January 2022, one year since I started learning how to code following The Odin Project (TOP) until I found my first job as Frontend Developer in August 2021. 8 months later.
It took me less than a year to switch professional careers from being a 3D Artist with 12 years of experience to (re)start my career as a Frontend Developer. The reasons why I switched would give another blog post. What I want to tell in this one is how I did it.
It took me a lot of time, effort, consistency and, rest assured, some luck! After all, if I met Ygrrite today she would tell me that “I know nothing”. And that 's true, as I learn everyday.
To grab your attention I started by omitting some important information.
Though I started my webdev journey path in January, I already had 4 months of learning Kotlin for Android and pushing myself to publish one app in the Play Store at the end of the year (2020).
At first I was thinking of following mobile development and I wanted to prove myself 3 things. If I could learn how to code, if I could accomplish objectives and, mainly, if I liked it.
When I finally got to publish my app (a simple password generator) I decided I would commit and try to get into the development world. But at that moment I was overwhelmed with information. Techs, languages, frameworks, roadmaps, etc. Besides not knowing how to structure my learning I was all over the place. It was when I came across TOP.
Bear in mind that at that moment I was pursuing mobile, not web. And what TOP curriculum offers is a Full Stack learning path.
January 13th I wrote the following in my diary:
I started it January 14th and was, with no doubt, my main source of knowledge and motivation.
The Odin Project is amazing and the path they offer is really well thought and presented.
They structure the subjects and topics you need to learn gradually, giving just the right amount of information. Then they encourage and push us to look for the answers and solutions by ourselves. And this is where things get tricky.
Though TOP is aimed at people who do not know how to code, I think that the challenges offered filter the students.
If you do not have a profile for it, you will not make it. You need to be tech savvy, you need to be resilient and you need to know how to search for solutions.
To no surprise, these are skills that every developer must have.
Being TOP my lighthouse, it was not my only resource.
You’ll eventually come across lots of other resources and platforms. Sites like freecodecamp and MDN Web Docs are classic and to which TOP will also link you too. And you’ll eventually find so many other ones. Some will work for you, others will not.
More than pointing them out in a bullet list and overwhelming you with lots of links, my advice is to join the TOP Discord community. And be active in it!
With that, pieces (or the lack of them) will fall naturally into the right place as you progress.
I also started being more active in social channels like Twitter, Discord and Reddit. I kept on writing a diary that helped me keep motivated and my objectives clear. Started polishing my CV, connecting and following different developers, groups and companies (Linkedin and Twitter mostly). And perhaps the second most important thing, I found a friend with whom I speak one hour every week about coding.
As you can see, I followed advice that you can find all over the Internet in different posts and testimonies. I invented nothing.
What you’ll need to find is a balance between all of them.
Curated information and resources (The Odin Project in my case) plus consistency and resilience in following your objectives (your own personal motivations).
The cherry on top of the cake is finding someone experienced willing to help and teach you. Good news, if you do not find this person, open communities are there for you (Discord has lots of them).
I decided I would start looking for a job after finishing the TOP frontend curriculum. I built my personal web and started applying for Junior positions. And this is where luck comes into play.
Luck is not something you have but something you look for. Right? And that’s what happened to me.
When looking for a job there’s a lot of variables at play. Your profile, your knowledge, what the company is looking for, who is hiring and timing.
Perhaps you are that awesome candidate that’s a no brainer to hire you. But normally you’ll be in a pool of candidates from which the company will choose.
None of them are perfect, other’s might be better but not accept the offer, you might just click with the interviewer. You never know. Timing!
Of course you’ll always have to pass the interview process, have a minimum attractive portfolio and CV, etc. But as said, there’s a lot at play in a job interview process and you never know.
I want to point out something. I did not finish 100% of The Odin Project. And I, personally, did not feel the need or will to make all projects and mini-projects.
Though I did study all the subjects, sometimes I felt that I needed to move quicker between some of them. This is something personal and to which you’ll find the answer of doing something or not as you progress.
The thing is, don’t take TOP projects too far. Build them, make them work, but don't make them perfect. In this moment where we are starting, where we are learning, more is better. Just code and build, code and build.
And remember, that was me, my experience and my opinion.
Last thing, keyword, consistency. That’s the “secret”.