Coding and Opportunities [My Story]

TL;DR: Learned some code, updated my resume/LinkedIn, recruiter reached out, I got hired for a salary position (not a Front-End Dev position) but in the coding and business development environment.

Some Backstory

Roughly 14 months after I graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Central Florida I began my journey learning code through freeCodeCamp. But before I get to that, please indulge me by reading a little about some backstory, pre-code.

After graduation, I had moved back in with my mom and brother to my hometown of Boca Raton, FL. I held a job unrelated to my field of study working more than 30 hours per week (without benefits).

I had been with that company throughout college but it wasn’t until about two months into working at the Boca location that I decided to put my two weeks in and leave the company. Not for any particular reason other than I realized that that job wouldn’t benefit my future dreams and ambitions so I quit and bet on myself that I could do or find something more in line with my goals.

My “Side Hustle”

This left me with loads of time to really focus on a side project I had been working on, my e-commerce company Live Genuine Project. It was and is currently is run on a Wordpress CMS with a theme I bought because it had very useful tool built into it called Visual Composer.

This tool allows the user to simply drag and drop features into a Wordpress page and arrange sections of the website by a few clicks of a button, effectively eliminating the “hassle” that a first time website builder might have. Along with the theme purchase came theme support for 6 months, just in case the new theme owner needed further help/ customization beyond the theme options.

All of this meant that I was able to start and run a perfectly good e-commerce website while never having learned a single line of code.

Conflict, Coding and Baby Steps

About a year went on tending to LiveGenuineProject.com (building, maintaining, and updating it’s website) when I decided to learn some code on my own. I didn’t want to rely on renewing theme support and updating Visual Composer in order to customize LGP.

It should be noted that at the time I started learning, I didn’t have any grandiose dreams of creating the world’s next must-have app (though it is a current goal, haha) or gaining employment with the people’s online hero, Google. No, I simply wanted to know the basics — how to change the color of this text, how to move this content there, or how to center this image. So I did my research and started chipping away at the fundamental trifecta (HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript).

Resources and Story Time

Let me preface this by stating that there are numerous, mostly free, online tools that are available to any willing student but I will only mention the ones I used as to not drown a new-to-coding reader in what will seem like too much of foreign language jargon.

Story time: The following resources are basically all I needed to get started in learning code and getting hired as an marketing production associate.
Truth be told, I wasn’t even looking for a job in coding. I actually applied to the same company for something different but the recruiter saw that I had knowledge of HTML and CSS so they offered me an opportunity to interview for my current position.
Also, as a someone self-taught in this area I felt a chip on my shoulder because I didn’t have formal education for this. I didn’t think I was qualified to work in a coding environment. Even in something simple like working with emails and inline styles, but this experience proved me wrong.
Furthermore, though this wasn’t a Front-End Developer position, I figured it’d be a good foot-in-the-door for other opportunities in web development. So I interviewed (multiple sessions), took an HTML5 test and passed! Work officially started in August 2017, just two months after I began my coffee filled journey through freeCodeCamp.

List of Resources (All Free)

https://www.freecodecamp.org/
Think of this as the curriculum

https://www.youtube.com/user/DevTipsForDesigners
These are awesome tutorials

https://www.w3schools.com/
Think of this as a library for code

https://www.sololearn.com/
Think of this as mini curriculums

https://stackoverflow.com/
Think of this as a Q and A forum for code

These are all the resources I used to learn HTML, CSS, and some Javascript in the short amount of time it took me to learn and get hired in the field.

Present Day [March 4th, 2018]

Now, I am over 6 months into the position and am being promoted to take over the SEO and digital media side of the company.

Yes, I am aware that this is NOT a Front-End Developer position, and that’s perfectly okay with me.

It IS an opportunity that allows me to grow in other important areas of an online business.

It IS an opportunity to learn and grow skills applicable to both my current employer and future endeavors.

It IS NOT something that will stop me from continuing to learn code and programming on my own.

Moral Of The Story

This is not a guide on “How To Become A Front-End Developer”.

This is a story about how I learned code (out of necessity) and subsequently opportunities presented themselves. Working with my current employer is helping to shape my business, professional, technical, and personal life skills.

So although I am not formally employed as a Front-End Developer, I know I have the skills to work in the area and am acquiring complementary skills that are just as important in growing a successful online company. This gives me a unique working advantage of wearing many hats, thus increasing my value as an employee to any one company.

Wrapping It Up

I hope my experience brings hope to anyone interested in learning code and pursuing areas of online business development (my two great loves). Frankly, I’m just a regular person with no particular advantage by my side but will power, so if I can do it — you certainly can, too.

Please feel welcome to get in touch by writing a response below.

For business inquiries please contact me at ConnorOcampo@gmail.com