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Eliot Sanford
Eliot Sanford

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Ways that you can get experience that is similar to Computer Science students

Are you a self-taught web developer and struggling to find work?

Look for ways that you can get experience that is similar to a computer science major's experience.

The CS major has gone through three to five years of undergraduate training, so think of your self-taught experience as a long-term self-paced educational bootcamp or you university.

Here are some ideas to do that in the midst of the Corona Virus Pandemic:

๐Ÿ‘ค Shadowing

Shadow a dev that you've met on Twitter or at a virtual conf or live stream or an in-person job

  • This kind of thing again will give you pseudo "internship" experience.

  • You'll see what day-to-day dev jobs are like + you'll start to be exposed to things that will really stretch your growth.

๐Ÿฆ Twitter

Interact with devs on Twitter

  • Like and RT the posts of all the cool tech Twitter devs that are amazing

  • Engage with their tweets

  • Share the things that they find valuable

  • Become a known name for them b/c of all the good reasons (don't annoy them)

  • Ask to dm with them

๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Volunteerism

Volunteer to help your local meetup organizer to make their job easier.

  • Don't have a local meetup, then join a virtual one in NYC or the Valley or anywhere else.

  • Feeling extra gung-ho, then create your own meetup.

  • Meeting people and learning will be great exp.

๐Ÿ‘ท๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ Build

Always always always build projects of the things that you are learning

  • Don't watch a course or do a tutorial just by reading/watching/consuming only

  • Build something really simple and avoid getting too complex. You can't build a spotify clone starting out.

  • Create content and ship

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿพโ€๐Ÿซ Meetups

Teach at a meetup how to do one simple thing that took you a while to grasp.

  • Talk/write like you're just talking to you when you were learning

  • Your learning will grow so much while teaching others.

  • The opportunity will also give you an opportunity to find like-minded people and potentially network with future colleagues or managers.

๐Ÿ’ฌ Groups

Create a discord study group

  • Invite and talk with bootcampers and CS majors about what they are learning.

  • What are they building, then try to build their projects and ask them when you're stuck.

  • Go through a free course with them in the study group and learn from them.

๐Ÿ™Œ Hack-a-thons

Go to virtual hack-a-thons

  • You will likely be surrounded by CS majors and newbies of all sorts

  • Plus, the engineers who have CS degrees that you network with can potentially help you get a job through a referral

  • Brushing shoulders with those new friends will also give you a chance to learn from those who know information that they've learned from expensive degrees.

๐Ÿ‘ Events

Attend virtual conferences/ YouTuber live streams and participate actively

  • You might be one of 3 people in the live stream, but that is a great place to get one-on-one answers

  • it can also help an awesome content creator get better at live streaming or giving chats so it's a win-win.

๐Ÿ“ Self-employed

Start your own contract self-employed business opportunities

  • Start dirt cheap but get paid to learn

  • Start with the low-hanging fruit skills that you know how to do today, then skill up and scale up and raise your rates.

โ€ป Ask people to refer you to their friends

  • If you do an amazing job volunteering or at a hack-a-thon or attend a conference, then hey someone their who knows your abilities might know someone that has a role.

  • Even if they don't have a role at the time, then they might think of you at a later date.

๐Ÿ— Create

Make content

  • Make a game/tutorial

  • Make a course

  • Write a blog/book

๐Ÿ“„ Projects

Build some take home projects as if you're doing one for a job interview

  • Try to get an interview coding assessment that you know you will fail

  • When you fail, just build it through anyway (no one knows that you failed and took longer than the deadline unless you tell them.

  • Fail forward

  • Need ideas, build some of these take home projects.

๐ŸŽ™ Podcast

Have a knack for talking, then start doing a podcast about tech.

  • Again you can collab with people in tech and grow your knowledge with yet another opportunity to find people who can help you out and you help them out.

  • Doing the podcast consistently will force you to learn.

๐Ÿง‘๐Ÿฝโ€๐Ÿ’ป Beginners

Teach kids, career-switching adults, anyone who is interested in learning HTML, CSS, and basic JS.

  • Apply for roles over the summer to teach teens how to code like at INTechCamp.

  • Not only will you learn more deeply what you know already, but you'll feel good about it.

๐Ÿ˜Ž Mentor

Offer to mentor someone one-on-one who is just getting started that has no idea what they are doing.

  • You might feel like you don't know what you're doing either, but hey neither do I.

  • Go for it. I'm sure you'll gain an amazing friend from it, too.

  • That small amount of interaction is huge and again you'll find a support network at the same time.

  • You'll have someone to share knowledge.

  • You can practice interviewing, resume writing, or helping you and your friends improve your LinkedIn profile and portfolios.

๐Ÿ˜บ Open Source

Contribute to open source.

  • Do Hacktoberfest in October, but keep the momentum going into also in November and December.

  • Contributing doesn't have to be massive.

  • Fixing typos in documentation or correcting a small amount of css or picking up a beginner "good first issue" and asking for lots of help is ok, too.

โœ๐Ÿผ Go Public

With anything that you're doing to gain experience use #100DaysOfCode to #LearnInPublic.

  • If you have been gaining experience, but hardly anyone knows about it that's a huge missed opportunity.

  • Leveraging social media helps. People tell me every week, I saw your post, idk u coded.

  • Tweet your non-tech interests, too.

  • Some only like others' tech tweets.

  • Share you because maybe the FAANG developer whose tweets you โค๏ธ also likes Baby Yoda and might just invite you to a zoom call with friends to watch Star Wars and geek out.

  • You never know where a random interaction might end up.


Well, that's all I've got for this blog. Honestly, many of these ways are useful for anyone from self-taught to CS grads or whatever. Hope you enjoyed it. Leave a comment for ways that you've gained experience.

Discussion (2)

nerajno profile image
Nerando Johnson

Congrats bud and yes to all of this

techieeliot profile image
Eliot Sanford Author

Thanks, Nerando! ๐Ÿ™