The year 2018 was the most successful in my life. I’ve achieved something I’ve always dreamed of, my deepest desire finally came to life - I’ve become a Developer. Needless to say that I wanted to be one when I was 15 years old, but back then programming seemed to be an art impossible to learn, something mysterious and very hard to master, a barrier impossible to overcome.
As with everything, the key to success was persistence. Of course, I wasn’t studying programming for 10 years just to learn it by now. I don’t know where would’ve I been if I did so. Whenever I tried to learn a programming language, the lack of patience and concentration have led me to the point where I was giving up and quitting every single time. In the very beginning, programming is very frustrating and doesn’t spark joy, little I knew the real programming is about problem-solving and fixing bugs. I thought that a program should run on the very first try, just as I think of it in my mind. If a software developer can compile/run a program on the first try - he is a wizard. In fact, if the debugger doesn’t give me errors, I’m way more worried. I always thought of programmers and hackers as one of the most intelligent life forms in the universe. I kept dreaming about becoming one, but the truth is, I wasn’t ready. At some point, I gave up completely. It was 6 years ago.
In 2017 I took advantage of an opportunity to enrol in the University of Genoa (Computer Science). I’ve spent a year there but the general knowledge of computers and a lot of Mathematics wasn’t something I was looking for. I’ve always been interested in Web development, but the University offers only 1 semester of Web development course, and of course, you can’t learn Web in 4 months. After one year of studying CS and passing Mathematics, I’ve dropped out.
The turning point in my life was on the 23rd of May, 2018, I’ve turned 25 years old and I haven’t found fulfilment in my life, I was feeling out of place for a long time, for 5 years to be exact. My University career is over at this point and it’s time to act. Fight-or-flight, it is. The choices are: doing something I don’t like the whole life and be depressed or study hard until I pass out and become someone I wanted to be for years. As you can guess, I’ve followed the second path, the path of my dreams.
To land the first job I had to study 8-12 hours a day, for 6 months. Whenever I was at home, I was using my “PC” (imagine what a 230$ laptop is capable of), on some days I visited a computer lab of the University. And when I had no access to a PC, guess what, I used my old iPhone with an SSH client to update my portfolio I’ve started to build. Months have passed by and in November I’ve decided to start to apply to Web developer positions.
So the day has come. After lunch I opened a search engine, the search query was “Web agency” -> Maps and I started to select each one to get in touch with. To my surprise, I’ve got an invitation to an interview after 2 - 3 days. The interview went well, but I was being quite pessimistic. You can’t get lucky on the first try, can you? Days have passed by without a response, I wasn’t even expecting a call at this point. But on Tuesday, 19/11/2019 I’ve got my first offer which I accepted immediately.
I can’t describe what I was feeling, I achieved something I wanted to achieve as long as I remember myself. It is not only about the money you earn, but it’s also about doing what you truly love. Of course, it was only the beginning of the journey, as developers, we have to study consistently throughout the career, we never stop learning.
If your dream is to become a developer too and you feel overwhelmed, don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Most likely you will feel overwhelmed even after you land your first developer job, at least for the first 6-12 months. The truth is you don’t have to be a genius to become a developer, the key is persistence. You don’t have to spend money on online courses or a University at all, instead join a community of developers like yourself and contribute to open source projects, build your first portfolio and start to apply. It’s that simple.