My Story as a Cashier to a Junior Web Developer in Just 12 Months

Some years ago, I was a cashier at a retail store, but today, I am a junior website developer at web design, web development, and digital marketing company. It’s not an easy journey to transition from a newbie in software engineering to a seasoned software engineer, it takes dedication, perseverance, and a lot of energy to make it to that level I am. Today, I pride myself as a web developer something I always wanted to do even though I didn’t get the opportunity to have formal training on web development.

So, how did I move from the cashier to being a web developer? This is the journey:

The Progress

My journey to becoming a web developer came through self-teaching. I realized that I had to dedicate my time and learn a programming language to be able to code. I wasn’t easy, but I learned that through determination and perseverance, you can go far in making your dreams come true. I began with a website design class I undertook during my college time when I was working towards attaining my bachelor’s degree in the area of media communication. Perhaps the web design class could have given me the foundation from where I could build now my favorite career. During that time I was in college doing my bachelor’s degree, I had an interest in writing and wanted to work in marketing. This happens to most of us – you go to college, take your degree course, and get a job, only to realize that this is not what you are passionate about. This is what happened to me. I realized that I wasn’t getting along with my current job and needed to shift gears.

My goals took a different direction when I decided to learn programming languages starting with HTML, CSS, and ultimately JavaScript. It was a self-taught journey intended to pull me to work with a web developer company.

I began with the basics of the language HTML and CSS and I did it at Codeacademy, an online resource for learning programming languages. After, I came across Team Treehouse on the social media channel YouTube and taught myself JavaScript. Soon after, I began learning PHP, but I didn’t like it, so I had to change buttons and went to study Python. Programming languages are many and they keep on evolving. There are new things and trends coming up in this area of programming. You also want to determine which programming languages are selling and the ones that are likely to remain in the market for the next dedicates. I picked Python over PHP because it is a preferred choice by businesses in building applications and other software.

I wrote my first project in Python and it was a numbers game. Like in any programming study, you want to practice, practice, and practice.

I knew that it was only through practice that I could see I have understood and can write in a specific programming language. In my first project, the computer could pick a random number, and then the user would make three attempts to guessing the correct number. It is a project that made me be excited and motivated to continue learning coding languages. I continued with my Python learning and studied the basics of object-oriented programming through readings from the Self Taught Programmer book done by Cory Althoff.

Learning Python assisted me to understand PHP better, and now I could take the PHP I had previously abandoned learning. Python also allowed me to understand JavaScript better. From my experience, you may not always understand things when you first start to study or learn them, however, when you keep your head up and persevere, you eventually will be able to learn that those things. Some programming languages can help you understand others better, so you are better off when you start with certain coding languages than others. It sets the grounds for learning other coding languages.

The learning curve – Routine

When I started learning coding languages, I began early in the morning around 4 am. This was a good time because it allowed me to continue with my current time job as a cashier in a retail store while at the same time taking part-time studies for my self-taught coding languages. I would prepare a cup of coffee and take about an hour reading tech-related subjects and content on social media like Reddit.

I would check what’s in my Trello board that helped me keep track of the assignments and tasks I have for my programming projects. I could spend between 6 to 8 hours every day doing a lot of reading about programming in programming books. It also read about writing code. I was young, had just turned 22 and was doing a part-time job in a retail store to help me keep moving and meet immediate and regular expenses and I prepare for my future. I earned enough for my car’s gas, car insurance, grocery, rent, and the little things I needed as home essentials to keep me going.

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Although I was learning, it made me happier than I previously was when I only did the cashier job. The reason is that I was now doing programming and building new projects – that’s what I love and that’s what makes me happy even to this date.

In my journey to being a dedicated web developer, I learned the power of habit. If you are consistent with something, you will eventually get the habit of doing it. When you learning to program, some days will feel you can’t take anything or you are not at your best because you are setting your brain outside the comfort zone, and it doesn’t want to go that extra mile to learn a new concept. It is even possible to want to give up, however, when you build good habits, you slowly and strongly get through all those blues and attain your goal.

Passion- My Driving force

When growing up, I was shy and quiet. I got bullied in school because other students found that I was quiet and felt lonely and took advantage of that situation. When I look back then, I can say that in my childhood, I daydreamt about the person I wanted to be when I grow up, like when I was 28, but I didn’t think about how I would get there. It took trial and error to land to my creative outlet and my luck came when I found programming was my favorite thing in life. When I see computers, I see something different – I think through the lenses. Computers are the things that make sense to me.

For all the years I have struggled to do other things, I was nobody. However, programming has today made me the person I wanted to grow up to be. Now I feel like someone. Although we can’t see software, it has a tangible impact on everyone’s life. My journey in learning coding languages seems not to end, I always find something new I should learn and that keeps my spirit up. It seems like I can’t get enough, I just have to keep on moving and learning coding and programming languages.

The Job Interview – Challenging bit

Not many people want to talk about their job interviews, especially when they find that they weren’t some of the best experiences. And for many, that’s how it is – interviews are not some of the best encounters in your career life, however, they help to build you and make you more focused and fit for the jobs.

After my first project, I did another one involving a social networking platform. In this project, I built is with frameworks Vue.js and Laravel. I wrote CRUD, worked with databases, included features like email notifications and verifications. When my family saw what I did, they encouraged me to consider applying for jobs – but I did feel like I was ready to jump to the job wagon in the field of programming. I did the job applications casually and wanted to be a junior web developer. I applied on Indeed, and without expectations, I got a response a couple of days later. A marketing agency was interested in me. I did an assessment using SQL on Indeed and then a phone call followed. A code assessment came next and then an in-person interview.

In the interview, I did code assessment. When done with my evaluation, the web dev director along with two senior developers from the marketing agency sat to review my answers. What blew them away was me telling them I was a self-taught web developer. After two weeks, I was hired to be a junior web developer with the agency and I am now enjoying my work more than I did.

Being a Junior Web Developer – the Experience

It’s an amazing thing for me to work as a web developer. I have learned a lot about solving real-world problems. When you do coding helping clients resolve problems or get solutions to challenges they are facing, you are discovering how potential you are. It is different than if you sat in your room to code by yourself. When working on clients’ projects, I have to think about how well it’s going to fit into their system. I enjoy this because I have to brainstorm my brain and look at the most effective way I can present my coding so that it helps our clients at the agency and their customers.

Even when my code breaks, I don’t take that as a failure, but as an opportunity to think in a different way than the typical to get back the code. I am happy I found my passion for programming, it just makes my day and I can’t imagine living without it. I just love to write code and explore new demanding projects for clients. If you want a great web development project, you have to work with a dedicated website developer India team or a qualified developer like me.