How I Found a Job That Makes Me Feel Good As a Developer and a Person
I started out as an English major who wanted to change the world. I hoped to become a professor who could write a groundbreaking book, maybe about feminism, or gender, or race, or sexuality, or postcolonial theory, or something else that I deemed crucial.
These dreams were put on hold when I was rejected from graduate school. Rather than following the (many) other paths available for an English major, I decided to learn to code and try to find a job as a developer.
I went to Dev Bootcamp, and graduated in December 2015. If you haven’t heard of it, DBC is a coding bootcamp in NYC, and it’s 18 weeks of intense learning. I could not have handled another day, and have no desire to code that much ever again. Unless I start my own business, but that’s a different story.
Life After the Bootcamp
After graduating, I crashed, really hard. I half-heartedly sent out some emails and went to a career fair hosted by DBC.
Then I accepted a job as a freelance writer, which made no sense. That role developed and I became an editor, and then the Editorial Lead. Strangely enough, that job led me to an internship at another company where I had my first real world development experience.
I was in for a shock. That internship introduced me to many wonderful people and offered me some fantastic mentors, but it also taught me exactly what kind of company I do not want to work for, and made me disillusioned about startups. It turns out they aren’t all fun, games, and beer. There can be a whole lot of drama and some tremendously poor leadership, too.
The Job Search
Armed with an arsenal of new experiences, some good and some bad, I turned down an offer to work as a contractor with that company and started out on yet another job search. This was stressful and exhausting. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I should turn down the offer. What if I couldn’t find another job? I worried that no one else would hire me because I lacked experience. I make up for that lack of technical experience with communication skills, but it’s pretty hard to demonstrate those while doing a coding challenge.
While I was at my internship, I had received some coding challenges and had gone through a couple of internships, but none of them panned out. I started sending out more resumes and trying to leverage my network more effectively. Once I went into panic mode, I had many more opportunities, calls from recruiters, and coding challenges.
I was told to apply to my new company by a colleague at my old job, and I jumped at the opportunity. I liked the company immediately because it matched where I saw myself. It’s 15 minutes away from my apartment, and it’s a for-profit company that works with nonprofits. It didn’t seem to have the silly drama that plagued my own company, and they wanted to invest in my growth as badly as I wanted to provide value to them.
I started learning Angular for the job. I worked on it daily, watching videos and working through tutorials. I got a Macbook Air even though I couldn’t afford it, (believe it or not, my intern salary was pretty low). I spent hours at coffee shops trying to build basic SPA applications. And I got the job!
This was all, of course, crazy, but I somehow managed to find a job that makes me feel good as a junior developer, and more importantly, as a person who cares about the world and other people a whole lot.
I had to struggle a lot to find this job. I questioned my intelligence, my morals, and whether I was cut out to do anything, let alone find a job as a developer. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to pay my rent, and I sent a lot of really depressing text messages to my friends (sorry, friends).
But here I am! I achieved my goal, and I’m ready to keep pushing myself to learn faster and be a stronger person. I hope that I can give back as much to my new company as they have given to me.
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