There are so many resources today that offer ways to learn various different programming skills. There are thousands of books all focused on different programming skills and languages. There is a large community of developers and programming all very generous to give a hand and help you troubleshoot through your problems. Finally, there are many online resources that offer to teach your how to code. All you have to do is go to a search engine and type â€œlearn to codeâ€ in the search bar. So whatâ€™s that catch? Is it really that easy to become a developer in the span of 6 months, a year, etcâ€¦ I’am here to tell you first hand, that it is â€œnot easyâ€ but VERY possible.
My name is Daniel Botta and I am a web developer. About 6 1/2 years ago I originally attending a college called Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Like most people I wasnâ€™t sure what to major in, so I ended up graduating with a degree in Exercise Science. I donâ€™t know if you know much about an Exercise Science degree, but you are pretty limited as far as pay and opportunities without furthering your education in graduate school. I was fortunate enough to work my way up into a management position within a few years but realized, this is not my passion. I had always had an interest in computers, but in all honesty I didnâ€™t even know anything more than the average user. One day, toward the end of the year, I decided to set a new years resolution to spend a few hours a week teaching myself to code.
Eventually I stumbled upon another website called Udacity. This was another online coding school that teaches you through videos. What really stood out to me was that offered what they called â€œnanodegreeâ€ programs. Basically these were programs that had a curriculum type of learning style. Â These programs were estimated to take on average 6-10 months to complete.Â What was also really cool is that in these programs you would finish with 6 portfolio ready projects that would be graded and critiqued throughout the program. i decided that this program had the guidance that I needed and would be a good next step if this were something I were really going to take seriously. So I began this program and was spending even more time each week learning with my growing interest this new material and working on these projects. I was now about 25+ hours per week which was about as much as I could while working full time. This program ended up being very challenging for me as I was learning material that may have been somewhat over my head at the time. But with the amount of time I was investing, I was able to push through and graduate through the Udacity Frontend Nanodegree within about 2 months. Along with it, I had 6 projects to display in on online portfolio.
So naturally, my next step was to build a portfolio website. I spent about another month building this site as well as using continuing to use Treehouse and another site I came to like Code School.Â This site was a lot like Treehouse with the more energetic and fun learning style. Each course has a fun little jingle to go along with it that I always enjoyed at the beginning of each video. i know itâ€™s a little childish but heyâ€¦ I enjoyed it. Both Treehouse and Code School has become my go to sites again at this point because I now had more direction and began learning more so what i was interested in.
Finally, when I had completed my first portfolio website, I did not entirely feel I was ready for enter a career of web development, but figured â€œwhy not?!â€ and began applying to jobs in the Washington DC area where I reside. To my surprise, I started hearing back from quite a few employers (and a lot of recruiters). After applying for about a week I had about 4-5 phone interviews. A few of those became second (more technical phone interviews), and finally one company took enough interest in me to bring me in for a third in-person interview. I was asked some technical question but really focused on expressing my desire and passion to work in the web development industry. I expressed to them my willingness to learn and as a result, received a job offer a few days later.
This story began in January of 2013 when I was working as a personal trainer/manager of a fitness facility. I began my new job as a Junior Level Web Developer in June of 2013. 6 Months! I honestly would have never thought I could have done this, let alone in 6 months, but this post is to tell you that with a lot of dedication, interest, and hard work â€œit is possible!â€. If you are also working toward the same thing or have a cool story to share, please feel free to reach out to me and share it with me. I would love to hear it and also am happy to help you along the way.
In order to really begin to understand programming, it definitely helps to watch videos and read, but itâ€™s amazing how much you can learn from â€œdoingâ€. I feel that making small side project why you are learning a particular subject can help you retain the information and understand so much better. It will also cause you to troubleshoot and reach out to additional resources to figure out and solve additional problems that the learning resource may not cover.
Once you have finally learned the basics, started working with them, and feel comfortable with them, just go apply! What can it hurt? Donâ€™t be intimated by all of the skills and years of experience that employers list as a â€œrequirementâ€. In most cases, this is not even the case. In most cases they are just trying to attract the very best candidate that they can. A lot of the time you will never need to know of use half of the requirement that they have listed on there. Just go apply! It canâ€™t hurt!
If you are interested, you can also check a blog post that Treehouse wrote about me and my storyÂ here.