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Niki Ross
Niki Ross

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Newbie Career Catch 22

I've been coding in my spare time now for approx two years. There are times during those two years where I've spent 6 months not even thinking about code which was more down to pandemic related depression and scattiness.

In the times I have been coding, I've been very much in love with everything I look at. I'm like a less successful Pete Davidson. I love JavaScript, I love React, I love CSS and I love Java. I love learning about everything besides databases.

The problem this has created, is that I've not really retained much. I go from tutorial to tutorial, Udemy course to Udemy course (most are never completed), and after two years, I still dont feel like I would be competent doing this as a job.

This is a bit of a catch 22 because I really feel like I need to be doing this full time to get my teeth into something. To really learn how commercial applications are built and the standards and practises used. I've had a couple of interviews this year and each time it makes me feel like I'm just not ready, and on the same note I believe that its exactly what I need to help me get started.

So along side my dissertation project, I'm toying with the idea of a portfolio site. I am busy with work (DevOps) and with Uni, so a portfolio site on the side was be expensive time wise. It would be great to hear from people who have gone down this route, was it useful? Did it help demonstrate your skills to others?

Any other feedback people can provide would be very greatly appreciated.

Discussion (14)

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walterwf profile image
Walter

I'm stuck in tutorial hell as well. You should focus in one language, not try to tame them all, just JS, then move to another. Build 10/15 "projects", upload to Git. If you are working as a Devops, surely you know some programmers, if not, search beginner's projects. The real knowledge you may have will be tested on the job interview, not by a Portfolio. Look for ad honoren groups to get you started, you will learn from scratch how to build a website or app.

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niki_ross_84 profile image
Niki Ross Author

Thanks Walter, I'm focussed on Java because that's what I've used for all of my uni work but I feel like there's a big gap between what I'm doing for my course and commercial grade applications. Trying to get exposure to bigger, more complex bodies of work is difficult and I feel like that's what's needed to code at a professional level.

What is "ad honoren" groups if you dont mind me asking? I just tried to google it but it was pretty vague

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walterwf profile image
Walter

"Ad honoren" stands for no pay, free work. At least where I'm from ( Argentina ) there are several start up that hired junior profiles (w/o exp )( without pay of course ) and they simulate real work, with Agile meetings, team leader, slack channels, git, etc. This is my third project so far with them, I learned a lot to be honest, also they encourage to learn a new language, for example if you are front end, you to help at the back end also, if you like testing, or mobile, or devops, etc. nocountry.tech/
its in Spanish, sorry bout that. Maybe there si something similar in English.
Good luck!

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marissab profile image
Marissa B

The phrase in English (technically Latin) would be "pro bono" btw!

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niki_ross_84 profile image
Niki Ross Author

Thank you Walter! That makes sense now and that sounds like a great idea to get some experience, thank you for the suggestion, I'll definitely look into that!!

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marissab profile image
Marissa B • Edited on

Tutorials are just reading the instructions. Making a project is putting the parts together and USING that knowledge. You can't really show that you know much if you haven't made or done much. Portfolio projects are often good insight into what interests you as well - mine involve cars or tabletop gaming because those are heavy interests of mine.

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niki_ross_84 profile image
Niki Ross Author

Do you have a portfolio site? Could I see it? 🙂

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marissab profile image
Marissa B • Edited on

Yep, it's on my dev.to profile but here's a direct link: maberresford.com/

I blatantly stole the styling from Visual Studio, which is my preferred IDE :P

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niki_ross_84 profile image
Niki Ross Author

Marissa, what a cool site, I particularly love the styling. I really enjoyed reading that and your racing track website is very cool too! Thank you for sharing

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marissab profile image
Marissa B • Edited on

Glad you like them! The racetrack site is an actual business so it's not quite a "screw around" project, but stuff like that is cool to show what you've done and learned.

Early on I made up businesses to do apps for a fake client. Like a little finance app for an imaginary bank, an inventory system for a fake dealership, etc. It's fun to mess with branding and spin up a story to go along with a project.

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drsavvina profile image
Savvina Drougouti

Hi Niki! Tutorials are nothing without practice, so yes, it's nice to have hands-on coding experience.

I am a Tech Recruiter, and when I look at a profile or CV or interviewing a person, I always ask for their Github profile or any other project portfolio. In IT industry, the practical experience counts more than a Uni diploma, so I would strongly advise you to build a good portfolio with your projects, and also add this link to your LinkedIn profile and resume.

Working on a side project can be time-consuming, but could prove amazingly valuable in the long-term, so it's worth to put the effort!

Wish you the best luck 🍀

Savvina
Tech Recruiter

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niki_ross_84 profile image
Niki Ross Author

Thank you Savvina, I really appreciate your advice!!!

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terabytetiger profile image
Tyler V. (he/him)

It sounds like you might be getting stuck in what some call "Tutorial Hell" where you bounce tutorial to tutorial forever.

I think a portfolio site is a really great way to start breaking out of that cycle, and portfolio sites are a great place to get creative because it's a place that's all yours to own and experiment with!

You don't even need to build the site from scratch - you mention liking React, so it could be worth trying out Gatsby or Next.js to create a static site and maybe save you some time, or at least give you some fun things to learn along the way!

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niki_ross_84 profile image
Niki Ross Author

Thank you Tyler, I appreciate the feedback, I've been mulling over the idea but wasnt sure if it was worth it but I know I would enjoy it. I can definitely relate to tutorial hell, I've been a regular for a while now but I'm positive that will change in the next 12 months... somehow