Digital Nomad and Full Time Software Consultant. Wrote my first code on Codecademy 5 years ago


5 years ago, I was working for a large U.S bank in their collections department calling people who didn't pay their car loans. I had graduated university with a dual degree in Anthropology and Economics but when I started looking for jobs in 2011 I was not finding anything past entry level positions that probably mostly didn't require a degree. I was seriously miserable and felt like I was going nowhere.

I was talking with a roommate of mine who was a Drupal developer about our love of logic puzzles and he mentioned that if I liked that sort of thing, I might like coding. He also mentioned that people seemed desperate to hire developers and that he was constantly being recruited which sounded nice.

The next day I did the HTML and CSS courses on Codecademy and made it through the build a resume challenge. I went straight to the Ruby course and found that it was way harder. I stuck with it for a couple weeks but gave up for a little bit when I didn't understand the hashes section. After going to a local ruby meetup and getting a lot of encouragement I got back to the Ruby course and finished it over the next two months.

Around that time, I posted on the board for a local Ruby meetup asking if anyone would be interested in giving me a full time unpaid apprentice position as a Ruby Developer. I was really surprised when I got three offers within a day or two. I went to the office of a local startup and they mentioned that for legal reasons, they had to pay me and would let me work for them for a couple months on a probation basis. I quit my job in collections immediately and took the position. Haha, I think my apprentice position was paid at around 35k which was more than my full time job at the bank. (I was 24). I honestly had no idea what I was doing on day one but the Ruby, HTML and CSS skills I picked up on Codecademy gave me just enough of a head start to make it worth a companies time to teach me the rest (Rails). I ended up doing the JS course as well a couple months into starting my job when I started taking on some front end responsibilities as well.

I ended up being promoted to a Junior developer and staying with them for a year and a half. After leaving there I took a string of jobs with other startups and started doing some other consulting jobs on the side.

This year, (4 years later) I decided to take 4 months off to drive a motorcycle across South America and then settled down for a couple months in Medellin Colombia to work for a company in San Francisco. In a few more months I'll move to Taiwan where I will hopefully keep working for the same company for another year.

I'm living my dream and it is definitely in no small part thanks to the awesome content on Codecademy which helped me take the first step to becoming a developer.

Happy to answer questions for anyone interested in starting on a similar journey.

{Need Advice} Will me degree help me?

No questions, but brilliant, inspiring story. So thanks for that.

All the best on your future endeavors.


Hey Andrew, we'd love to hear more - this could make for a good user story, the likes of which we feature on our Medium page and stories blog. Would you mind filling out this form (however briefly) to answer some more questions?