The 7-Year Journey From Self-Taught To Senior Developer

How did I even get here, I am still in awe.

Ann Adaya
For Self-Taught Developers
6 min readAug 18, 2022


Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

“The limit is not the sky, it is our minds.”

As we had our Daily Scrum meeting last Monday, a Junior developer was reporting her tickets and progress, she mentioned her difficulties and how she was able to fix most of her bugs with the help of her Senior Developer, guess who that was?

Me. haha

Kidding aside, it never really occurred to me that I have become the Senior Developer that I am today, and to be completely honest, I am still in awe.

Junior developers mentioning my name along with the words “Senior Developer” is still fascinating and probably will take more time to sync in.

It still feels like yesterday with all those struggles, I even had days crying because it was just so difficult and the senior developer I had at that time was the worst developer you could possibly think of.

But the experience taught me one of the most important things early on, to become the Senior Developer I needed as I started my journey.

Be the person you needed when you were struggling

This basic principle could save a life, so if you have been in the industry for a while, try and help a developer as much as you can, and be the person you needed when you were just starting.

And it is also one of the best things in this community, some so many experienced developers are helping the younger ones through groups, forums, and blogs, this is why StackOverflow is the most popular in the programming world.

My life has never been the same since I embraced my developer career, and I think most developers do.

I’m not here to brag, but rather to just give you a glimpse of how it is in the real world.

In my circle of friends and acquaintances, whenever I was asked about the job I do and told them that I am a programmer/developer all of their reactions are nothing but ‘wow’, ‘omg’, ‘you are so cool’, ‘that’s so amazing’, ‘you are a genius’, and everything else that comes along with it.

Even if you feel like the developer world is already saturated, ‘oh it is already so crowded, ‘there are so many developers nowadays’, ‘the space is so competitive these days’, whatever excuse you have there, the reality is, it is not.

It is not true at all, there are so many jobs available these days, I’ve been offered a lot of projects, jobs, full-time, part-time, project-based you name it.

When the pandemic hits the world, my LinkedIn explodes, and the recent events made the world realize how important technology is, I am not biased but the job offers and opportunities I had was proof and a glimpse of what our future would be like.

Programmers have been in demand even before the lockdowns, but recently everything went into a snowball effect, finally, the world is awakening and realizing how important programmers are and how cool our community is that inspired others to give programming a try.

Self-Taught Developer is a myth

If you haven’t read some of my work, I am a self-taught developer and I started 7 years ago, I got my first job after 6 months of all-nighters trying to learn how to build websites.

I first heard about web development from a colleague who send his resignation, we were working in a non-tech company at that time, and we hated it so much that we were looking for an exit, he enrolled himself in a 6-month study now pay later program, notes that this was 7 years ago, but during that time I couldn’t afford to resign because I was living on my own in a big city so I have bills to pay, and funny enough, I don’t have a laptop.

The world will make a way for a man who knows where he/she is going, I bought a second-hand laptop on a credit, I promised myself to give this a chance, I called it the greatest escape, I couldn’t ask my parents, I was already 25yrs old at that time, and I was starting over.

I didn’t know much back then, but it was the best thing I did in my life, you know it doesn’t matter where you are, what you have in life currently, the important thing is who you wanted to become and what you want in life?

Just focus on it and everything else will follow.

So if you are still deciding to take on this path, or if there is a journey you wanted to start, but you are not sure if it will work or not, then let me give you this piece, the time will pass anyway, so you might as well take it, embrace it, because, at the end of the day, the real question is, how bad do you want it?

Nothing is impossible, it may take time yes, you will fail several times, yes, but there’s a power in showing up no matter how hard life gets, just show up, one step at a time, and you will eventually get there, trust me, you will get there.

Gems that you can’t find in StackOverflow

I got my first job after 6 months, was it luck, or hard work? Or maybe the universe knew how badly I wanted it to come true.

After a few months of working on my first job, I realized that getting that first job was only just the beginning. I was working with a team of 9 programmers, and all of them are computer engineers, computer science, and computer architect, I was shocked.

I was the only self-taught developer, and I was struggling A LOT.

The pressure, the doubts, the insecurities were eating me alive. I was the weakest link in the team, I was the stupid person in the room, it took me a while to realize that it was the best space I could possibly dream of.

I learned fast, and I grew as a developer with the best programmers except for our senior developer who was the worst, thankfully my colleagues helped me as I was struggling.

Your colleagues especially the senior developers are one of your best assets, they know a lot of things that you don’t so make sure to respect them, listen to them, and learn from them as much as you can.

Make time to learn new things every single day, becoming a developer is continuous learning, if you have a career in technology the learning never ends so embrace it.

Last but not least, learning how to learn is more important than what to learn, read that again — be resourceful, it will be the greatest asset you will have in this journey, that skill is bigger than your college degree.

Keep hustling you little hustler! The world is ours to build, so keep coding!

Thank you for reading!

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Ann Adaya
For Self-Taught Developers

Software Developer, Founder/Owner: For Self-Taught Developers + Developer's Cheatsheet: