DEV Community


Posted on • Updated on

From a "full-stack" journalist to a full-stack developer

Hello, hello!
One of my 2021 "resolutions" was to try blogging. Instead, Final Fantasy became my #1 hobby.
After a whole year, I allowed myself to have an "unproductive" hobby. Cheers to that πŸ˜€
Cloud Final Fantasy Over the past month, I got some questions about the path I chose. This is not the only or the best way, but it was the right one for me.
So, my plan is to briefly explain how I went from shooting and editing videos for a living to getting my first job as a developer.

First thoughts

My job as a video journalist in my home country was exciting and dynamic. I got the chance to experience some unforgettable events and conversations. However, I did not see myself doing that for the rest of my life.
Anchorman movie

2018 was the first year I actually considered getting into the tech world. My partner and some of our friends are developers, so it was hard not to be a part of the after-work "not at all about work" conversations. Some technical terms already stuck in my head and I wanted to learn more. That same year my partner and I moved to Germany. I was learning German and my hobby was going through a book called Head First Python. I liked it and for the first time ever thought "this might be something good for me".

Thirties crisis

2019 was the year of learning German. I did an intensive language course, got a sales assistant job in German, turned 30, and started "The great analysis of what the hell am I doing with my life".Β At least I improved my language! It was finally decent enough to communicate. New time slots opened and the idea of getting into tech came back. I made a firm decision at the start ofΒ 2020 that I will learn web development as often as possible and get a job as a web developer. But - how?
Travolta GIF My plan B was to learn on my own because there are more than enough learning materials online. Luckily, my partner is a software engineer. He could lead me through the jungle.

My plan A was to bring it to the next level of commitment and to go back to school.
After doing some research, I was down to two options:
1) a 2 year-long "specialist for application development" study or 2) a 5 months long coding bootcamp. 2-year school extensive curriculum was enticing, but I went with the bootcamp. The main advantage for me was - doing lots of practical projects in a short amount of time.

No money, no problem?

I immediately started checking out the possibility of some kind of scholarship. In Germany, there's something called "Bildungsgutschein" or educational voucher. It's issued by the Employment Agency for the continuation of education. From January until May I was working on getting it. Lots and lots of calls and emails. Persistence pays off. I got the green light at beginning of May and I started with the bootcamp in the same month. I was lucky because 5 months of full-time school was paid off by the state. Thank you, Germany.

Warm-up time

I started executing my plan in March 2020. I found a new part-time job that I could perfectly combine with my plan of learning every day. And then lost it before it even started because of the pandemic. Even stronger reason to warm up the chair. Simple HTML/CSS projects were my warm-up.

100daysofcode challenge was something that kept me on track and in a warm community of aspiring and experienced developers. Before I started with a bootcamp, I already had a few super simple projects behind me and my motivation grew even bigger.

Back to school

In 5 months of the coding bootcamp we went from learning HTML to being able to build a full-stack web app using the MERN stack. Furthermore, we did job coaching sessions and professional photo shootings. Before I even finished school, my CV was polished and ready to be passed around. I got my certificate at the end of October. Happy and proud, but nervous. The comfortable student life was over. It was time to get back to reality and find a job.

Job hunt

I made my portfolio page in 3 days because I wanted to attach it to my CV as soon as possible.
The second round of job coaching sessions started shortly after.
Most of the time I was researching companies, writing cover letters, and sending my applications.
Besides, I took aΒ lot of time and practiced my German in imaginary interviews.
I was ready for rejections, but all I got was silence. If you ask me, that's even worse.
That period was hard to deal with, but it did NOT last forever.

German language == Programming language?

Before learning web development, I was learning German. I moved to Germany 19 months before I started with the codingΒ bootcamp. In a way, learning German encouraged me to learn web development. Yeah, stay with me. There are a lot of similarities!
Michael Scott The Office
Maybe you've already heard that German is not the easiest language in the world. Lots of complex words, words with the same meaning. But, no-no. Different context, a different word, almost the same, but it's not... Exemptions of the rule. Grammar. It seems freaking hard until you know the basics really well. Sounds familiar? πŸ˜‰


At the beginning of my life in Germany, I

  • started learning basic German (A1/A2) on my own,
  • took a 4 months long intensive language course (B1/B2),
  • worked as a sales assistant and with lots of practice got comfortable speaking the language

With each day I was getting more confident.
So when I decided that I will learn programming, I knew that I will probably reach my goal if I follow the same pattern.

Fast forward to today. Here I am, one month on my new job as a full-stack developer in Germany is behind me. Wunderbar!

The School of Rock

How did you learn to code? Are you a career changer?
Please feel free to share your story in the comments, or leave a question if you would like to know more about my journey :)

Top comments (7)

favouritejome profile image
Favourite Jome

From your story, it shows that great effort is rewarding. All the best Ema.

P.S I started learning how to code because I wanted to know how websites were built like facebook 😊
You might already know this about me, I'm a student studying Computer Science and that was a no brainer choice for me to pursuit in order to learn more about computers πŸ’―

emabytes profile image

Thank you, Jome! I wish I was motivated 18-year-old as you are. The effort you put in your projects is impressive πŸš€

favouritejome profile image
Favourite Jome

Thank you very much, Ema!
I'll continue putting more efforts in my projects 😊

catlogic profile image
Andrey K.

An inspiring story! πŸ™‚ In the beginning I was going to be a journalist too (photo journalist) 😁
How long did it take to find a job after you've started sending applications? How many places did you apply to?

emabytes profile image

Thank you, Andrey! :)
I started tracking all my applications in the table and then it became frustrating, so I simply stopped counting πŸ™…πŸ˜„
Month and a half until my first interview with 4 companies in total.
1 - no, 1 - never heard from after the interview, and 2 offers at the same time 🐳

ljcdev profile image

Such an inspiring journey πŸ˜€! Seems to me that you lesson is everything is possible when u set your mind to it!
I've been learning coding on and off until I dropped out of college and got more serious. Going on Twitter helped me tremendously with my path and I grew much more confident in myself. In looking forward to start freelancing soon. And maybe I'll job hunt after a while.

emabytes profile image

Thank you πŸ˜€
I agree about the Twitter. It made my journey more enjoyable. Where would we meet so many devs from all around the world (and during the pandemic!), share our ups/downs and motivate each other on the daily πŸ”₯
Good luck with your plans! πŸ€