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My Journey to Become a Software Engineer in 2021

ysanchez3d profile image Yandri Sanchez ・3 min read

The purpose of this blog is to share my journey into becoming a software engineer. I'd like to write about programming concepts I learn along the way to help me remember them better and hopefully help someone else along the way. I also think this is a great way to stay involved within the community.

A little about myself...
I wrote my first lines of code back in 2015. Soon after, I signed up for CodeSmith, a coding bootcamp in Los Angeles CA with an advertised 87% job placement within 6 months of graduation. During the program, I worked with countless technologies: Javascript, CSS, Node, SQL, Angular, and many others. I got to work with amazing people, and the school staff really went out of their way to help us learn. After 3 months of hard work and countless sleepless nights, I finished the program and was ready to apply to jobs.
The job hunt was very tough; only about a 3-5% of job applications sent would receive interest. As months went by with no job offers, my resume started to fall behind, so I took some freelance work and built e-commerce websites for two of my friends who owned businesses. Eventually, my savings were running low, and I needed to get a real job. This was a very depressing time in my life because not only did I feel like I wasted 9 months of my life, but I also got myself into an $18,000 debt from going through this program.

2016 - 2020
Depressed, in debt, and somewhat embarrassed from not finding a job, I realized that I was not the only one going through this. Sadly, there are many bootcamp grads out there that have similar stories. For the next few years I focused on getting back on my feet. I started working as a Flight Attendant and on my time off I would practice from courses on, learning new concepts and practicing my dev skills. Being a flight attendant is great; I'm always traveling to places and meeting people. However, I never feel challenged, and that's one of the feelings I miss the most about programming.

What I've learned over the years

  • Programming is not for everyone, but I genuinely love it and this is what I want to do for a living.
  • You don't need to go to a school or an expensive bootcamp because everything you need to know in order to find a job in this field is out on the internet!
  • I paid $18,000 to learn how to google search. It's true! All my bootcamp projects involved different technologies that teachers couldn't really help us with. The in-person community was REALLY what I was paying for.
  • By staying involved in the community, whether online or in-person, pushing through the lows, asking for help, and reminding yourself about your end-goal, I believe anyone who has the desire, can become a software engineer.

Moving forward...

  • I'm going to be completing App Academy Open (a free version of their entire in-person bootcamp curriculum).
  • I've divided the curriculum in 50-60 hours of work per week, with daily goals (current completion date is Sept 19, 2021).
  • I'd like to write weekly posts here explaining some of the programming concepts I learn each week.
  • Lastly, my end goal is to start applying to tech jobs early October.

I think it's very important to be honest with yourself in terms of why you want what you want. So here is a question I thought was critical to ask myself if I really wanted to commit to this:

Why do you want to become a software engineer?
I'd be able to provide much more for my family financially. I would also be doing something that I feel challenged and excited about everyday. And I'd get to build anything I want - really.

Thank you for reading a little bit of my story and I'm very excited for what's to come!!!

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