re: I switched careers to Software Engineering in my late 30s while nursing a newborn, Ask Me Anything! VIEW POST

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Wow! Do you think you could have done it without a bootcamp? I have a 3 year old and 6 month old and work full-time in a non-tech job, and I'm struggling to meet my goals. Unfortunately I do not have the ability to do a bootcamp :(

 

Hello MillCode!

Wow! Let me first say: you have already proven that you are a #BadAss #Amazonian. To have coding goals while wholly responsible for 2 whole lives? Bravo, sis, I'm proud!

But that isn't why you posted is it? :) I hear you about affording bootcamp; they can be expensive. I would advise the following:

(1) Ready your mind to be in the learning zone for a while. Learning to code is no small feat. A major source of stress for us moms is burdening ourselves with crazy expectations. No matter how long it takes, it will be so worth it when you land a programming job that fits your family and goals. So please take the time and invest it well.

(2) Get a sense for what skills are stubbornly in demand where you live. I'm not sure how "relocatable" you are; for me, it just wasn't an option. I know that, across the board, Javascript is pretty hot (frontend JS like React, backend like Node, etc). So you can start there. Don't fall into the trap of dipping your toe into multiple languages. Pick one and get good; proficiency in 1 language helps you pick up others quicker.

(3) Focus on the fundamentals. As you pick up new skills and knowledge, use them on a project that you build piece by piece. Say a portfolio site: start with the HTML and CSS, adding onto it bit by bit, then incorporate JS as you learn.

(4) Set task-based goals (not time-based). Example: "Today I'll implement 2 examples of the 'map' method" instead of "I'll study for 3 hours". As moms, our time is largely not under our control, so I think time-based goals can be potentially self-defeating.

(5) As soon as you've covered a good part of the fundamentals, get involved in an opensource project (or some group that codes together and builds a project together). This will help get you comfortable reading, understanding and modifying other people's code - which is key in a professional environment.

I'll stop there. Please mama do not be overwhelmed. That's why I started with "this will take time, yield and embrace it". You'll be a much stronger and competitive developer for it. I wish you strength and grace. Congratulations!

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