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Before Searching For A Dev Job

steelvoltage profile image Brian Barbour Updated on ・4 min read

I've analyzed numerous articles and videos about imposter syndrome. They've helped me realize one important thing: even the most seasoned developers wonder if they're good enough.

Learning that lent me perspective. I poured over my accomplishments and allowed myself to be proud of them. I took myself by the collar and said "You got this, Brian, you're doing great."

I am a Front End Developer. This is a fact. Yes, I just started learning all of this back in November. No, I haven't been hired as one yet. It's fine though, doesn't matter.

You see, in my mind I've built sites in React and deployed them. They work and have active users. Asking for feedback, putting your work out there, is scary. It's worth it though. I've gotten valuable suggestions to improve my code. And, I've had professional developers tell me they like the designs. Those were major wins for me, the validation I needed.

I call myself a developer now, and not "an aspiring developer," or something less confident. The sites I built weren't copies of some tutorial. They were born from my imagination and forged by my hard work alone. I challenged myself and overcame the hurdles said challenges presented to me.

If asked, I could replicate or even improve upon my already completed projects. I get better with each goal I smash through. I have an actual chunk of experience to draw on now. I can only keep ascending the rungs of the ladder.

Have I reached a level of mastery? No, I'm nowhere close. Hell, the more I learn the further away from the notion I drift. As you get perspective, you realize just how narrow the scope of what you know is.

Employment though that's what is on my mind, landing a job a professional developer. I will get there, but I'm not in a rush. Why?

I haven't graduated yet.

How can a self taught person graduate? The same way a college student does. They finish their curriculum. Wait--you may ask--what curriculum?

The most important part of teaching yourself any skill, is setting benchmarks and goals. It keeps you accountable, paves the way. Giving yourself due dates and timelines is vital. Or, you'll fall into dreaded causal learning attitude and never make any tangible progress. You don't want to be stuck on that self-doubt and fear treadmill, you want to blaze ahead with gusto.

I don't shirk, I don't yield until I understand something. Programming is such a broad subject, there's so much nuance that I know I can't get at it all, but I strike at what's in front of me. I do my research. I seek out what skills are required by reviewing various job postings. I watch videos and read blog articles from amazing developers, to filter out what is important. That's where I paint my targets.

I don't just want to be a Front End Developer though, I want to be a damn good one. So, I am amidst building myself a rigorous curriculum. At first the list was skimpy and silly. I didn't see the full picture, didn't know what I didn't know. I started just learning vanilla javascript because it seemed logical, figured I'd branch out later. I didn't even know what React was or what a library did. I downloaded Node.js, only to run my example files and exercises. I didn't even know the full scope of what it could do.

Fast forward to today and I'm considering learning other frameworks, such as Vue and the new Svelte 3. I want to create apis in Node. That's a lot of progression, and my list adapted because of it.

Let me show you where it's at right now and also what I've checked off from it:

  • Finish Codecademy's Web Development Path.
  • Finish freeCodeCamp's Javascript and Algorithms course and certification. My Cert
  • Finish Wes Bos's Javascript 30.
  • Finish Brad Traversy's React Front to Back Udemy course.
  • Build my first solo project in React. Grocery Getter
  • Build a Discord Bot, and do a Node.js crash course. My Bot
  • Learn React hooks.
  • Read and finish Robin Wieruch's book Road to React with Firebase.
  • Build a fullstack site with React and Firebase.
  • Learn Gatsby JS from documentation and build a static React site, programatically. Incorporate a CMS into it.
  • Finish freeCodeCamp's Responsive Web Design course and certification. My Cert
  • Finish freeCodeCamp's Front End Libraries course certification. My Cert
  • Finish Jonas Schmedtmann's Advanced CSS and Sass: Flexbox, Grid, Animations course.
  • Build my personal portfolio site.
  • Build my dev related resume.
  • Do Brad Traversy's MERN Stack Front to Back course.
  • Find and complete a GraphQL course.
  • Find a real client, willing to pay me, and make them a site.
  • Do some sort of Open Source/volunteer work with my web dev skills.

After I complete this set of objectives, I'm going to start hunting for a job. This may change, I may add or subtract. We'll see.

Until then, I'm going to focus on putting one foot in front of me. Not to say I would turn down an opportunity if it fell into my lap. This is just before I personally begin to hunt and focus on that.

What about everyone else who is self-taught? Or, even those of you in the industry right now. What are your short and long term goals? Did you build yourself a curriculum? I'm interested to hear what works and what doesn't for the rest of you.

Discussion (17)

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jimmymob profile image

Amazing! I have been struggling with the right way to learn and based on your article seems like it's very important to document the topics that one will be learning. I'm just curious, how long have you taken to achieve all that?

steelvoltage profile image
Brian Barbour Author

I've been at it 3+ hours a day since November

jimmymob profile image

November 2018?

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steelvoltage profile image
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jimmymob profile image

Thats just amazing! All the best with the remaining topics

ratherbsurfing profile image
Chad Collins

Awesome post! Personally Ive been at this "building the web" work for 25 years now! You never stop learning, and you will always be further along than you give yourself credit for. I enjoy your posts Brian, they always cut to the core of the truth and offer great insight. Keep programming, designing, and writing, you are already one of the greats in my book.

steelvoltage profile image
Brian Barbour Author

Oh man, thanks Chad. That means a lot to me. I have found my passion, that's for sure.

jorgemgr94 profile image
Jorge Marcial García Rizo • Edited

It's an amazing path, maybe i would add after GraphQl course, something like:

  • Find and complete a React native course.
  • Find and complete a MongoDB with Node course.
  • Create a CRUD with React (front), Node, Mongo and GraphQl (backend), and the mobile app with React native.

These three points will approach you to full stack development with JS and as you see you're very close.. Regards!

steelvoltage profile image
Brian Barbour Author

I got a taste of GraphQL with Gatsby and loved it so much. Thanks for these suggestions!

paulooi profile image
Paul O

a wonderful read! I still consider myself somewhat new to the industry as i finished my schooling last year and working full time out of the gates. but it's a good reminder to keep tabs on accomplishments and next goals. i believe in lifelong learning. keep up the good work!

since my program didn't focus specifically on react, I'm going through freecodecamp's react lessons and a Udemy course.

steelvoltage profile image
Brian Barbour Author • Edited

If you end up needing any help with React, let me know! I love it and just trying to figure stuff out in it is so fun.

j_riordan profile image
Jake Riordan

This is great! Thanks for writing this. I think I'm in a similar place as you and finding it hard to structure myself. Making progress, but not as effective or efficient as I could be. I may pinch your curriculum and use it for myself as it ties up exactly what I want to do! Best of luck finding you dev job!

steelvoltage profile image
Brian Barbour Author

Good luck Jake! Feel free to. I can't say it's perfect, but I've curated it the best I could.

clauach07 profile image
Clau A.

This is awesome!! I just started with all this webdev thing a couple of years ago, while doing a biology masters. That curriculum/goals path is great!

lurb3 profile image

Thanks for the article, really inspiring!

Really nice job you are doing, i think setting goals (well defined goals) its crucial when you are self taughting.

jazzglobal profile image
Christopher Gambrell

A very much need inspirational post, even if that was not your intention. Keep up the good work!

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Awesome way to document your life in learning to become a good developer. I find that documenting helps a lot in attracting employers or clients to pay you for work.