For all self-taught developers, the biggest danger you will face is getting stuck in a tutorial or course purgatory.
What that means is, you continue to buy more courses and you never progress and get out of that.
How To Prevent Tutorial Purgatory
Set A Timeline
Simulate your own coding bootcamp. It doesn’t have to be confined to 3 months. You can even design a 1-year coding bootcamp.
A 1-year roadmap is the most pragmatic approach because as it might really take this long to grasp and then become proficient in your given field of expertise.
On to the next point.
Set Tangible Outcomes in Deliverables
Now, at every 3 months or even 1-month break, you want to set tangible, deliverables.
Moreover, tangible outcomes aren’t just limited to personal projects. You can expand this out to numbers of algorithm questions you’ve completed on LeetCode or HackerRank, etc.
Lastly, you can set goals for doing group projects, freelance work, or contract deals.
Note. The goal of this is to set tangible outcomes and hitting these deliverables.
Set Complete Portfolio Milestone
You need a strong portfolio to represent your work, professionalism, and ability to deliver results. Period.
My advice would be to get this up and running in an MVP form after 1st month. This way, you can house your first project inside your portfolio immediately and start generating job leads.
As for how to build a portfolio, you can opt to build it from scratch, but I didn’t do that for the sake of focus and time restraints.
After asking my developer friends, they’ve all said that it’s ok to clone or use a template of a working portfolio of your liking and customize it to your own situation.
I highly recommend leveraging existing templates vs building things from scratch since its unnecessary.
Why Portfolio is Important
This will separate you from other individuals who don’t apply with a visual portfolio of their past work, thus, giving you an edge in getting a job.
In your portfolio, you have a chance to tell your story: projects, skills, education, experience, and more.
Moreover, having a stunning portfolio will provide you a morale boost, which will positively affect your job search and overall career switch grinding experience.
Here’s an example of my portfolio.
When I was actively interviewing, in my contact section, I actually embedded my Calendly profile to allow recruiters or any interested hiring managers to book time on my calendar directly.
I highly recommend doing that because your portfolio will act as a landing page that advocates for you and books appointments for you 24/7.
Apply For Jobs
Next, once you have a working MVP portfolio. Set goals on how many jobs you want to apply in a given quarter or month. I recommend tracking this on a quarterly system for simplicity sake.
Initially, I recommend applying to start-ups to slowly get acclimated to the interviewing process for software developers.
Next, work your way up to bigger companies or companies of your liking.
During the job search phase, you want to aggregate as much feedback as you can so can you iterate on your learning curriculum and figure out what you need to focus on to be successful.
Participate In Accelerator Programs To Get A Job Faster
Lastly, depending on what stage you are in your job search, you might consider attending career accelerator programs to increase your surface area on getting interviews and ultimately, hired.
Here, you might have to spend a bit more capital for the recruiting and training services these companies provide.
Depending on how you budgeted and wisely used your capital during your career switch will ultimately determine how much of these career accelerators you can afford to leverage.
Here are a couple of career accelerators I’ve considered or used during my journey:
Chingu (Korean word for friend): “Get out of tutorial purgatory”
This company provides a great opportunity for you to work on a collaborative project.
If I found out about them sooner, I would have leveraged this opportunity for my 3rd project since its valuable to get direct experience working in an agile, engineering team environment.
Hatchways: We help new grads, newcomers, and career shifters get their first job in tech.
One of the co-founders, Jaclyn Ling, reached out to me to conduct a prospect information interview.
This company helps assess your skills, prepare you for interviews, and set you up with a pool of companies on their platform for interviews into internships or direct hires.
Outco: Software Engineer technical interview preparation on core computer science fundamentals
Outco is essentially a 5-week data structure and algorithms bootcamp. Typically, individuals who are self-taught and do not have a traditional CS college degree, are weak on computer science foundations.
I’ve considered this because I found myself lacking this skillset and wanted to accelerate my process.
They have different tuition payment options like full payment up to deferred payment till you secure a job offer.
Key Takeaways & Action Items
You Need An End In Mind
Especially when you are self-taught, a visual living curriculum roadmap will keep you fixed on your goals and keep yourself accountable.
Without having a clear roadmap, you will inevitably float in a perpetual tutorial or study hell without a clear way out.
That’s why it’s important to insert breakpoints in your learning where you need to deliver tangible outcomes or results.
Otherwise, you are truly simply wasting your time.
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