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Valentine Samuel
Valentine Samuel

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Fears of an Unemployed Software Engineer and Fresh Graduate 😔

“Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it… that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.” — Dale Carnegie

If anyone finds this article and they are having the same thoughts as me, maybe they could learn something new or possibly contribute to others to learn.


Honestly, I lack the right adjectives to describe my feelings but I'm 100% sure that I have a lot on my mind... A lot of what ifs😔.

Around October 2016, I gained admission into the university to study urban and regional planning. I was very happy because I loved designing real estate structures like houses, layouts, cities, etc. It was a five-year course but I ended up doing it for almost 7 years because of the broken educational system😭. In 2017, which was my second year, I started gaining a lot of interest in programming but I didn't have anybody to hold my hand and teach me the basics, so it was a very tough path for me because I had to figure everything out myself.

I got started with HTML and CSS but after some weeks, I got demotivated and abandoned web development (because of CSS🤭). I tried to see if there are other areas I would like, then I found data science. It wasn't long before I dropped it due to all the mathematics and statistics that scared me (I never used to like calculations😂). I knew there had to be something in tech that suits me so I tried Native android development with Java. After some weeks, I also abandoned it because learning Java felt like a suicide mission, it felt like my brain was twisted in endless braids. I had more headaches than Java knowledge and Android studio gave me a very tough time during installation because I always tried to install it offline like a normal application software(such a noob😂). This period of picking and dropping technologies lasted for nearly 2 years and I didn't have so much time to practice them because of how time-consuming my university coursework was.

Well, I decided it was time to try something else. So I decided to completely abandon software programming and go for hardware programming. I loved Arduino because I could work on projects that I could touch and I also loved the fact that I was going to learn new stuff about electricity and some physics. (I never understood anything in science class back in secondary school 😂), but because I couldn't afford the Arduino kit at that time, I had to look into something else. At this point, I lost hope that I would ever do any programming in my life so I just abandoned programming and stuck with doing architectural and planning drawings.

Fast forward to February 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak hit Nigeria and the whole country was on lockdown so schools were closed. I thought this was a great time to try out this programming venture again(no pain, no gain was my slogan😂). After all the trial and error, I felt like it was time to focus on one thing. After assessing myself, I realized that I have not learned anything at all as a result of jumping from one area to another. I decided to stick with HTML and CSS again, this time I was ready to battle it out because I had a lot of spare time after doing my house chores. Finally, I was getting a hang of it and everything started making sense.

From May 2020, I was practicing and honing my skills from morning till night, Monday to Sunday and I was also passionate about mobile app development so I was learning the flutter framework on the side. I built a couple of projects but it later became difficult because the flutter course I was following suddenly became too fast-paced for me to understand anything. So that was the end of my flutter journey.

I got discouraged and thought I was too dumb to understand programming so I bailed out on it again (for the umpteenth time🤦🏾‍♂️). But I was having quite an unsettling feeling that I couldn't program. In August 2020, I continued from where I stopped and learned JavaScript then I proceeded to learn git and GitHub. Gradually, the little efforts I made during those sleepless nights began to add up and that's how I became comfortable writing HTML, CSS, JavaScript and using Git. In December 2020, I began learning Angular and it wasn't as difficult as people said. I knew it couldn't be so difficult because other people had learned it too. In February 2021, I went back to the university and I could say I was a Junior frontend developer. That is why 2020, which was a year of chaos for some people, was the best year of my life.

So, from 2020 till date, I have been building a lot of projects and I learned other tools and technologies like React.js, Nodejs, Mongodb, Typescript, Python, Linux operating systems and a lot of stuff. I even picked up technical writing and I feel it's a great way to express myself. I have tried applying for Jobs but I haven't been lucky enough to get one so I started freelancing by building web applications for small businesses.

Why the fear?

Now, it's February 2023, I just graduated from the university. I know what I want, I have a plan and several backup plans for this stage of my life. I am a bit prepared because I knew it was inevitable but I am a bit scared. To be honest, I am very scared. Because:

  • what if I don't get a software engineering role that I have always worked for?

  • what if it takes too long to get a software engineering role?

  • when will I get it?

  • am I not good enough to get it?

  • is there something wrong that I don't know about?

  • am I missing any important skill even for a front-end developer or full-stack software engineer?

These are the questions I keep asking myself. But I know that one day, I'll get a good software engineering position. I have now gone fullstack in a bid to learn more, build more projects and also be open to a wider range of opportunities. As my dad always tells me:

"Because you didn't get this opportunity doesn't mean a bigger one is not waiting for you."

For me, this quote means a lot to me because I have been looking for a frontend developer job for 2 years but I have not been able to get into any. Moving forward, I'm improving my skills in problem solving, Nodejs, Mongodb, Next.js, Data Structures and Algorithms (that's my current weakness😭), Typescript, SQL, testing, Cloud engineering, systems design(I really love it🥰), technical writing and other stuff. Maybe a senior software engineering position is waiting for me. Who knows?🤷🏾‍♂️. I would rather prepare my self for bigger opportunities than worry about not getting a smaller one because if the bigger one comes and I'm not prepared, it's going to be a problem. I think one of the key takeaways from this article is that "Going down is natural but staying down is a choice". I could have decided to forget about coding totally but the passion I had for it made me put in the extra effort. No matter how much life overwhelms you, you can still pick your self up and continue the journey.

Wow, my chest feels lighter just by sharing my thoughts here. It's 3:45am, I'm just lying on my bed as I clack away at keyboard. I don't even know if I should publish this article or not. I feel it's too personal and the article is quite disorganized but at the same time, I feel other people might be in a similar situation. I actually plan to write more often here on since I'm going to be doing a lot of learning..

Please, don't forget to leave a comment or like. Till next time guys.


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