My Journey as a Self-Taught Web Developer.
4 min read
" How did you get into coding? "
That's a question I keep hearing. It's been a wild ride for sure and I need more than a Twitter post to tell the tale.
A very long time ago ... 2004-2005 ish
My younger self was interested in Linux, building servers, At some point, I started a little hosting company called "Hiberner" with a group of friends. where we sold radio hosting, IRC and eggdrops / bnc hosting, and web hosting. From this, I learned a little bit of IRC scripting, HTML/CSS, and a lot of bash scripting to automate our builds on our servers.
Fast forward to around 2008
Beginning of 2008, I moved 4000 km from home to Alberta and closed the company. Around that time I begin to be very interested in cyber security and I started teaching myself network and web security in my spare time doing all kinds of courses from well-known security experts.
At some point, I and some friends made a vast penetration testing network with a few servers, connected it all through VPN, and started training more seriously. I then got interested in writing my own exploit, so I started studying at "corelan.be" at the time, buffer and stack overflow, and developing and modifying exploits, so I needed to learn some C language.
We did a few Capture the flag competitions. I started to learn web security more in-depth, but not knowing how to code those languages (js, php, python) was a liability. I was blindly trying to find bugs in what I didn't understand. So I decided to start learning Python and begin to write tools to help me with my pentesting journey.
Fast forward to 2014
As I got better with programming, I realized I could build anything. I could even start my own company. Maybe I should focus on development there are so many opportunities. For a few months, I began doing all kinds of tutorials for web development with python and Html / CSS.
In 2015 I had an idea 💡
It was a bidding platform that looks like smart reno now in Canada but more subcontractor-oriented to deal with more prominent companies. I asked a few places for a quote to build it and it was way over the budget I had in mind. So I decided why not do it myself?
I'll teach myself the technologies and code it, so I decided to enroll with Udacity with their full-stack web developer nanodegree. I worked hard thru it and managed to complete it in five weeks. Shortly after, I got an offer from them to be one of the first code reviewers. I did this part-time for about one year, picking up tickets and helping students with code reviews. During that year, I built two versions of my project idea but never launched it because I wasn't happy with how it performed.
On and off 2016 to 2020
Those years I was proud of the apps I built.
- getQuoting (now defunct), an estimating web application for my construction company,
- a better bidding platform for sub-contractor called SubHub ( also defunct),
Many other smaller apps for fun, and then covid hit, and everything changed.
Here we are, 2020 to 2021
It's been a few years, and my dream is still to leave construction to pursue a career as a developer.
Okay, time to take everything into my hands and get serious about this. I am building a portfolio, and I will start networking as much as possible. I have no friends in the field, nobody to guide me, no mentor. I need to find some freelance work and get reviews. Get going. How hard can it be, right ? Well, it's been out of my comfort zone, but I feel like I have grown so much since I've started this journey. I've met many talented people; in the last few months. I've learned a lot about the space from the great Twitter community; people are always ready to help.
I Had my first interview and failed to impress, but I still keep my head up high and try harder next time. I am currently building a SaaS with a new friend made over Twitter, and we have many other plans to come. I am also seriously job hunting at the moment. Hoping to change my career and become a full-time developer, my passion for programming is more prominent than anything else.