that I had before the testing window closed (test was also timed). JS, HTML/CSS, and SQL questions made up the rest of the test and felt easy for me. Apparently the test was hard, because <10% of applicants passed it.

The coding interview came down to me and 2 other people. My point is that I studied on Codecademy, FCC, and built projects. I used the forum as much as possible for support and resume/cover letter critiques/info/advice. I don’t have a CS background. The applications are a black hole, but when you get in front of someone, you’ll have the tools to impress. So don’t think “I’m unemployable.” Think, “It’s a pain in the ass to get in front of someone, but I know I can do the job, so I’m just waiting for that lucky phone call so I can keep doing what I’ve been doing the last 2 years but get paid for it.”

I literally spend 85% of my time at work learning what the heck a function does or WHAT IS PYTHON lol. You got this. Positive thinking, some optimization of your time, and continued effort. It will happen.

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Edit and also note-to-self: What if you add a zero to both of those numbers and keep working on your skills and portfolio in the meantime?

This is awesome! Do you have a repo for your Indeed scraper, or care to chat privately about it?

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