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Jennifer Tieu
Jennifer Tieu

Posted on • Updated on

Starting My Self-Taught Developer Journey

Hello, fellow self-taught developers! I am going to document my journey as a self-taught developer as a reminder and motivator to myself. I also hope this will help others who might be struggling with the same things I am.

Let's get started.


A quick introduction of my coding background, I majored in Geography and minored in Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin. I currently work as a GIS Technician and primarily use Python and SQL. Iโ€™m also taking Harvard's CS50 and participating in #100DaysOfCode on Twitter.

Deciding where to start

After deciding I wanted to become a developer, I began looking into various boot camps and self-taught developer paths. I watched videos, read articles, listened to podcasts, and reached out to people for advice. The more advice I received, the more stressed I became from the overwhelming amount of resources to choose from (paralysis by analysis).

All these options made me realize there isn't a perfect answer or right path to becoming a developer. So I just need to start with what I think would work for me. I narrowed down my choices to what advice resonated with me.

Here is my current study plan:

Review C and the Fundamentals

A Full Stack Developer I know, who's been working for almost 20 years, recommended me to learn C as an intro. They told me C could be used to teach the core concepts, data structures, and algorithms. They suggested I read The C Programming Language, 2nd Edition by Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie.

I have previous experience with C from taking Harvard's CS50 so this will be a good review.

The reason I am going to utilize this in my developer study plan is because I am not confident on my fundamentals of programming. My hope is C will help me grasp concepts easier in the future. Specifically, data structures and algorithms.

Crash Course on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

I will be taking a crash course for each language to learn the basics. I don't want to get trapped in tutorial hell so I will not be spending too much time on watching tutorials.

Build Projects

After finishing the tutorials, I will start building projects, save them on my GitHub, and add them to my portfolio.

The majority of the advice I received emphasized the importance of creating projects. I prefer applied learning so I understand things better from building out and dissecting code.

Determine What Kind of Developer I Want To Be

Researching what kind of developer I want to be and then focusing on the languages, frameworks, etc. for that role.


This is the beginning of my self-taught developer journey. In the future, the plan I laid out might change, but Iโ€™m excited to see where this takes me.

Discussion (4)

atulbhattsystem32 profile image
Atul Bhatt

Quite a self-aware mindset I see reflected in this article.

jennifer_tieu profile image
Jennifer Tieu Author

Thank you! I try to stay realistic, humble, and gracious :)

chiubaca profile image
Alex Chiu

Hey I made the jump from GIS to web dev around 2017 and I've never looked back. Your plan looks solid and similar to what I did. Good luck!

jennifer_tieu profile image
Jennifer Tieu Author

That's awesome! I'm happy to hear that from someone who's been through it before. Thank you!