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How I got my first job as a junior developer at 40+ of age after 6 months?

You might think that this is nothing out of ordinary, but I gotta tell you that being a junior webdev it is not easy. Of course there are some that believe it’s an easy job by looking at the end-user product. Truth been told it’s not!

Hey, I am Luc and I want to share my story as my goal is that you'll be encouraged if you are new in web development wether front-end, back-end, machine-learning or other category of such.
Having 4 kids from 3 to 13 years of age, it is a real challenge to make career shifting.
My story is an ordinary one, but what is out of ordinary is the web dev community on Twitter.

To make the long story short, I will brake it into three parts:

-what made me change my career;
-how I started and what motivated me;
-How I got hired and why I am confident;

The reason for changing.

Changing career it is not an easy decision when you live only with… yourself. Imagine when you know you are the source of your family which in my case is made out of 4+ my wife, you tend to double thinking.
As I knew that my career in Logistic will soon be over, I decided to revisit my old passion: IT.
Back on the 90’s, I was introduced to MS-DOS, and I did liked it the time I use it. But that is equals to zero as it was an introduction. As if today would be an intro course of “Basic introduction to Windows 10”.
Though that the circumstances didn’t allow me to continue my passion in IT, the desire to study programming was there and I didn’t know where to start or when… until my best friend introduced me to HTML and CSS and recommended to start with freeCodeCamp.

How I started!

Imagine a guy who has no clue what front-end means, taking every step with fear and using the internet just as a source of shopping online and watch Netflix.
That’s my story before knowing anything about web development. As my friend recommended me, I started with “knowing what the Internet is and how it works.” I planned a schedule, I have set a goal and found a strategy that best suited to me and my circumstance.

    “Being afraid of the unknown is normal!”
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After three months, while I was studying, a friend of mine that has a brewery asked me to review the companies website. I had very little to nothing knowledge about WordPress, but YAY Youtube, 🙂 so… I optimized it, styled it a bit and start an Ad Campaign on Facebook. For the first two weeks it was a total blast…. but only online. We had no organic answer. We were “waiting” for the clients to call and make reservations for the outdoor restaurant. Then we switched to Instagram. And we nailed it. I won’t share numbers as this story is not about numbers.

That, combined with the fact that I was “into” HTML and CSS learning had me going for more. It placed a hunger to “know all, do all” which was an error as perhaps all newbies done it… and I got closed to burnt out. I also experienced the down size of the all excitement where all the “wow” moment was gone. I can assure you that when you are there, and perhaps see no advance and it seems so far to accomplish the goal, you tend to compare yourself with those that already succeed. This is not about success, this is about your own journey. What motivated me in those moments were the people within developer communities on Social Media and my best friend which eventually became my guide as he likes to call himself. Within the community I am following on Twitter: Florin Pop, Catalin Pit and Adrian Oprea as I identified myself with as a person and content. Do I recommend for people that are new into web development taking part into communities like such? Definitely! As well as having like minded connections on social media.

But please do not compare yourself with anyone. Ask for help after you have tried your own solutions, yes, solutions: that is plural. If you are a self-taught developer like I am, that is the way to learn: bumping in problems that needs to be solved. Use Google, use cmd-z (or ctrl-z) to see what the code is doing, do not be afraid of breaking the code, be smart: before touching it make a copy. Use more than just one text editor like Brackets.

How I got hired and why I am confident.

I like the good stories specially those that they have happy end. Your story is far away from end if you just started in this field.
I tried several times by applying as a junior developer to well knowing companies with no luck.
I was continuously applying to different companies, to maintain myself motivated by searching Upwork small jobs. While I was taking care of my friends WordPress website, I was in the way happy with that, but it wasn’t what I was dreaming. I was close to desperation not having a job yet. The time was flying and I felt very encouraged when someone I knew proposed to me to build his construction website. I took the job as a freelancer, and it was a total success.

I had only six months after starting with web development and I had my first website completed from scratch in WordPress, using Divi – Theme Builder. As for some, this builder is not much, it’s okay. Personally I am after the fruit, I look at the results, and I see no reason for me to work on something that someone else already worked before me and it’s already done. Not having any clue on html and CSS I won’t recommend you to start changing the style or adding stuff on your pre-build theme. When it was finally finished, the client asked me to continue to work for his company as their web developer. It is a small to medium construction company, that they placed their trust in ME! A newbie at that time. That gave me wings! I continued my studies with freeCodeCamp and went deeper into web development, meaning started with the long frighten JavaScript. I admit, I was afraid of it. I couldn’t grasp on it, so, I start to build stuff, small stuff, small codes simple ones. I can’t say I dominate JavaScript as it is a whole world, and a new one for me still. But I learn to build small function from zero.

I could tell you that I will continue to succeed, but I won’t do that. What I will do instead is to tell you that I am confident in the fact that going deeper with learning and studying it will bring the success.

I will conclude this personal story with something that King David of Israel did: Pursue, Overtake and Recover.

Pursue your dream!

Overtake your fear!

Recover from effort!

you can find me on Twitter here

Top comments (13)

lepinekong profile image
lepinekong • Edited

"I felt very encouraged when SOMEONE I KNEW proposed to me to build his construction website."
Yep that's mostly how you can get a job no matter what of course you must be skilled enough so learn and then talk and shake hands ;)

rafafacode profile image

Thanks to have shared your story, it's inspiring. When I was young I was coding (I did start at 13 with an Amstrad CPC6128 and its BASIC). I listened to teachers saying I was not enough at maths to 'think about computers'. I was young, docile, literally a sheep, I did not fight, I did not say: "Hey, unable to code ? have a look at my own programs!" (i.e. a program which was allowing to run a game after the user answered a few questions about general knowledge, not fancy stuff but that's what I was doing on my free time). Back in those times (middle of the nineties), people were keeping saying there was no job anywhere, there was an expression in french ("tous les secteurs sont bouchés") Let's say there was no hope (incredible, but it's true that's what I do remind from those times) So I did not insist at all and I did go on ... anything else than "thinking about IT job"... (secretary at the army, industrial cook, "life assistant"...) I did wander for 3 decades (THREE DECADES) but now it's enough, I can't bear anymore this situation, not anymore. It's necessary to precise that the times have changed. What did I see recently on the main page of the 'job center' website (french one, Pôle Emploi)? An ad, a big ad to promote coding, for everybody, any background, I repeat: anybody (meaning any age)" a-ny back-ground "! So why, why not me? It looks / it sounds, like definitively the right time to jump into coding, and I'm jumping into. Some months ago I did get a piece of advice, from the CEO of an IT company. What was he advising in order to learn coding? For example freeCodeCamp! (he did also say that the best should be to learn Python in his own opinion... ) Slowly I've started to learn via the freeCodeCamp, and I like it, this night, for example, I was keeping on thinking about its challenges haha In my mind was the 16th challenge of Basic Algorithm Scripting: "Chunky Monkey". I know I have the tools to solve it, but how to organize the code, how to build it, I did imagine a solution that I'm going to try right now! Not sure if it will work... There was a lot of different things about JavaScript which was in my head, and I've found solutions (I mean.. this night, in my bed, on my 'awake time' haha) I've never been really into the jobs I've done until now. I'm happy to, at least, try to follow my way now. I have to say that you have been really brave considering your situation (your family) it's really incredible to have the strength to take this risk. Bravo.( My situation is easier to deal with, and that's also why I do not have to hesitate, though there are always also risks of course. ) Thanks again.

accolades_dev profile image

What an incredible story you have! You could write your own article to inspire others! Yes you could! Don’t be a naysayer! 🙂 c’mon! Write your article! 🙏

rafafacode profile image

I will, one day, but I think I'll wait to have my first job before this. :)

scott_sykora profile image
Scott Sykora

Hey Luc, good to meet you! I am 45 and in a very similar situation to you (except cancer brought me to coding), so it was fun to read your story. I will be making notes about what you did and keeping up with your progress. All the best!

accolades_dev profile image

Thank you very much for taking time on reading my story. Wishing you the best.

thebronxsystem profile image

Congratulations this is big achievement. Most people do not understand the dedication you would of had to put in. Getting qualified and finding the first dev role is a difficult journey that many do not finish.

karem1986 profile image

Great inspiration Luc!
What is your favourite Javascript function so far? :)

davidyaonz profile image
David Yao

Thanks Luc for such an aspiring life story. Really love how your expressed yourself. Cheers

kethmars profile image

Thank you for sharing you story, Luc!

accolades_dev profile image

You are most welcome.

esteemayo profile image
Emmanuel Adebayo

Thanks for this

accolades_dev profile image

You are welcome! 😊