In this blog, you will know how I became a front-end developer without any related degree. I landed my first developer job a couple of months ago from the day that I write this blog. It's not an easy path for me, I have struggled many times but I ended up accomplished my goal.
I got a background in Aircraft Engineering, I used to work as an aircraft mechanic for 2 years. After I figure out that it's not the time for me to settle down yet, I start to travel. Just so you know the aircraft engineering career is a very long term commitment. You will have to spend at least a minimum of 5 years to move from mechanic to licensed engineer. And that involved many tests and exams. Someone that I know spends solid 10 years from mechanic to licensed engineer.
Another main reason that I do not prefer to work in this career is the nature of the work itself(I hate shift work). So after I know what my future will look like if I continue this path, I decided to quit the job and start exploring the world. At the time of quitting the job, I still have no idea of what I want to do.
How did I get into software development?
I always love computers, gadgets and tech stuff. I used to be a hardcore gamer when I was young. But then it was just a childhood memory to me. Not until I wonder what I really wanted to do for a living. Something related to computers is the first thing that I am interested in. Just so you know I'm really bad at arts but I'm really good at maths and most of the stuff that required logical thinking. So software engineering is the first thing that came up to me. I start to do lots of research and ended up going for web development.
Around the end of the year 2019, I made the most expensive investment in my life from my own saving. And I never know that that investment gonna change my life forever. I bought myself a Macbook Pro. I committed myself that I will accomplish this, so I go all in. But sometimes things did not go as planned.
When things get bad...
My first course is the Web Development Bootcamp by Colt Steel. It's a massive course that covers pretty much everything that you need to know about web development. Of course, I ended up not finish the course. I spend around 2-3 months messing around with Colt's course and some other bits and pieces. I gonna be honest here, it's overwhelming. There are so many things to learn while you know nothing. It's like you are still at zero even you spend months trying to understand things. I admitted I gave up.
If you want something badly, you will come back for it
After I gave up, fast forward about half a year. In late 2020, I started to come back to continue my learning. I know that I won't mess up this time. I put so much effort into my learning schedule. I was working at the cafe at that time from 6.00 am till 4.00 pm 6 days a week. After I came back home I will always be in front of my computer, smashing whatever I need to get done. It was so tired that you have to work full time while you have to spend extra time using your brain learning new things. But after I get used to this schedule I'm kind of feel comfortable with it. Until the day it paid off.
My first developer job
I know that as someone without prior experience and even no educational background it's very hard to land your first job. In this case, I will tell in terms of my perspective and this might be varied depends where you live. At the time I'm applying for a developer job in Sydney, we were in a lockdown situation. During the time that I learn how to code, I saw so many job postings that need developers. So I feel a bit better that if I'm qualified enough it not gonna be too hard to land the first job.
Among developer communities, LinkedIn came first as the job-hunting platform. And I can confirm that it's true. The majority of the job posting on LinkedIn are active. It means that when you apply or DMs those people who listed the job will reply to you. My plan was to apply to the job as many as I can regardless of the job title, as long as it is related to web development I will apply for it. Because I always believed that you need to get yourself out there.
I have to say that in a way I was lucky. The first company that I got an interview with is the company that I ended up sign the contract with. The reason I said that I am lucky is that I apply to so many jobs listing, and I can't remember what I have applied for. One day, I got a contact from one of the agencies. The first word that I heard is that "Hello, I saw you have applied for a senior developer role, but I can tell you that from your profile, you are far from senior." It was a bit of a giggle there but I know that I apply to jobs that I shouldn't apply to. But lucky enough the person who contact me also said that "But anyway, we also looking for a junior developer as well but we haven't put ads out there, and you could be a potential candidate".
Later that day, he sends me the project to work on and told me that I got as many days as I want. I decided to give it a go. The task was about building a project that fetching the data from an external API and display it on the page. Simple is that. But with the limitation of I have to choose between using React or Next.js. I spent the weekend finishing this project and submitted it on Sunday evening. To be honest it was fun to build that project.
After the first review of my project, I got a second interview with the Tech lead and one of the senior dev. They gave me feedback about my project and what I can improve to make it better. At that time I thought I won't get the job as most of the feedback is not in a good way. But it was constructive feedback and I really appreciate that. They told me that they will contact me within 2 days to give the result. I was super nervous, I can't do anything for that 2 days.
The moment they call me back and told me that I got the job I was working at the cafe. I almost scream out. My face was full of smiles that day and I told everyone the good news. They send me the contract and ask me to review it if I'm happy with it or not. I was not fuzzy obviously, got the first dev job offer that I always dream of.
So that's my journey from zero to developer. Hope you enjoy it!
If you want to know more or have any questions just hit me up on Twitter!
Oldest comments (11)
Awesome, and thanks for sharing. Your story is very similar to mine, though I'm still on learning mode.. and I'm right now here "It was so tired that you have to work full time while you have to spend extra time using your brain learning new things."
It's hard and tired. But I keep telling myself all the time that it will be worth it. Keep going mate!
Congrats man ! Hard work paid off well !
seems inspiring to me, well done man!!
Aspiring to do the same! Congratulations!
Congratulation, thats really very inspiring!
I have a question though, why did you choose web development to pursue as a career?
Can you share your thoughts?
It's kind of two steps to answer your question. The first step is I did 'try' web developement. Then I 'choose' this path. It's relevent answer, so when I first get into the web development world, I'm not really 'attached' to it. But when I'm kind of get use to the environment and the process itself, I'm hooked. I love to sit infront of the computer, the nature of the work I'd say. And I love that 'AHA' moment when I figured something out. That's prob my main reasons.
Congratulations, hard work pays off.
A great success story, I hope to achieve the same.