My Dev Story: Free Code Camp changed my life

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I dropped out of college in 2013 and went back to work in parts sales…
College was just too expensive, I had spent well over $16,000 at OSU before realizing something had to change. When i came back, i was depressed, distraught and broke. I did however gain one insight from college while attending, a passion for programming.

I had taken a course in VBA for Engineers and i distinctly remember how much i enjoyed it. Automating tasks, parsing, and creating charts from data was exponentially more fun for me than, say, my physics homework. So when i came back from my semester, i turned a new chapter in my life. I began studying HTML, CSS, and Javascript in my spare time.

Early 2014 i was doing side projects in wordpress (cringe) and starting my own businesses, utilizing my new found skills to create what would be a few of my very first personal websites and also projects for other people. I kept my head down and kept pursuing my passion. To be in control of my career. To be a commodity in the job marketplace as opposed to a dispensable clock watcher.

Late 2014 my businesses closed one way or another and i went back to being an average Joe (nothing against average Joe’s, they’re awesome people). I went to work as a sales rep for a local cable company. Using my free time to study programming and web development as much as possible. Early 2015 i started playing around with C# with a friend of mine and really buckling down on Javascript.

That’s when i found Free Code Camp

Free Code Camp challenged me at first. Even the basic algorithms caused me many hours of sleepless nights. After time however, i came to enjoy the challenge. Solving problems, to me, is one of the most exciting things about programming. It drove me to be consistent and to follow through on solutions, not to give up. The answer does exist.

I went through the curriculum on Free Code Camp for several months, also watching devtips and Simple Programmer, and it wasn’t long before i got a good solid position working with a non profit. This non profit was towards the end of 2015 and i realized shortly thereafter that i was more than ready to seek a on staff position as a developer. I began applying everywhere.

I sent out at least 30 applications.
I did everything short of begging.
I customized cover letters.
I went through local staffing companies.

After 3 months, 2 in-person interviews and several failed attempts at groveling, i was given a shot. I was hired as a software and web developer at a large company in downtown Oklahoma City. Here is a paraphrase of my cover letter…

Please, oh please let me sweep floors, for minimum wage, as long as i can sit behind someone who is programming. All i need is an opportunity. If you need coffee, i will get coffee, if you need a footstool, i have a strong back… etc etc

That’s what it took…

I spent the next 6 months learning and growing as a developer, leveraging all avenues available to further my career.

Nowadays i am a contract developer for startups, large enterprises, small businesses. I am auditioning for work with pluralsight in order to create lessons in javascript and i am in the midst of creating a youtube channel for webinars and programming lessons. I am an admin on the Free Code Camp OKC facebook page and i do talks/lessons every sunday between 2 and 4 pm. It’s my small way of giving back.

I owe my success to the wonderful people at Free Code Camp. Their program catapulted me into becoming an employable developer.

Free Code Camp changed my life

Thank you for reading my dev story. I know a lot of people struggle with getting into the field and i wanted the details of how i become a successful dev, to be known. If you have any questions or want to know more about me or what i’m up to, follow me on twitter, add me as a friend on linkedin or checkout my github.