Up to this point, I have mostly shared my story with some advice sprinkled in. Chances are if you’re reading this, you either are thinking about changing careers or are in the middle of learning to code with the intent of changing careers. I hope that the advice below will help you develop a plan or stick with your current plan and reach your goal.
- Find out what motivates you and use it to your advantage. For me, it was checklists, documenting my progress, and interacting with various programming communities. If you are not motivated to reach your goal, then nothing else matters because you won’t finish.
- Make goals and meet them. I would argue that you should have monthly goals and maybe even daily goals. Monthly goals to make sure you are on track to meet your main goal, and daily goals to make sure that you actually make daily progress. One strategy that worked for me was to make my daily goals the night before. That way, you can’t do unproductive work all day and feel like you made progress when you really didn’t. It forces you to compare your daily accomplishments with your daily goals.
- Go to meetups way before you think you are ready. Going to meetups can feel scary, but as I mentioned above. But, in general everyone is nice and willing to help. You might find people that aren’t interested in talking with you, but they are the minority and no one will be judgmental. Also, everyone loves to give advice (like I’m doing right now).
- Contribute to open source way before you think you are ready. When you first start programming, Github seems like this scary place that you never want to go to. It is actually very welcoming to beginners and is a great place to see good code and get your own code reviewed. If you’re still not convinced, check out my post, Why you should contribute to open source right now.
- Start applying way before you think you are ready. This one was tough for me because I thought I was different. I thought I didn’t need to test the market to get a feel for what to work on. I thought I would know when I would be ready to apply. I’m telling you right now. You will not know when to apply. So you might as well start now. You shouldn’t go crazy and apply to 300 companies before you learn for loops. But you should know that the best way to know what you need to learn is by applying and testing the market.