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Cover image for Do you recommend quitting a 9-5 to learn web development full time?

Do you recommend quitting a 9-5 to learn web development full time?

Nočnica Fee
Actually the pug from Dune (1984)
・1 min read

There is a choice many of us can be confronted with, sticking to our 9-5 job and learning web dev part time, or fully investing in web development. What are your stories and tips for someone struggling to decide?

Discussion (14)

perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education • Edited

We think that learning - 'part-time' is essential to learning the fastest. Crazy, right!? But - while you're at work... getting paid etc - you can do a lot of the thinking and preparing. If you set up a system of learning a solid concept (and fair amount of work for a day) - you can let them sink in throughout the day. A video / or lesson in the morning - and then - you think about it while in transit / maybe apply the idea to something you do at work. Learning about 'data structures' and 'collections' - then while you're at the grocery store, you can think about how things are grouped - and what is on each item, and why you might want to sort them. Then when you get home - you've been ingesting it all day. You can work on your challenges - and maybe even talk to some other students or something. You could also go all in and try and learn 5 stacks and stay up all night and cram... but that doesn't seem to work out well. Our suggestion (even if you are not employed) is to learn 'part time' - in that way. Half the battle is learning how to tune out the noise and get in a work/life rhythm. Always happy to discuss it! We have a set of books we recommend.

ALSO - I forgot: We wrote an article about that: is-it-possible-to-learn-web-develo...

thongpham profile image
Thong Pham

I had been working 9-5 as a Software Tester and self-learning to code in the evening at the same time for almost two years before transitioning to Developer position. I think that approach works best for my situation; here are why:

  • I need to pay my bills, so I had to work fulltime
  • Working in a Software development team helped me to learn other skills required for a developer: Agile, scrum, Development cycle, Communication. I also made friends to some of the developer coworkers, who become my mentors. Additionally, IMO, junior Software Tester Job is easy to get, It does not require much knowledge (I don't have a CS degree)
  • After learning times, I requested the manager for a transition to Developer role in the same team, he accepted with two months of probation, and I passed!

That was my story, hoping someone found it useful

nocnica profile image
Nočnica Fee Author

I spent years doing tech support and learning on my own. It worked out eventually!

jcolag profile image
John Colagioia (he/him)

Unless you're very young, and you're sufficiently well-connected that you know precisely who is going to give you a job when you're done with your self-education (for example, if you have a friend who has committed to hiring you)--not to mention your not needing the money--your job is a resource that you shouldn't give up unless you need to.

For example, if you mostly have a white-collar job, a lot of your work can probably be automated, giving you a good opportunity to put what you're learning into real practice that most students don't get. That's actual experience that you get to talk about on your eventual job interviews, plus (if you do a good job) you get a former employer who will vouch for your improving their business in a demonstrable way.

Similarly, if you're at a company of a significant size, you probably have colleagues who program as a part of their job. This gives you a chance to get help from people you already have a reason to talk to and, potentially, puts you in a position where you can transfer to that department when a position opens up, where your lack of programming experience might be outweighed by your knowledge of the business. And even if you don't take a job inside the same company, the fact that you can program and know your existing job is going to be a benefit to some employer.

Granted, you might be too busy after work to practice, because everybody's life is different. But don't dismiss the value of a job just because it isn't what you want to do permanently.

nocnica profile image
Nočnica Fee Author

I'd really highlight the third paragraph here. Finding developers where you work is a key step if you're working a white collar job.

henryjw profile image
Henry Williams

It depends on the circumstances. I wouldn't recommend it unless you really hate your job and/or have like 6+ months worth of savings to burn.
Honestly, unless you have a good network, it's difficult to find a job as an inexperienced web developer. I know from experience because I did just that, quit my job to study full time. It took me almost 2 months of looking for a job (after 4 months of studying) to find a job despite having 1.5 years experience as a production support engineer / developer and having a CS degree.

Do I regret doing it? Nope! It was probably the best decision I've made in my life! I hated support and love development.

Would I do it again? Probably. I should have spent more time studying while employed, but I guess I just hated my job so much that it made me depressed and miserable.

So, yea. If you have a decent job, I'd recommend sticking it out and finding time during nights and weekends to study. Trust me, it becomes harder and harder to focus on studying money starts becoming a problem.

sayjava profile image
Raymond Ottun

is this more of a financial question though? if you have the means to support yourself, then why not, there are times that I would have loved to quit my 9-5 to work on a side project but then a quick glance at the bank account draws me back to reality.

nocnica profile image
Nočnica Fee Author

yeah, and the fact is a lot of the 'quit your job and chase your dreams' advice comes from people with a ton of privilege. Be it an easy way to get another job as a fallback, parents to bail them out, or a lot of assets in their household (e.g. a partner who's stably employed).

Fundamentally no single piece of advice works for everyone. As a single parent it's a struggle to make time for coding after 5pm. If I had to re-tool quickly I would have to stop working, no matter the risk that entailed.

martixy profile image
Martin Ninov

I recommed quitting 9-5 regardless.

If you have the self discipline and the ability to save up for a few months of no work, try it, doesn't have to be web development. Take up carpentry.

But you gotta be confident you'll spend that time off productively.

Web dev is easy to get into and hard to master. The Devs stuck in the middle are the bane of my existence.

tjoye20 profile image
Tolu (Tj) Oyeniyi

Questions to ask before quitting your job to study coding full-time:
-do you have a place to stay while unemployed?
-if not, do you have a way to pay your lease? -Can you survive job searching for about 3-6 months with no income?
-does your current job have a potential developer opportunity? (You don't want to burn a bridge here)

If you answered "no" to ANY of the first three questions, then you should keep your job.

I teach people how to code at and most of my students have a full-time job. The most important part of my program that really helps them is the mentorship, weekly check-ins, and video sessions we do to keep them on track, allowing them to work around their schedule. We're also a LOT cheaper than coding bootcamps. Check us out in case we can help you on your coding journey.

rishabk7 profile image
Rishab Kumar

Thanks for asking this! I would love to know what experienced folks have to say!

nocnica profile image
Nočnica Fee Author

I didn’t want to put my own answer in the post but I will answer here: I wouldn’t quit a 9-5 unless it’s so taxing your unable to function the rest of the time.

Learning in your off hours is tough! And once you’re a working developer most other developers spend zero hours outside of work learning. But it is true that most developers learn new stuff in a very unstructured way, so you might want to get used to that studying on your own.

The case is altered if you have a free or nearly free ticket to a quality coding boot camp. Then it might be worth it to quit your day job! But keep in mind you might be job seeking for a year after that camp ends. So it might be a good idea to stay employed!