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From BPO (day-to-day monotonous work) To Frontend Engineer In A Startup! ( Without CS Degree )

👋 Quick Intro

Hi Everyone, this is Veera. I did my graduation in Commerce. After graduation, I started looking for jobs that would help support my family. Speaking English was a bit difficult for me. Though, I managed to land a decent job as a Process Associate.

🤔 How I Got Interest In Tech

When the pandemic (Covid-19) started, my company began doing WFH (Work From Home). Together, they introduced a new tool to my project. That could reduce manual workers (headcount) in the future. So, I started to think about the future and asked myself many questions.

I was confused about how they would line up with this tool, which is more like an automaton. Luckily, I have a brother who is a Software Engineer. I asked him, how could they have built a tool like this?... Then BOOM!!!,** he throws in some jargon like API, Client, Server, HTTP, etc., That's when my interest spur into tech.

⏳ Time For A Change

I started thinking about changing my career from BPO to Software Developer. Two reasons made me think hard about my decision :

  • It was too late to restart my career.
  • I don't have a CS Degree.

It wasn't easy to decide at that time. Then I read some articles which inspired me. I found it very interesting that many people had begun their tech careers after turning 30. My interest in this field started with those articles, so I finally started learning to code.

💻 Started To Learn Programming

I'd spent some time learning in the morning and had to work in the evening. My brother helped me understand the basics when I first began to learn. I started with Python which is powerful, high-level, and beginner friendly. I came to know that the industry is very wide with a lot of roles like Frontend, Backend, and More.

Learned the basics of programming for quite some time. I've found myself interested in "Frontend (UI - User Interface)". The reason is that you can see what you're doing. I was unfamiliar with Frontend technologies up until then, so I began exploring that side.

My Roadmap For Learning Frontend

Frontend development involves crafting a website for browsers and mobile devices. There are three core technical skills required for that

  • HTML ( Hyper Text Markup Language ).
  • CSS ( Cascading Style Sheet ).
  • Javascript ( scripting language ).

In the first two months, I learned HTML and CSS. Then I built a few static websites locally. Once I felt familiar with HTML and CSS, I decided to move forward to exploring JS (javascript). Javascript is awesome and makes the website dynamic (actually alive). I decided to spend two months learning JS. As many beginners do, I got stuck in tutorial hell. Once I got back on track, I built a few projects using HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

After learning three core technologies, I decided to learn backend technologies too. I've dedicated two months to learning ( API, Nodejs, and MongoDB). Then I came to know about ReactJS. It is the most popular among the developer's community and on Tech Twitter. There are tons of fresher/Experienced job opportunities for ReactJS developers. So, after learning the backend, I jumped straight into ReactJS. Learning ReactJS will be easy if you know the fundamentals of Javascript. I've spent some time learning React and Redux ( State management ).

👨‍💻 Finally Getting Into The Tech Industry

After spending eight months (part-time) learning and doing projects. I've decided to take a step forward. When I was ready to apply for jobs, I started to prepare for my first tech interview. Tech interviews may have many rounds ( technical, coding, online test and assessment, HR), though it depends on companies. I had no idea and no experience attending tech interviews. However, I have to prepare for my interview.

I was like "Do they ask questions about HTML/CSS or Javascript or ReactJS?" or "will they ask me to solve a problem?" I had no clue about what questions I would get in the interview. I've found some useful Github repositories for tech interview preparation. With Hacker Rank and Code Wars ( basic problems) I started improving my problem solving and logical thinking skills.

I started applying for the job across different locations. Getting into a tech job without a CS degree was not easy. I was willing to work anywhere. After applying to more than 15 companies. A company responded to my application under the "Education: UG/PG Any Graduate" section and I took their online test but failed. Some questions were difficult to my level of knowledge at that time. Meanwhile, I was waiting for a response from other companies.

Then one fine day I received a call for an interview in Chennai for ReactJS Developer. There were three rounds of interviews ( Technical, Coding, Code Review & HR ). I answered all the questions based on ReactJS and Redux, Context API during the first round. For the second round, I was given a task to complete within five days using the API provided by them. I submitted the project one day earlier. They appreciated my work and also asked for a meeting to do a code review. During that code review round, I was asked about my project. It was some basics about Javascript and CSS. I successfully cleared all rounds and got the offer for a full-time Frontend Engineer position.

It is rewarding that I was able to land a job in the tech industry. Since I started to work in this industry a little while ago, I've learned a lot about this field. And I'm still learning and improving my skills.

I've used the following Github Repos :

  • Javascript Interview questions link
  • ReactJS Interview questions link

Articles That Inspired Me :

  • From Lawyer to Engineer at Google link
  • From Chef to Software Engineer link
  • Frying Chicken in a gas station to Software Engineer link

Thank you for reading along.

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