A story of shameless persistence to inspire those who are seeking their first job in IT.
It was 2012. I was in a university. I was obsessed with building games. The moment I read about Node.js, I thought of it as the future of online gaming.
I began studying Node.js documentation. The goal was to learn the basics and find a freelancing project to work on. Working as a freelancer was (and remains) my favorite way to learn. Even if you are paid pennies, learning while solving real-world problems and getting paid is a lot better than just following tutorials. However, there weren't that many Node.js freelance projects at the time. So I started applying to consulting jobs.
Few people knew about Node.js, but there were already ambitious projects being built using it. The hype was real. Therefore, simply putting Node.js in your CV got you interviews. I had my first interview less than a week after starting to learn Node.js.
The first job ticked all the boxes:
- high daily rate
- node.js + socket.io
- building a game-like online music chatroom
How did I do? I bombed it hard.
Beyond the first few questions, I didn't have a clue what I was being asked. So I thanked for the interview and moved on.
It was embarrassing, sure, but when you have goal, none of this matters. No one will remember someone who bombed their interview. Meanwhile, the upside for you is huge.
Anyway, I've spent the rest of that day studying answers to all the questions that I failed... and booking new interviews. That week I failed at least 3 other interviews. Every time I failed, I made a list of reasons I failed and studied them. Every other interview was easier. Finally, I got my first job on a 4th try.
The takeaway here is that:
- the best way to learn is by solving real-world problems while getting paid for it
- when you are just beginning, failing doesn't cost you anything
- failing and learning from your mistakes is the fastest way to learn
So, if you are just starting, don't wait until you learn everything there is to know. Industry is moving too fast. Learn to fail fast and get in the flow as quick as you can.