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Letitia talks about teaching herself coding and getting hired as a dev

petecodes profile image Pete Originally published at nocsdegree.com on ・4 min read

Letitia Tyrrell is a self-taught developer from Manchester in the UK who recently got her first programming job. Here she talks about what resources she used to learn to code by herself, her tips for beginner web developers and how she got hired for the first time.

Hey, thanks a lot for doing the interview! Could you give an introduction for coders who want to know more about you? (where you are based, where you live, your stack and your experience as a programmer)

Hey! I’m Letitia. I’m a Front-end Developer (still seems strange saying that!), from Manchester, UK. So far I’d like to think I’m very good at HTML & CSS, with a bit of experience with Javascript/React/PHP. CSS came to me quite naturally whereas I’ve had to try a bit harder with Javascript and I’m still in the early stages - but it just shows you don’t have to be amazing at everything. Jobs will cater towards your strengths. I’ve been learning for around a year casually, but I’ve stepped it up this past six months.

What first got you interested in programming?

I was previously working as a ‘Video Creative’ for a publishing company, but as the company expanded I felt like my job had become less creative, so I started looking for other outlets!

I came across web dev and started doing a Codecademy course, I loved CSS (love is a strong word - but I loved what I could do with it), and then started trying to learn as much as I could about it. I’m very interested in the creative aspect of programming and pushing things as far as I can.

Did you ever consider doing a degree in Computer Science and if not, why?

I didn’t consider getting a degree. I feel like I’m a little too old to go back to uni, and I fully believed that with a good portfolio, I could find a job without needing one.

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Can you talk us through the process of learning to code? Did you use any specific courses or resources?

I started off using Codecademy, and then I moved on to YouTube tutorials/Udemy courses. Codecademy was good for learning syntax but coding on my own computer with Atom definitely felt like a step up. I then used Frontend Mentor, which is a website that provides you with designs and assets and you build them from scratch. It’s a really good way of getting practice in without having to make your own designs. (you can read the interview with the founder here).

I then stepped away from tutorials - I’d been advised to by everyone I spoke to, but I clung to them for as long as I could. I started to code my own websites from scratch, and throwing myself in the deep end was the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s frustrating, but you’ll learn so much!

Do you have any tips for people that are bored of tutorials and want to improve their skills?

Check out websites like Frontend Mentor . There’s so many amazing resources out there for learning web dev, take advantage of them! Don’t just stick to one method, try a few. Also try challenges like Javascript30 and 100DaysOfCode (but don’t beat yourself up if you miss one day), and last of all - take a break! It’s very easy to get addicted, and that’ll lead to burn out.

Well done on getting your first developer job! Do you have tips for how people can break into web development?

Do something different! Instead of trying to learn a bit of everything, I tried to learn a few things really well. I also found my own routes I enjoyed (animations especially), and learned as much as I could about them. It’s good to be different. Make a website, get some projects on there. Also - apply before you’re ready! My portfolio wasn’t even finished when I applied but they saw potentially. You’ll never be ‘ready’, so get applying! 😀

Screenshot-2019-12-10-at-17.46.56

What is the developer seen like in Manchester?

Developers seem to be needed in Manchester - there’s quite a few jobs floating around! There’s also a lot of meet ups, which I’ve promised myself I’ll attend more!

Can you tell us about any side projects you have?

I’m currently working on an Eminem lorem ipsum generator website. If something excites me, and seems a bit silly and wacky, I’ll give it a go!

Thanks for the interview, Letitia!

That's it for the 2019! Thanks for all the support this year. As a little thank you I've put together a list of coding courses, free and paid, that you can use to improve your skills in 2020. 😀 You can check it out here.

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Pete

@petecodes

Hey, I'm a developer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. I make www.nocsdegree.com where I interview devs without degrees. I also make www.nocsok.com where I list jobs for devs without degrees.

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