How I got my job as a junior developer and realised that I have no idea about what happens next.

Michael Rybintsev
Oct 1, 2017 · 5 min read

My wife and I love travelling and we spent literally all of our holidays abroad or rambling across national parks. Often we get out for a weekend. Searching for new experiences, hunting for novelty and carrying a rucksack everywhere is our lifestyle and hence the ‘travel-ly’ theme of my first post.

Tellaro, Italy

Pack the bag.

Here I am, walking down a road on a sunny afternoon, almost dancing with joy. I have two amazing reasons to be happy. It’s a beautiful sunny and warm day, which is a rarity for this year’s English summer, and I’ve just got a job offer to be a junior developer in Oxfordshire, never happened before. The thoughts about telling the news to my wife, relocation, handing in my notice are whirring in my head…

When a destination catches your eye.

Five months before, coming back from work after the whole day of thinking “If only I knew how to code my working day would have been a breeze.”, I’ve decided that nothing bad would happen, if I just try to learn a tiny bit about something I know so little about.

Two weeks in, I’ve decided to keep a diary, as, at least, I could later justify to myself, I properly tried.

Research before condemn!

Google, Quora, “which language to choose?”, “Christ, this is difficult already”, “F* it, Python it is!”, Codecademy, FreeCodeCamp, EdX, Coursera, Team Treehouse.

Here’s the diary itself:

It’s all in chronological order, and you can easily see that despite numerous “Here’s 500 materials you can do to go from 0 to We-will-give-you-senior-$1m-job at huge-mega-famous-valley-company” guides, I just didn’t follow any of them and just went where my mind took me. There are 3 things which mainly dictated the way I went:

  • Deep fear of website design aesthetics — I’m not a guy you would go to ask for a fashion advice, hence there is very little about CSS and anything remotely related to CSS.
  • Insecurities about my maths knowledge — explains why I did a bit of Khan Academy and mainly as a challenge went into Coursera Machine Learning with A. Ng.
  • Feeling that I’m running out of time.

Important materials, which helped me, are all highlighted in red and in this post I’ll mainly focus on a few books which helped me mentally to stay on course

Commit.

There are two categories to my favourite resources.

Online learning platforms:

  • Coursera — University of Toronto. Learn to Program: The Fundamentals.
  • Team Treehouse. Python courses are fantastic.

Paper category. (Well, some of it was pdf.) Here’s my must-read list:

An astonishing book, which I read during my degree. It introduces a structured way of thinking. If you ever wondered how to formalise your problem solving process, there it is. And much much more. Oh, yeah, and he is also famous for Norman doors, among other things…

Those famous fiendish questions? Yep, they are in here. Give it a shot.

Cracking the Coding Interview is an amazing book, but I honestly didn’t even try to solve(or read, really) any problems from it. I think it’s super helpful to us, beginners, as it introduces the hiring process from the inside, so first few chapters, really. I promise, will try to do the rest later.

Oh yeah, John is a great guy. Listen to any podcast you can find with him. The book is what it says on the cover. Don’t know if it IS complete, but it surely feels that way. It will answer most, if not all of your questions.

Walk on!

So here we are. Now what? What happens next?

There aren’t many resources where self-taught developers share what challenges they face after getting the job. So I’ll try my best to do just that. Which is why I started this blog.

If you’re interested to know how it all works out, please follow me on my journey further here or on my Twitter Michael Rybintsev.

Near Grundarfjordur, Iceland

Chat to you later!


This post was largely inspired by Quincy Larson, creator of FreeCodeCamp, the whole FCC community, Eastbourne FCC and Vaidehi Joshi and her BaseCS challenge. Thank you so much, Vaidehi, for doing that podcast with Code Newbie.


If you enjoyed this story, please click the 👏 button and share to help others find it. Feel free to leave a comment.

Feel free to check out my article about my first two weeks!

If you struggle with npm — no more, this might help you:

You can’t decide on the language to learn? Make your mind up.

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