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Junior WebDev Career Advice Needed

seadreamcode profile image seadreamcode ・1 min read

Hey! So I'm 19 years old and I'm a Junior Web Developer in the UK. The company I work for has recently offered me the chance to study for a Foundation degree in Software Engineering which is a 24-month course.

However, just before being offered this opportunity, I made contact with some friends that could potentially allow me to move to London and live (with fairly cheap rent) where I'd hope to find another Junior role. Currently I live at home, which is quite rural.

The trouble is I can't decide which would be more beneficial to my career. Is spending 2 years to achieve only a foundation degree working from home as valuable as spending those 2 years progressing in my Junior role in potentially a larger business in the city?

All advice is welcome!
Thanks :)

Discussion (7)

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coderfoundry profile image

Bobby Davis chose your great question to answer on our YouTube channel!

We hope it helps you make a tough decision!


carlmungazi profile image
Carl Mungazi

I echo a lot of what Tammy said. It's all about goals. Like Tammy, I switched from another career (journalism) and have been doing frontend stuff for nearly three years now, so do not worry too much about switching focus/careers.

I would take the deferred gratification route and move once you've done the degree. You will have more years of experience and knowledge you can use to command a higher salary.

seadreamcode profile image
seadreamcode Author

Thanks! I think that's what I needed to hear 😬

matthewhegarty profile image
Matthew Hegarty

I agree with other posters that being paid whilst working for a degree is a great opportunity. If you are ok with living at home, and enjoy the job, then it is an investment in yourself. Use the time to study, but also find out which aspects of the profession interest you most, build up some side projects, network and keep learning (oh and don't forget to save as much money as you can). In short, build up a profile that will really impress potential employers in a couple of years.

Having a degree in two years will move you further up the ladder than two years of junior web dev and you will learn a lot about the fundamentals of software engineering AND you will have experience of applying them on the job.

Your current company may expect some level of commitment from you, after all they will be funding your degree. So look out for any clauses and make sure you are ok with them.

It might be an interesting exercise to sketch it out on paper:

  • how much can you save at home vs what will your costs be in London?
    • and don't forget London is one of the most expensive cities in the world
  • what do junior dev roles pay in London at the moment?
  • what are graduates getting paid in London?
  • what sort of roles could you get now vs those in the future?
  • Could you land a job in London immediately or might you have to support yourself for a few weeks?

Like others said, think about your goals. Where do you want to be in 5, 10 years time? Which of these options would move you towards those goals.

There also might be emotional factor. Maybe you are desperate to get away from the Shires and seek your fortune in London (I did the same). You've plenty of time to do all this though, and you now have a great opportunity to build a solid foundation for your twenties.

Good luck!

seadreamcode profile image
seadreamcode Author

Wow great advice. Thanks! Perhaps I'm just a bit too eager to move from the quiet country right now!

tammalee profile image
Tammy Lee

I think you need to be pretty honest with yourself and also sit down to figure out your goals.

1.) ARE you the sort of person who can balance full-time work with self-guided learning? (No, but really, are you?) If you move to London expenses are pretty high and you'll have to work your butt off. You're going to get home tired and wanting to Netflix or go out with friends. (I was 19 once, too. XD)

2.) If your goals are $$$ based, software engineering pays more than web dev (ON AVERAGE & IN MY EXPERIENCE). A bit of sacrifice now might mean you hit London qualifying for a higher paying job which means you'll be more comfortable when you do move to the big city. (And, really, you'll be 21 or 22 which is still young enough to enjoy the big city.)

3.) If your current company is also offering to subsidize/pay for your education AND make accommodations for your learning and you're not absolutely hating your life, this is a good opportunity!

Any path you choose, it's never too late to switch focus/careers. I didn't start programming until my mid-twenties when I quit working at a medical lab to go back to school. I'm now in my 40's and switching focus from WordPress to full-stack without a CMS.

And, at the end of the day, are you really living if you don't do stupid stuff in your 20's you might regret? Make sure you have some fun, too.

seadreamcode profile image
seadreamcode Author

This is very reassuring and definitely making me think twice. Thanks a bunch!