My Journey as a Self-Taught Web Developer (With Advices)
My Journey as a Self-Taught Web Developer (With Advices)

In this video I want to share with you my story of becoming a developer which I hope will inspire you to learn programming. Also I will share some advices which are important but I didn't know about them at that time.

So I'm a developer with more than 10 years of experience with main focus in web and frontend. Because of my skills I changed a country of living after 5 years of experience and I don't need more than a day to find a new job in a big city. Also I can work remotely which is quite nice especially this year.

But of course it was not always so nice and cool.

I started to look for a job at 19. I was still studying part time so I can work half of the day at the same time. I can't even say why I choose to be a programmer. It was some random thing because a liked to play games and do something with computer. So it was 2009 and there weren't that many tutorials, guides and courses like nowadays. And I had nobody to tell me what to learn, with what I can earn good money, what technologies will be popular in 5 years and so on. I didn't have a plan or something, no technologies that I new, no experience, nothing. I make a CV with something like "programmer assistant" which actually doesn't make any sense and after several month I got a job. Actually it was not even a real job. There was 1 guy how was making websites with CMS in PHP like Joomla for clients. I worked there 2 month, didn't get any money and quited. The only experience that I got there was how to configure website in admin panel of Joomla and that life is pain.

I updated my CV online but didn't get any responses or calls. Because I wanted to earn at least some money I went working as a delivery service where I must deliver packs of books. In the evening I tried to learn something with PHP and CMS but it was not super efficient.

After a half of a year I quited that job and got a call from some small company for the interview. They where doing the same things some CMS websites in PHP with for advertisements. I succeeded in interview (again almost without knowledge) and worked there next 2 years. I can't say that I learned a lot there in programming but I got a bit of mindset of a developer. I wrote some PHP code, configured CMS at least got some money and learned PHP and web technologies in the evening.

At some point while working there I started checking other languages (again without any good reason). I read a lot of good things about Ruby with Ruby on Rails. And actually it was time when it was the most popular. I watched lots of videos (especially railscasts) build small applications and decided to try and find job as a ruby developer. Again I could write some code in it and do some things but of course nothing fancy.

I updated my CV and had several interviews which were all bad. I didn't know things like metaprogramming, blocks, procs and lambdas and didn't have ruby experience. But at some point I got a call for the interview for ruby position.

The interview was not super successful but the head of development asked if I want to try myself writing javascript and said that everything will be javascript in the future. I actually didn't cared and wanted a better paid job so I said "sure why not".

I worked there more that 2 years, I was first real company with HRs, QAs, processes, teams and so on. There I learned really a lot, overtimed of course, it was not easy because I didn't have enough both javascript knowledge and how to build applications properly. But working 8 hours a day brings a lot. Plus additional learning in evenings.

Thats why when I feed that I don't get much new knowledge in company and it's possible to get more money in other companies I went through the bunch of interviews. It was of course much easier this time. Sure there were some things that I still didn't know but I have code to show, we had things to discuss in interviews and I got on average lots of answers.

Next work was fully frontend AngularJS. Nothing really special to tell. I was just polishing my skills and learning new things from time to time. And somewhere at that point near 4-5 years of experience I would say I got a feeling that I really can build applications on my own and solve business problems, that I'm a person with a successful carrier who can easily find new job.

At some point I decided to try living abroad. It is not super complicated as a developer with good speciality and skills. I took me near 9 month from starting sending emails to the flight on the offline interview in Germany where I got the final offer. It depends really hard on your country and visas. If you don't need visas or the process is not that complicated then it's much easier to get an offer. For me it was complicated because they need to prove that they could find anybody on local market. But on average I can say that developers are in category "easy" if we are talking about relocation.

Working in other country is not different than in own country except of the language and mentality of the people. So nothing really interesting to tell. Just work work, changing jobs and frameworks and again work.

But I promised you advices for becoming a developer so here you are.

  • First of all you need a plan. It's the most important thing. You need to understand what you want to achieve, how much money it will give you and what steps to need to get there.
  • Asking already successful people which have lots of experience in the field where you plan to start is a very logical thing and normally doesn't cost you anything. For example when I spent lots of time with lighting and camera for my videos this year I got nice recommendation from videographers in some forums.
  • Becoming a programmer is long journey which need a lot of effort. There is no magic bullen. Don't even think that you can get big money with 1 year of experience and low skills
  • Your real projects and code that you can show on interview simplifies getting a job and talk goes in right direction instead of just getting random questions
  • Soft skills matters. You need to be friendly and helpful. It simplifies work a lot
  • You should not wait that HR will contact you first if you are just starting. Send email to all companies possible

I hope that this video inspires you to become a developer. As you can see it's not easy especially at the beginning if you don't have anybody to help and guide you. But exactly this self learning without guidance from other people helped me to get where I'm now, helped me to change mindset and understand new frameworks and languages in a matter of days.

And if you want to learn more don't forget to check my full courses regarding different web technologies.