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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.

Fin

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)

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nerajno profile image
Nerando Johnson

Congrats bud and yes to all of this

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techieeliot profile image
Eliot Sanford Author

Thanks, Nerando! ๐Ÿ™