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I'm a self-taught developer

This week on Twitter, Mercy Damilare (whose looking for a job, by the way) tweeted

Can someone make it in tech without a boot camp or internship? A self-taught developer πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»

Like Mercy, I’m completely self-taught.

I started my career as a web developer because when I worked in HR, I wrote a blog and started messing around with code to have more control over the look and feel of my WordPress theme. Then I started using some of my new coding skills in my day job, feel in love with it, and made a career jump.

I often see a lot of “if I did, so can you!” motivational tweets on web dev Twitter. And its easy to look at someone’s success and think it happened suddenly.

So it’s also important for me to acknowledge that…

  • I’m dripping in white privilege
  • I had 7 years work experience in HR before making a career change
  • I have bachelor’s and master’s degrees (both in an unrelated fields)
  • Because of my career in HR, I know how to navigate HR gatekeepers
  • I interviewed for 3 YEARS to get my first dev job

I failed so my interviews. Sooooo many. Mostly because, ironically, companies didn’t value CSS and HTML much at the time, and my JS skill were terrible.

(Fortunately, today CSS and HTML are valued more than they were then, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.)

I also had a few folks who were exceedingly kind at providing me with feedback on my code, career advice, and more. I never had a formal mentor, and I don’t think you need one. But having people who will give you honest, blunt feedback is important.

That’s actually why I started teaching JavaScript. I wanted to give others the kind of help I had, and I wanted to reach as many folks as possible.