How I Became a Full Stack Developer in Less Than 2 Years.

Nazia Akhtar
Sep 22, 2020 · 4 min read

Just Another article ? Yes, but more detailed about the struggle of the journey. Starters will relate.

Phase 0: Beginning of 2019:

This is January of 2019 and I have heard that you don’t need a computer science degree to pursue a career in Programming. I know few people in real life who had done this sort of thing before. Also some of the YouTube- programmers have cashed upon this claim. The 2019 stack overflow developer survey was a huge booster which says that around 20% of the respondents either didn’t go to college or don’t have a computer science degree. Although there was enough motivation all around, the technology jargon presented a great barrier. I was overwhelmed by the shear amount of knowledge coming my way. It was very difficult to decide upon which programming languages and technologies to start with. Here is how I did it.

Phase 1: Blind struggle

People in this phase often struggle to make the right choice of technology and programming language. I searched through Quora answers , Reddit discussions, and Medium articles in the hope of finding the answer to “which programming language should you learn in 2019”. As always, I found mixed opinion. I also searched through Job portals to get a rough idea of what employers are seeking. As a result of a week-long research, I came to the conclusion that I should learn JavaScript as my first Language.

Why JavaScript ?

— Almost all of the employers have some sort of ReactJS or AngularJS mentioned in their job post.

— Javascript was most popular in the developer survey conducted by Stack overflow.

— Moving to the server side with NodeJS is comparatively easy as it does not require you to learn a new programming language.

So it was clear that I should start learning JavaScript as a language and then ReactJS right away. I started learning them in parallel. Since I did a course on C++ in college, it was fairly easy for me to pick pace with JavaScript. Some of the resources that helped me a lot are:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ke90Tje7VS0 (React Crash Course Basics by Programming with Mosh).

The official MDN web Docs really helped me with JavaScript.

Phase 2: The actual Struggle

From the very first day of this journey I started applying for ReactJS positions. I got 8 interview calls within the first two months and I was offered a Junior ReactJS position at a medium size employer. One portal that helped me a lot developing problem solving techniques in HackerRank. Almost every employer analyze your problem solving skills.

After joining I became part of a project that involved juggling lot of Data and visualization. Days passed by and things started to make sense for me. Each day I had something new to learn. I learned version controlling with GIT, team/task management with JIRA, and how things work in a software development team. During this phase I got to learn Redux and more advanced topics in ReactJS. The beauty of this phase is that you get to learn new things each day and you don’t have to push yourself for it. You enjoy the struggle. The questions in your mind from phase 1 are now getting answered gradually.

Phase 3: Taking the next and right STEP!

After 6 months with my first employer, I felt my learning process has slow down. There I felt the need to move on and find a more challenging environment. So I started learning more about the server side. Again, the crash course for ExpressJS by Programming with Mosh helped a lot. Also I started learning about Databases and differences between noSQL and SQL. With basic knowledge of mongoDB and ExpressJS, I started to apply for more challenging roles with other employers.

Luckily, I got my second job on a project which was related to e-commerce. I joined them around November 2019 and still working with them. My learning process kicked in again. Changing places for better roles is very much necessary for learning. During this phase I realized that Documentation is the most important thing for any technology/library/framework.

Changing places for more challenging roles is very much necessary for learning.

Since I was working across the stack (with multiple micro-services and databases) , I started to understand what exactly full stack is. There is a feeling in “In the know”. The following months, I learned the basics of Kubernetes, docker containerization, AWS services, Micro-services architecture, Terraform and many other technology jargon which seems impossible to comprehend initially. This is the very phase where you start to realize the importance of clean code and how tech-debt is accumulated in software projects.

Current Phase: ( The side Hustle kicks In…)

One of the major reason to pursue a career in programming is the freedom of creating things. Programming is freedom. You can start building projects: You only need to have an idea and a computer. The feel for side hustle kicks in when you feel confident. As of now, I am working a full time job, couple of my own projects, and some freelance work.

But one question still remains. WHAT’S NEXT ????

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Nazia Akhtar

Written by

Born in Hunza and moved to New York for education and then Toronto for work. NYU 2018

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +789K followers.

Nazia Akhtar

Written by

Born in Hunza and moved to New York for education and then Toronto for work. NYU 2018

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +789K followers.

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