How I Landed My First Web Developer Role Without A Degree or Bootcamp: Lessons Learned, Resources & Tips

Tae'lur Alexis ๐Ÿฆ„โš› on December 16, 2019

When I first started working in Seattle! It was a beautiful day I've always wanted to sit down and write down my whole journey of how I trans... [Read Full]
markdown guide

What a great piece, and is a fantastic motivation for anyone else starting out. Love hearing this. Iโ€™d re-emphasize 1) The Harvard CS course will get you close to what a first year CS student has, for free, and if your role is WebDev, like many of us, thatโ€™s a great foundation. 2) Brad Traversy is a gift that keeps on giving on YouTube...great content mixed with a very engaging, down to earth personality, and heโ€™s someone who knows what it is to struggle. Canโ€™t agree with the recommendation of his channel enough. Those who want to learn should never overlook the free and low-priced (Udemy is always on sale!) stuff. And donโ€™t overlook good, old-fashioned books!


What a great way to spend my break and read an awe-aspiring post. Thank you for sharing your journey as it gives me hope seeing that when you were at your lowest, you still had the drive to keep going in order to accomplish your goal. From working as a cashier to speaking in Berlin in front of a crowd is awesome!


Thanks for sharing your story! I went through a rollercoaster of emotions. At some point, I realized I was screaming - I was lucky to be alone in the room then lol - That first offer is the root of all the feels. You had quite the journey and you deserved it.

I totally agree that learning on your own, like anything else in life, is challenging. Self-discipline is not something one can develop overnight. I would say the freecodecamp certifications could have made the path more straightforward as they rely on the project based learning approach. Looking forward to reading more from you.


I was already your fan for randomly following you on twitter, but after reading this I just love you girl! You are awesome. I honestly teared when I read about you getting your first offer.
Such an inspiring and motivating post and full of great advice that I shall follow.
I just accepted an unpaid internship, and what everything you said about it is soo true. It is wrong but I need it.
Thanks for this post, it is pure gold!!!


Yessss I'm so excited you liked the post and keep making moves ๐ŸŒŠ


A great write up...

Well, i believe i found myself in your past state.
Got to a point now where all things i picked up keeps crashing and falling down...

But reading this gives me a hot lash to Man-up..

Thanks for taking your time to share this.. Its really inspirational and it is like a slap, for me (to wake up)...


Your viral tweet is 50% of what sparked my energy to actually learn to code (and stick with it this time!). Thank you for all of the content you produce. I actually bought Colt's course because of you! I'm almost six months into learning and not comparing myself is definitely the hardest part! I feel like I can barely do anything compared to folks who already are well versed in creating full stack apps, but then I realize where I was a month ago, two months ago, and six months ago, and I realize that I'm actually doing a lot, even if I'm not making crazy full fledged web apps yet. Thank you for what you contribute to the community!


Very touching piece. The path to being a developer isn't always easy, but only with determination and the help of the almighty can one get there. Good to know your finding your bearings and gaining new grounds.
From your story I gather that programming is something one has to be passionate about before going into it. Its in-born. One must be typically self motivated to start with.


Theres so many who code for a living and aren't passionate about it and it's perfectly fine! Even I fluctuate due to burnout. I think what got me through was less about passion and more about a determination to acquire this skill so I can have some type of freedom ๐Ÿ’™


Yep, I get your point. If I may say, its rare to come out and say "I have passion for coding". Its the passion of what we desire to make, keep or achieve that drives our determination to stay with the code and stick to the plan. Thanks for clarifying...


Thank you for this inspirational piece of work, as a self-taught myself, I find myself in this story, you've been through a lot and you've triumphed by never giving up. courage for what lies ahead and good luck in the future.

Best wishes from France :)


Thank you for sharing your journey, congratulations! On striving hard and never giving up on your goals.

You've given me a sense hope.
I recently completed an intro to web dev with a tech hub.
And have been conflicted with the commitment and hours for bootcamp pursuits.I am a single parent with little to no physical help and felt like if I commited to a bootcamp I'd either have difficulty keeping up with the content and my child's learning. I've contemplated if learning from home was possible and would prepare me for a job if I dedicated time.

Thank you for sharing your difficulties and success.


I appreciate you sharing your journey. I also want to point out that I like the tone of your writing. It has a nice call to action and good flow.

I do have a question for you about starting to freelance. I was wondering what that process looked like in the beginning for you?

I keep struggling with Imposter Syndrome and want to begin freelancing but I keep going circles.


Very beautiful story. I like the fact that you were very honest about your journey and after reading this I can say I am now motivated more than ever to keep trying. Thanks for sharing, I think more people need to hear your story.


Well done for getting over that thing that gets in your way each time. I haven't a name for it yet but it's basically like a bad seed that gets planted while your growing up.

Somewhere down the line you were inadvertently setup to fail. Which rides your back and blocks you from making decisions that your later life can benefit from. (Poverty with sense of options and how not seeing how to capitalise on them also makes it worse)

But you did the thing that most don't do, which is overcome. So congrats to you sister I hope your journey takes you to places you never imagined.

Keep sharing and inspiring.


Good read, I've recently become disheartened by javascript in general I don't really think it's for me. Advanced functions are like word problems to me and completely throws me off. Good luck in the future it looks bright!


Thank you for sharing your experience Taeโ€™lur. Your tip on preventing burnout and breaks really hit home. I have been purposely working on balance and it has been difficult but I believe pacing oneself is worth it in the end.


That's a great writeup, impressive how you got into tech with limited resources and a good deal of trial & error/pivoting/failing/succeeding coupled with talent and perseverance ... a good and interesting read with a bunch of great takeaways


Nicely written backstory! I felt super happy for you when I read about you getting that first job offer, as if it had just happened. And you're only 23!?! At that age, I was still studying in University for a future I had no plans for. Now I'm 27 and im slowly learning web development. Dropping out of college isn't embarrassing, finishing college and having nothing to show for it is embarrassing!


Absolute a remarkable story!! So inspirational that you've come so far on your own, and that you had the tenacity to keep going at this until you landed your dream job. That you succeeded in getting a relocation offer at your first job is really astounding!!!


I already randomly followed you on Twitter a while back, but this is my first time reading your writing. Super inspirational and gives me hope as I start to apply as a self-taught dev. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป


"includes": {
"users": [
"id": "6253282",
"created_at": "2007-05-23T06:01:13.000Z",
"name": "Twitter API",
"username": "TwitterAPI",
"protected": false,
"verified": true,
"profile_image_url": "pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/94285...",
"format": "compact"


thank you so much for this article !!! it is so encouraging, i just started the 100 days of code challenge (which i now think is more of a fantastic learning method/lifestyle shift than a challenge).
side note, i lived in Berlin for years ! i don't even know you lol but i feel very proud of you and your journey, and you are soooooo encouraging/inspiring me right now!! thank you!!!!


I love this!! I struggled in my journey to become an engineer as well and was laid off twice during the process. Now Iโ€™ve lived in all 4 US timezones and may relocate to Atlanta as well (I was born and raised in Georgia and am currently enjoying a break in my hometown of Douglas to finish interviewing for my next position which will likely be remote/telecommute as well). Iโ€™m happy to see a minority like myself make it in tech without going knee deep into debt. Great job!!!!!



Beyond her ability to break into this industry without a CS degree and be a solid developer, one of the reasons I follow Tae'lur is for her ability to express herself through writing and speaking. Truly a great story, I did not know allot of these things about her journey! I met her at a conference in Chicago and was impressed with her talk and continue to be impressed each time she speaks or writes. Tae'lur you deserve all the success you worked so hard for! Another amazing piece of content.


I find Harvard's cs50 incredibly hard to follow and poorly laid out from a get hold of materials standpoint.

I just can't get through the scratch and C modules.


I thought it was just me, have a nice Christmas.

Yeah I never heard anyone else with the same complaint but you too:)


Thank you so much for putting this piece out, it's a great motivational instrument for me, it's really amazing,whats even more amazing is that am actually following your footsteps like we've know each other before or like you're mentoring me, I actually started out learning python with codecademy but gave up after 3 days cus it was too complex for me to understand, I never wanted to code again, but after 2 months or so, visiting different beautiful websites and wondering how they were created, I thought to myself, "this is what I really want to know how to do", "this is what I want to do" and knowing that I have passion for softwares, and owning and managing a big software company in the near future has always been one of my biggest dreams and goal, this motivated me the more, so I decided to go back to coding, I couldn't afford enough money for bootcamp, so I decided to train myself, through Google search, I discovered udemy, I registered and bought that same web development bootcamp course by Colt Steele, through the course, I've learnt so much both on HTML and CSS, am currently on BOOTSTRAP now, am just 2 months old to the course, it's been like a week since i coded last, but after reading your story, am more than motivated to code right away.... Thank you so much for this and thank you for the advises, it's really helpful to me, see me now as one of your biggest fan cus I will be following all your social networks available for followership. โค๏ธ


I think I really need to read it over and over again to gain self confidence and be able to experience more.๐Ÿ˜‰


I'm to break your last final point and compare you to me right now.

A truly inspiring post. I'm in a similar position, though I do have background in CS just no college paperwork to back it up. I'm currently in Milan (I'm Italian), which is 4h away from where I previously lived, working for a great company. I'm currently the youngest self taught developer hired here to date and I aspire to also make the youngest senior developer here.

For some more detail on what I do: I applied for a full stack javascript role which was going to be express + react but now I've been working for about 4 months in c#. I learned c# back in my CS focussed high school but really picked it up well on my own time and while here at work. I'm looking into doing some work with unity for fun as well as to maybe sneak my way into the VR team at my company so I can get recognized faster as a dedicated developer. I've also recently started mentoring a few people in c# and c and am considering turning that into a side hustle and possibly make a course.


Never regretted following Tae'lur... An inspiration she has always been to my betterment as an expiring full stack developer. Please keep being the Tae'lur you've always been. ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™


That's a fantastic piece on your journey! Thanks for sharing and there's some really great advice in there.


So inspiring... ๐Ÿ˜ญ ๐Ÿ˜ญ ๐Ÿ˜ญ Am gonna give coding a try again. I have started and stopped so many times. I think I have found the right part to fellow. Am so grateful for this inspiring story.


wow thanks for sharing your journey, I can draw my inspiration form you.


This is a really nice post. It made me happy. And you look great <3


Great article! I will def check out some of the courses and youtubers you recommended


Very inspiring story and a little similar to my own, just with much more advancement earlier. Just started to learn react and Iโ€™m brushing up on my javascript skills. Great article!


So awesome to hear this story written out. I'm glad to at least twitter-know you โค๏ธ


Great piece! Glad you fought the good fight and never gave up. Iโ€™m sure this will inspire people.


Great read. We've used a lot of the same resources and it is wonderful to hear how someone else blazed their own path. I especially appreciated the portion where you mention not comparing ourselves to others. I don't think anyone intends to sabotage themselves with this practice. Nonetheless, it's an insidious habit that can spring to the fore when we're feeling most vulnerable. I've found success in practicing compassion toward the part of myself that's expressing judgement. When strong thoughts about a delta between myself and others come up, I honestly give myself a hug and let the feelings mellow a bit, then continue moving forward.

Thank you for what you have done and continue to do, Tae'lur.


Wonderful story! Thank you for the resources I hadn't found yet! I became unable to do my old work and so I am learning to code on the cheap, or free :)


Your path mirrored mine except shift the time to 15 yrs ago. With almost no resources. Haha

Congrats to your success!


I'm here for the mindset! 2020 is gonna be lit ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ


Interesting story. Reminds me a lot about mine. Congrats!


Amazing, great to read about the hard work that landed you a new career!


Wow. Wonderful story for a movie. "Started from the bottom(Software Engineer)"


Great story and tips! Thanks for sharing. Too bad we couldn't keep you here in Orlando but glad to hear it seems to be working out for you in the end.


Wow! Persistence (and support from friends) truly did pay off! Wonderful story Tae'lur, may the best be yet to come!


I'm just starting to code and this post is a big motivation to me because i was thinking it's already too late to be a developer. Thank you.


Tae'lur, this was one of the most inspiring posts I have read on here. Your advice is A+, thank you so much for taking the time to share this.


Its great to hear your coding journey. This article is an inspiration to all the #codenewbies.....


Loved this. Very positive and inspirational. I loved the aside about how unethical unpaid internships are. <3


This is a lovely piece of knowledge.
Please I want to ask, what do you think is the salary of an entry level developer who just graduated from the university.


I am at the beginning of a similar journey. I'm in the process of building my own curriculum so your tips are very, VERY, much appreciated! Your willingness to share your story is great motivation and just what I needed today. Thank you! :-)


cool and very welcoming advice, followed up on some already! It's nice to see posts like this with practical application on newbies such as myself.
I've just finished Colt's course, and this is a nice signpost to where i should be heading next.

Also beautifully written, was an absolute pleasure to read through it <3

code of conduct - report abuse