re: Share your story of becoming a self taught developer and getting your first job VIEW POST


I'm not entirely self-taught. I took some CS in college, but I dropped out of that program due to... a lot of things, but a big one was that I had no friends in CS!

Anyway, flash forward a couple years, I graduated with a degree in marketing, and a few experiences pulled me back in.

  1. I had an entrepreneurial streak and I'd tried recruiting some developers to work with me on projects and it never worked out. It's hard to find good developers and I felt like I was always on the wrong side of the negotiating table, even with the most bought in folks.
  2. I got a job working for a tech startup and I learned a lot about what I didn't want to do: Like 200 people applied for a fairly shitty low paying job. I got the job but I couldn't believe how competitive it was. Contrast that against the team's outlook on hiring developers while I was there: That it was hard to find applicants and they made a lot more than me.
  3. Interlude: I really liked to code, even when I was a discouraged CS student. Observing the supply and demand of the industry helped me rationalize the big risk of starting over in code, but I wouldn't have even considered it if I wasn't fascinated by the craft.
  4. The above experiences didn't push me all the way, but I was talking potential entrepreneurial ideas with a friend of mine and he mentioned I should check out Ruby on Rails. To that point most of my coding experience had been Java in school where I had no clue how to build an actual application outside the context of a class assignment and some HTML and CSS where I really couldn't make anything all that interesting. Ruby/Rails was a breath of fresh air. That's when I started learning with speed and confidence.

It was an incredibly bumpy ride from there. I had student loan debt as well as some higher-interest debt that couldn't wait much longer. I was living back home with my also broke mom, not one of these cushy home-when-you-need-it situations. I knew I needed a job but I was hell-bent on that job being software development. So I put months and months of non-stop work in. I was up until about 4am every night. To say it was an unhealthy stretch would be an understatement, so much so that I caught stress-induced shingles. I've never been averse to extremely hard work, though I don't glamorize or encourage it. I love my down time too 😊

I lined up some interviews, took a 30-hour train ride from my home of Halifax, Nova Scotia to New York City (I couldn't afford to fly, and it was only supposed to be about 24 hours but there were delays).

I'll cut the rest of the story short for another time and say I've been writing software in New York ever since.


Inspiring Story Thanks for sharing it

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