3 weeks ago, on April 16th, 2017 I signed up for lynda.com on a 30-day free trial, knowing there are many online courses of all kinds. I signed up for “HTML Essential Training” and “Web Developer: Full Stack vs. Front End”. I did not even realize it fully back then: it was the birth of my new career!
I just had been back from six beautiful weeks in India, and returned with no money to my underpaid, yet very demanding full time customer service job in West Ireland. I had been toying with the idea of changing the track of my career for around 6 months, but until then I had considered subjects like “Geomancy” or creative writing. I had skipped the web designer pages in my distance learning catalogue but still considered well paid business studies like project or content management.
Then, after India, the obvious just was suddenly there. And after some research, i knew what I feared before: I am not too old or have too little experience for a job in tech. Actually, the demand for developers is higher than ever. And I am smart. It was sealed.
In only 3 weeks, my knowledge and understanding of the industry exploded. I finished courses on HTML and CSS, as well as wordpress on lynda.com, signed up for free courses on Udacity (who have a great way of explaining the box model), then Codecademy, then Coursera.
After only a few days, I started to design my own website from scratch without a mockup from a tutorial and decided to continue learning without frameworks first. I could not believe how easy it was to create sidebar navigation with simple css and make it look professional and clean. I also tried different text editors like brackets, atom, and sublime text 3.
After I was happy with the design, I uploaded my little website to a subdomain of my father’s shared server which he uses for his clients.
At the same time I started another project called “Iarthar” on a desktop server with wordpress.org (that site is still in dev) – that is also why I decided for a simple wordpress.com site for this purpose here.
My excitement grew and for a while I stuck to my lynda.com tutorials, updated my website and researched online bootcamps (after I found out about their existence, of course).
I was curious about skillcrush.com for its female orientation, it’s afforadble prices and interesting career focus. I signed up for a free 10 day introduction, but at that stage I was looking to find one bootcamp / online course that gave me some structure and a timeframe as to when I could start working as a web developer.
I discovered edX and enrolled in a couple of free courses by Microsoft. I was amazed how much free online resources are available for this subject and I was by now more than sure I could become professional right from my bed in the middle of nowhere in West Ireland. If I found a job here was another question, but hey, step by step!
On weekend of week 3 I offered my first portfolio project to a friend from New York who runs a Nonprofit in Romania with the local Romani people (his current website: http://tzigania.com) a wonderful project, which imho does need some professional help to become more accessible.
In week 4 I still have no money.
Actually, I don’t even have a desk. I work on the floor, or in my bed. My laptop is an outdated Acer Extensa whose speed is that of an old dachshund, and it’s tab key is broken. I use mobile internet from Three.ie on my iPhone 4s that I connect to my laptop.
But I will make it!