Let me tell you a story about Silvestar, a fellow who learned how to code, took some chances during his career and become a solid, confident web developer.
Silvestar never coded in his life. He thought he would work as an IT engineer. But the situation at the market made him apply to a web developer job ad. Future boss provided an opportunity for him to learn about web development. If Silvestar succeeds, he could work in this company. He was not the only candidate, so he needed to work extra hard to prove his worth.
In the beginning, Silvestar was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. The boss helped candidates by providing learning materials. The boss also gave the assignment to every candidate. Few times a month, the boss organized a class where he showed the solution, answered questions from candidates, and talked about programming.
“Everybody has to start somewhere.”
I started from zero.
After a few months, Silvestar started to like programming. He didn’t sleep many nights because he had new ideas about how to solve problems. For every issue he addressed, he thought he is ready for work. But with every new assignment, he also learned he is not ready yet. Finally, after about a half a year, the boss decided to give him and a couple of other candidates a chance to prove themselves on a project. He was hired, he became a developer.
In about a few months, as project complexity increased, Silvestar figured out what are his strengths and weaknesses. His role was all-around developer, but he liked the frontend: HTML, CSS, and jQuery. He enjoyed working on a user interface in any form, from slicing PSD to HTML, to adding interactions.
He was working on different projects for a few years. Then a new opportunity arose. A local startup was hiring a frontend developer, and Silvestar decided to give it a shot. After completing a challenging task that he thought he could not do, he was hired. The company was big, with more than 20 people organized in different teams. He was part of a development team working on a solid product. He was quite happy and satisfied.
During this time, Silvestar learned a lot by attending meetings, collaborating with colleagues, working in teams, and presenting his work to other team members. He worked on challenging user interface parts, and he learned a lot about different Git workflows, project management techniques and tools, and coding principles and standards. Everyone was friendly and helpful.
Then, after a couple of years, the company was acquired by some larger organization which led to shutting down the company in a few months because the product showed as not being sustainable. Silvestar and all workers were let go.
During the time in a local startup, Silvestar heard of Toptal, a network of talents working remotely as freelancers. Silvestar was tempted to give it a go, but his family and friends were suspicious that was the right call. He applied nevertheless. After a couple of attempts, Silvestar got in. He was lucky as he was one of the first of the talents that were accepted as UI developers. He got his first gig within a couple of months.
“Fear is the compass.”
I made some bold choices at the given moment, but they all paid off.
It has been three years since Silvestar started with freelance work. He invested a lot of time in his professional development, and he decided to improve his skillset by learning new technologies and techniques. He decided to share his findings on his blog. He had the opportunity to prove his worth on challenging project, and he collaborated with amazing clients and developers from all over the world.
All in all, Silvestar is happy. He still has his doubts. He is still learning how to improve as a professional and as a developer. He still has to search for the same solutions online and still has to debug the same old bugs and issues. But he is not complaining, because he knows it is part of his job. For most of the time, Silvestar is quite happy how things turned out.
In case you were wondering, I am Silvestar. And in case you are asking yourself why I am writing this it is because I wanted to tell you a story about how I become a freelance web developer:
- I started from zero,
- I had many doubts and fears,
- I made some bold choices at the given moment, but they all paid off,
- I never stopped learning.
I hope this story inspired you to start with a new career or to start chasing your dreams. Remember, it is a process, and it takes time to succeed. But know that hard-work would pay off.
I would like to hear your story one day. That is why I started The UI Development Mentoring Program. I created a new site where you could apply to become a mentee, or you could find useful resources and tips.
If you need more inspiration, read these tips I gathered during my career:
This post is part of The UI Development Mentoring Program series: