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 😀
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.
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.
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".
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". 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 of 2020 that I will learn web development as often as possible and get a job as a web developer. But - how?
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.
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.
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.
EmaDay 1 - Hi to all persistent people doing #100daysofcode! 💪 After learning the basics of HTML and CSS, I finished my first FCC project. I had some trouble figuring out a million and one things to use. It's amazing. 🤠
Here's the tribute page I made: codepen.io/emabytes/pen/y…21:59 PM - 31 Mar 2020
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.
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.
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 a 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.
Before learning web development, I was learning German. I moved to Germany 19 months before I started with the coding bootcamp. In a way, learning German encouraged me to learn web development. Yeah, stay with me. There are a lot of similarities!
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? 😉
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!
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 :)