Photo by Fotis Fotopoulos on Unsplash
From Construction to Software Development
I changed career from the trades to software development after 15 years
3 min read
Here are a few tips I have for aspiring self-taught software developers out there. It can be a challenging journey, but it's worth it in the end. Just ask me - I spent 15 years in a job I hated before finally pursuing my passion for software development. I've been teaching myself to code as a hobby in my spare time until the day I got tired and wanted to make it my full-time job. It wasn't easy, but following key rules helped me achieve my goal of making it my career.
Rule # 1, First and foremost, consistency is key. I committed to studying and working on projects for at least an hour or two every day and dedicated my weekends to building projects. This helped me make steady progress and improve my skills over time.
Rule # 2,
Another important tip is to get out of your comfort zone. I joined the #100DaysOfCode challenge and documented my journey on social media. This helped me get valuable feedback from other developers and motivated me to keep going. There are other hashtags like this that you might find helpful, like #buildinpublic or #100dev, which is a 90-day Bootcamp that helps you become a full-stack developer while documenting your journey on Twitter.
Rule # 3,
Networking is also crucial for aspiring software developers. Don't be afraid to reach out and connect with people on LinkedIn and Twitter. You never know what opportunities might come your way through these connections or new friendships.
By following these three rules, I was able to land a job offer within three months of seriously committing to becoming a software developer. Of course, everyone's journey is different and may take longer for you, depending on many factors and also your efforts. It's important to be patient and never give up, even when you feel overwhelmed or discouraged, just keep pushing and try to stay positive.
For learning, find what works for you - whether that's watching videos, reading, or listening to podcasts - and make sure you have a solid foundation in the basics before moving on to more advanced concepts. With hard work and dedication, you can achieve your dream of becoming a self-taught software developer faster than you can imagine. When doing tutorials, don't copy-paste, rewrite everything manually as much as possible and avoid falling into the tutorial hell trap. What I used to do is build a small project with what I have learned after finishing a tutorial and it helped me understand it better. Also makes great portfolio projects!
Another tip I can give you is to apply early! Don't wait until you know everything or meet all the requirements listed on a job posting before applying. Just apply! Even if you're not selected, you'll gain valuable experience from the interview and code challenge process. I failed many interviews before landing my first job, but I also learned a lot in the process. If I had to do it all over again, I would start applying much sooner than I did. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and take risks it will pay off in the end.
The first dev job will be the hardest to get, you should have a strong portfolio and display a few solid projects you have worked on and are proud of. These projects don’t need to be super complex but should showcase what you can do. Also If you have the opportunity to collaborate with another developer or contribute to open source, it would help as well, any kind of experience is good to land that very first job. You could also try freelancing on sites like Fiverr or Upwork.
Feel free to reach out on twitter, my DM's are always open!