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Dylan Oh
Dylan Oh

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How I got into Software Industry without a CS Degree (no summer school, no internship)

I remember when I just started looking into self-taught becoming a software developer (or web developer to be more exact), I watched videos and read articles online to encourage myself. So there were a lot of resources out there, which is true that they do not have a “CS Degree” and got hired as a software developer. However I soon realised that they are mostly (noticed that I mentioned “mostly” here) graduated from a well-known university, or “I took some computer engineering courses during my summer school in university”, or “I got a university internship with some big tech companies”.

Well, I have to say those were pretty inspiring and encouraging stories but I did not feel relatable. I believed that there are a lot of people like me out there, wanted to make a move in life but struggled. I graduated about 4 years ago as a Biotechnology graduate, and I had been working as a sales person, marketing executive, even management trainee in a well-known restaurant. I had no experience in programming, nothing related to software industry on my CV.

I met with one of my friends, who is a software engineer, brought to me on this idea of becoming self-taught developer.He was able to work for a pretty reputable company by self-learning after he graduated from university with an electrical engineering degree. I was inspired but I still did not feel fully relatable to my own condition because his engineering courses did touch base on things like data structure and algorithm which is a plus for his CV. I told myself: but… I have nothing.
After some days of thought (sorry, I mean procrastination), I decided to give it a shot. I went onto Udemy and got a few courses on web development.

So here is my learning journey:

  1. I got myself “The Web Development Bootcamp” from Colt Steele, which is an amazing course for absolute beginner who just got in touch with this aspect. Notice that I did not put a link here, cause this is not an advertisement. You may search on your own. After completing the bootcamp, I have gotten an insight of how to connect the works between front end and back end. The stacks that you would pretty much be involved with are HTML, CSS, JS, Node.js, Express framework and MongoDB.
  2. Second thing that I really recommend if you would want to secure a web development or software development job: Get yourself really good at a front end framework and I would suggest React for that (don’t bash me). I suggested React is because of the job requirements for this stack has been growing exponentially, and personally I feel it is suitable for beginner. I had taken two courses from Udemy as well: “Modern React with Redux” by Stephen Grider and “Complete React Developer in 2020” by Andrei Neagoie. These two were pretty comprehensive courses and you would get to build nice projects along the courses.
  3. Thirdly, I would suggest you may try to enroll yourself into “CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science” from Harvard University. Well, you might be amazed that this is a free module (if you do not require its certificate, you have to pay $90 to receive the certificate after you completed the module) on edX platform. It gives a better insight towards very basic fundamental computer science knowledge eg. pointers which you might not get in touch with in your learning journey for web development.
  4. Last but not least, get yourself prepared for the interview. One of the most important components would be data structure and algorithms and you may find a lot of useful resources on YouTube. Mentioning YouTube, I would strongly recommend if you really want to get started learning web development, you may subscribe to this channel: Wed Dev Simplified. As its name, they really do simplify and explain in extremely comprehensive way to viewers. Build projects. Get out of tutorial hell. You might eventually realise that you do not have a clear concept towards certain things which you thought you are when you start building your own projects. Code while learning is the best. 😊

So, did I get a job after all these?

Of course I do, as title of this article has spoiled that. I have been working as a full time software developer for more than half a year till date. It is the most enjoyable job that I had, the company and colleagues are great too.

I would like to encourage you, whoever is reading this article, I believe that you might want to make a change to your life (I know it sounds like some MLM things). Take a step forward, start today, put in hard works and your effort will be paid off.

Cheers.

Do follow me for more future articles on web design, programming and self-improvement 😊

Discussion (2)

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abdelel99692360 profile image
Abdelellah

Im a CS degree graduate and i have been teaching my self development for almost 3 years as i did not practice development after i graduated

For the last 8 months i did almost 16 interview and i failed in all of them
90% of those interviews were about algorithms mixed with math which where I’m bad at
Dont know what to do

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aminmansuri profile image
hidden_dude

Advice that may work for you:

Look for a different sort of company. For example, one of my first jobs was working for a research project at a University. The development was fairly simple, and the requirements not as high as in a software company.

The key is to get SOME experience. Maybe not at the ideal place at first, but making SOME money from programming is a way to start. Not all sorts of companies will ask you all these algorithm questions, especially those where you'd be the only programmer.

Advice that is probably not useful to you anymore:

The best time to get some work experience is while you are still in college. Doing this or that internship so when you graduate you IMMEDIATELY have a job.