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Brandon Wie
Brandon Wie

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I just got hired! - Part 1 (self-taught, 36yo, no CS degree)

Prologue

The time has come. I finally got hired as a Front-End Web Developer in May 2021. It took around 2 years, not as fast as some YouTubers who got one in 3 to 6 months, but I made it in my own way.

I have a BA in film, have worked primarily on marketing and management, have no CS background whatsoever, but I landed a job as a developer. Shout out to Chris Sean, who gave me a huge motivation and inspiration.

For those of you who have a hard time studying or getting a job in a similar case like mine, I'd like to share some of the lessons I've learned in a hard way.


Beginning

Lesson 1. Find what you want to do first, not languages

If you know what exactly you want to do with programming, you can skip this part. (I am jealous๐Ÿฅฒ)
If not, try to think about the answer to the question below.

"What do you want to do with programming skills?"

Many beginners may think, "How do I know what I want if I know nothing about programming?". And that is so true. It may sound easy to answer, but it's a whole complicate process to find what you want to do with it.

So what I had in mind at the beginning?

  • developers look cool ๐Ÿ˜Ž
  • they get paid well ๐Ÿ’ฐ
  • well...I like computers (games) ๐Ÿ˜น

I know. Mine sounds such a no-brainer. But, I was just tired of working in sales and management. I wanted to learn some technical skills to have a different lifestyle, and that was it. I had some simple impressions about the tech jobs, but I had no idea what I want to do (because I knew nothing literally).

While navigating in a vast ocean of YouTube, I found myself spending too much time choosing which language to start with, not finding what I want to do with programming. So, if you've never thought deep enough to know what you want to do like me, take some time off with a cup of coffee and search what types of jobs are there and what they do. If I gave myself enough time on it, I literally could save 1 to 2 months of time (or even more).

Without searching for jobs out there, I chose JavaScript after watching tons of videos such as "which language to learn in 2019" or "top 3 programming languages in 2019"(๐Ÿ™€ yeah, I know). The only reason why I chose JavaScript was that I thought I could land on a job faster than the other ones(a job? I didn't even know what I want to do ๐Ÿฅถ). However, still, I wasn't sure about my decision. So I spent another ton of time convincing myself if I was on the right path even when I was learning Front-End on Treehouse.

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My point is, don't look for languages first like I did. Don't dive too deep into the YouTube algorithm that makes you search over and over again (I've learned a lot of things from YouTube as well, don't get me wrong). You will eventually learn other languages over time if you wish. Try to step aside for a moment and think about what you really would like to do with it. Yeah, it takes time, and it's tough, but everything else will come much more manageable and smoother if you find one.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences here if you wish.
See you guys in the next post.


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Top comments (2)

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marianna_wie_48b244fc18c4 profile image
Marianna Wie

Thanks for sharing. Thatโ€™s very important point ๐Ÿ˜… do you think itโ€™s possible to become good in a second (another) language while having a job? Or once you are there you will be stuck with it for a long while (or for good)?

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Brandon Wie

I believe it's possible to learn and be good at another language if you have a will and you are desciplined enough to manage your time. But again, what really matter is why you want to learn the second language. In my case, I want to learn more about A.I. and Machine Learning so I need and eventually will be confident with Python later on. :) Thanks for sharing Mariana.