How I learned coding and entered the tech industry

Ricardo Martins
Aug 2 · 3 min read
Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Three years ago, I started learning to code as a hobby, far from knowing that I would end up becoming a front-end developer.

Last year, I went more in depth, and I dedicated 100% of my time doing a course about front-end and UX design.

Where It Began

After nine years and two jobs, one as a chemistry analysis technician, the other as a chemical engineer, I decided to change my career.

Along the way, I worked in and out of Portugal, specifically in Germany, where I had the opportunity to work with top technologies and evolve not only professionally but as a person.

When I decided to change my career, I faced many challenges — quitting a stable job, going for the unknown, learning a new language and culture, starting a family — and all of this happened at the same time.

While working in Germany, even with a challenging job, I felt my duty fulfilled with all this experience. Meanwhile, I was getting into the programming world, first as a hobby, but it awoke an insatiable interest.

I always wanted more, and now I knew that programming was the perfect match.

The Transition From Chemistry to the Front End

In my last year as a chemical engineer, I enrolled in some courses related to front-end development and built some small projects for friends. After some time, I joined the Treehouse learning platform and started to take it more seriously. I invested some money and spent much of my free time learning.

I followed what I used to call the normal path for people from other areas of expertise. I started learning HTML, CSS, Basic JavaScript, and jQuery.

Along the way, I found someone called Chris Sean who was giving the same steps that I was doing. Seeing someone from another background who succeeded was inspiring.

I also had the luck to find a mentor to guide me. It was crucial to have guidance from someone inside the industry and, coincidentally, another person without an IT background.

My Difficulties While Learning

Hindrances are inevitable, but my biggest obstacles were
focusing on one subject at the time, dealing with frustration, and
finding an exciting project to contribute.

Even working as a front-end developer, I’m still learning, and I will keep learning during my entire career, and that was one of the reasons I decided to change.

What I Learned From This Journey

Be in the right places!

Networking is the best way to enter this world and meet the right people at the right time at the right place. It didn’t take me three months to learn something valuable and get a job; it took almost three years, and I still feel like I’m at the starting point. Learning code can be very frustrating, but even so, never give up. The tech industry has a massive community, so you will always find someone who will help you get over some barriers.

Working surrounded by people who are always available to teach something new makes me learn a lot, be more humble. Willingness to give back to the community is contagious.

Knowledge is the best gift you can receive and offer.

Besides that, I had lucky to find a mentor who guided me throughout the last year. It was essential to have guidance from inside the industry.

Thank you for reading this.

Better Programming

Advice for programmers.

Ricardo Martins

Written by

Frontend developer with focus on user experience and a flair for design. Always looking for something new to learn and willing to help those around him.

Better Programming

Advice for programmers.

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