I didn't find my previous job challenging enough. I wanted to get a job where I could constantly learn new skills and push myself to achieve new goals.
Coding is challenging - there are so many things to learn and, when you eventually do learn them, they change again (for example, libraries and languages get updated all the time). But coding is also extremely empowering and rewarding. There are so many resources available out there and you can learn to build pretty much anything if you put in the right amount of effort and time. And that addictive feeling when you finally get something to work... priceless!
A year after I started coding, I got a job as a Partner Engineer. I love that my job stretches me and enables me to learn new things every day!
Several things... In January, I committed to the #100DaysOfCode challenge. The idea is that for 100 days, you code for at least one hour a day. I've recently hit the halfway mark and I've already learnt so many things. Initially, I was worried that I wouldn't have the right inspiration to keep this going for 100 days, but I'm actually finding that I want to do too many things and don't have enough time.
I've started my own little projects (such as building an app that tracks Tweet engagement with the Twitter API) and I've taken online courses (for example a Udemy course on using Node.js).
I've also been code pairing with some more experienced developers and have learnt a huge amount from coding with them.
I am also co-teaching the Code First: Girls Python course in London. It's a challenge at times, because explaining something requires of you that you really understand it (and I'm still relatively new to Python myself!). But it's also incredibly fun and so gratifying to inspire other girls to get into coding.
Get involved in the community of developers. First of all, it's fun and you'll meet some like-minded people that will help you stay motivated during times of self-doubt. You will also learn a lot faster, by talking to other developers about their own experiences. Being part of the community will also bring up new opportunities: finding a new mentor, hearing about a job opening, etc.
Code on a regular basis. We all have busy lives and, sometimes, it can be hard to continue learning when you're coding as a 'hobby on the side'. Make the time. Even if it's one hour every few days, make it a priority. The result is very fulfilling.
Finally, don't be too harsh on yourself. It's really easy to get imposter syndrome, especially when you're surrounded by coders who know so much more than you do. There will be ups and there will be downs. Take things one baby step at a time and never give up - it's worth it & you can totally do it!