This blog post is a sequel to the challenge I proposed in my last blog post, “15 Positive Arguments for Committing To The Self-Taught Developer Path”.

Context

Technically, I’ve been self-taught for close to 2 years. Granted towards the 1 ½ mark, I did attempt to join a coding boot camp.

However, what I thought would be the answer to my problems, just left me with more problems and I found being a self-taught developer to be the best fit for my situation.

It’s like, instead of using Ruby On Rails, you opt for using React and a bunch of other libraries to DIY (do it yourself). 

What Can You Get Out of This

I will talk about the multitude of challenges I’ve faced along on this journey.

And hopefully, you can gain some insights and make a good decision on whether a structured path of joining a coding boot camp, getting a CS degree, etc might be a better fit for you vs trying the self-taught path.

Why You Shouldn’t Be a Self-Taught Developer

It. Is. Hard. Like Games on Legendary Mode

Internally, all aspects of your career transition will be on hard mode. There are no handicaps. 

When you join a university degree program for computer science, that’s like playing the game on normal mode.  

Or if you join a coding boot camp, that’s like playing on an intermediate level.

Now, as a self-taught developer, you are on strict hard mode. Meaning, the typical challenges in the game will be scaled to be exponentially more difficult. 

People Look At You Weird. Some With Respect. Some…

Building upon the last point. Hard mode. Externally, when you approach potential companies, employers, bosses, etc; the majority will stop you at the gate (resume application phase) and that will be it. 

There will be a handful of individuals who respects your choice of hard mode and give you a chance.

Normally, these are start-ups. Very rarely do more established companies give you these opportunities unless the role you apply for is junior or entry level.

Even then, there are walls of applicants to jump to be seen.

You Are Still Fighting Status Quo

On top of hard mode, your fighting society’s status quo and biases against self-taught professionals. 

It’s interesting because based on recent surveys, two out of three developers are self-taught, and other trends from a survey of 56,033 coders.

However, since the status quo is extremely fixated on the need for credentials from universities, especially top Ivy leagues, etc; this makes the game atmosphere for self-taught developers even harder. 

Lack Of Support for Self-Taught Developer

There hasn’t been a business model that iterates on the innovations of a coding boot camp, which when they first emerged around 2011.

With the passing of 8 years, resources like YouTube, Udemy, and other online learning resources truly democratized access to learning technical skills like programming.

However, these resources are scattered and there has yet to be someone who creates a business model to leverage great free or affordable resources as part of the next evolution of coding boot camps.

Luckily, there have been some spark of hope for the self-taught developer with start-ups like Chingu, which is a free collaboration community for developers, that connects you with other self-taught individuals to build collaborative projects.  

Another start-up I’ve encountered would be Hatchways, which is a platform that provides individuals with paid work opportunities to enable them to discover fulfilling work at any stage of their life.

Yet, there still is a disconnect and opportunity to innovate and provide a viable solution for self-taught developers.

Ding Ding. Potential future start-up idea? 😉

It’s Really All On You. Success. Failure

With the game turned on hard. Status quo against you. Lack of support for the self-taught developer. 

It’s all up to you really. Water in liquid, ice, and vapor form! The me, myself, and I team!

Set Goals: You have to set deadlines for learning courses, skills, and accomplishing projects

Research: You got to go out and do the research on what technologies the market wants.

Learning Curriculum: You have to develop your own learning curriculum

Getting Help: You have to reach out to find mentors or experts, convince them to invest in you

Selling Yourself: You have to position your social profiles, resume, and your pitch to have potential employers believe in your value (everyone does this regardless, but for self-taught developers, you have to be more proactive with your approach)

Generate Leads: You have to find a job and apply at a healthy cadence

Technical Interview: You have to teach yourself data structures and algorithms to prepare for onsite whiteboards or coding problem screens

There are probably more things involved. But essentially, as a self-taught developer, you are basically are entrepreneurial for your own business: your software development services!

When you join a college or coding boot camp, some of these tasks are outsourced to another party and you can focus on specific functions vs cover all.

Const { stress, depression, fear } = this.theNegativeEmotionalState;

For the faint of heart or those who are not disciplined, will view all these segments as a bit overwhelming.

To add on top of that, at each of these segments, you will face things alone and take the full brunt of feedback: good or bad. 

You will hit highs and lows in your journey. And when you hit your lows, it will feel like a bass note from a scale that other people cannot hear, but you intimately feel deep inside of you. 

Your state moves from baseline, high, and low in full spectrum. 

Stress creeps in because you are pushing yourself and you cannot only rely on yourself at the end of the day.

Depression hits when failures seem to be commonplace.

Fear strikes when you find yourself low on capital funds, yet things are not moving forward for you.

No One Really Understands Your Struggles. BUT be positive!

In summary, this is just a glimpse of the multiple states you will potentially experience as a self-taught developer.

No one will understand your struggles. Other self-taught developers will in closer proximity, but never truly. 

But be positive! Life is a marathon. Not a sprint. 

Key Takeaways & Action Items

Were you scared away? If not, courageously proceed forward.

Hopefully, this description doesn’t scare you away.

Ultimately, despite the drawbacks of a self-taught developer in the beginning of your journey, in the long run, being a self-taught developer will set you up for greater success.

If you successfully take your self-taught developer experience and convert it into a tangible result like landing a developer job or a technical job, the entire process will be worth it in full because your ROI against your cost margin will be higher in your favor most of the time.

In the next blog post, I will talk about other potential jobs you can land as a self-taught developer.

Was This Helpful? Please Support 🙂

If you found this content to be helpful, I would love your support by clicking into these Amazon affiliate links in my tools page and go through your normal purchasing habits. 

Or you can join my Patreon community. Your membership [Basic fan support at $1/month] will help support increasing the quality of the content

Doing this will support this blog and my other resources like my YouTube channel so I can continue to produce high quality, useful content on a weekly basis. 

Influencer Inspirations

This blog has been inspired by these creators who specialize in inspiring other potential, prospective upcoming software developers with their content:

Programmer Inspirations

Chris Sean, Whatsdev, Joshua Fluke, Traversy Media, Dylan Israel, Engineered Truth, freeCodeCamp

Entrepreneurial Inspirations

Roberto Blake, Dan Lok, Kevin David.

This blog was made to serve you. Enjoy.

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