From absolutely non-technical occupation to pro web- and mobile developer in 1.5 years

Hi there!
I’d love to share my story for the others not to lose their faith in themselves.

About 1.5 years ago I was sitting in my room tired after the day of work i did not enjoy that much. I have a friend who is a developer and I really enjoyed having conversations with him. I myself wasn’t any sort of success in maths or other technical sciences in school and my occupation was an English-Russian translator. Coming back to that day, I asked myself what if there is a chance for a person like me in a software development world? What if I can work with interesting tasks along with nice guys like my friend? Can I even try?

I am from Russia and I didn’t like the opportunities I had in my small town to learn the needed skills. Then I found this very place online - codecademy. I liked the interface from the very start - clean, simple, beautiful. Then I tried learning HTML. I wasn’t that easy for me, but to say the truth it was exactly what I needed: not too easy and not too hard for a person to study it after a full working day. I tried to study at least 4 days in a week and I did more if I could. I finished HTML course in about a 1.5 or 2 months.

Studying HTML/CSS formed a good positive attitude - my success and a big aim of having a meaningful interesting job and a wealthy life didn’t let me go. Then things went a bit hard when I came to advanced CSS and JavaScript lessons.

I forgot to say that very quickly I decided that I need a Pro program to have an access to tests and projects. Maybe some people are able to remember things and build systems of knowledge in their head without practicing on projects and revisiting passed lessons in tests, but I’m definitely not one of them.

During JS course I faced some problems I couldn’t solve for several days and it frustrated me. Again, I had this forum to ask, I had CodeCademy advisors and StackOverflow but I didn’t want to go for their help right away as soon as I met some challenging task. At that time I had many doubts that I fit for this. But a big aim in my head and responsibility I feel for my wife, future kids and my parents gave me strength to go on in times of doubt. Don’t get me wrong - development consists of challenging tasks and this is exactly why you have a sense of meaning and deep satisfaction when you solve them. This is totally worth it. You’ll have enough positive feelings, believe me!:slightly_smiling_face:

Over time I finished JS course and had a look at a chart of JS technologies by their popularity in professional environment, a number of job positions, and salary. I decided to pick React.js, maybe not for the right reasons but still this was a good decision. Later on I realized that you can do Android and iOS apps with it too. It was easier as it is based on JS, but it took a while to sink into my way of thinking of front-end development.

As I finished all the necessary courses I decided that I need to build a portfolio so I made myself a website and I also made one for a local restaurant I liked to visit. I made it for free to get a chance to get an experience and to make something useful that I’ll personally like.

After that I started to study Redux since it was required for the most React positions. At the same time I decided to put my resume and portfolio online, I mentioned that I can move to another city - and it changed very much for me since in my place there were very few positions for junior React developers. My advice - pay attention to its structure. It should be clear and straight to the point, but it should show you as a professional who can do the task (and it must be true).

I wanted to train to go through an interview. I tried to prepare myself that most employers will say no, because I was not that experienced, but it still was hard for me to hear their negative decisions. At the other hand It allowed me to see my weak points and rapidly heal the weak spots.

I must say that if you’re a junior you generally have a better chance in a larger company with a big number of developers since for them it doesn’t take that much to find you a mentor among a crowd of developers and allow him to spend his potential on you. Small startups have fewer mature developers and if they are hiring - they need seniors since they don’t have as much money and time to invest in juniors, they need to get the job done at an optimized cost.

Make sure to learn from negative interviews to make them positive for you personally. Your only goal here is to see your weak points, to fix them and to make it better next time. If you learn - inevitably in several iterations you’ll be successful. Feeling down is normal but don’t forget your big goal and go on. Your patience and wisdom will pay off over time.

After a couple of months of having interviews two companies became interested in me - one worked in education, the other was one of the biggest banks in the country and after interviews with them I had offers from both of them.

I made my decision and moved to Moscow - a way better place comparing to the place I lived before, and now I am a React developer in one of the largest banks. It all is thanks to the skills I developed when studying here and the ones I’ve got from failed interviews I had for two months.

My lesson - Be happy when everything goes right, and keep doing what you need to do at difficult times. The ones who didn’t overcome these difficulties gave opportunity for me to take their place. Be one of those who go on when they feel stressed. But again - most of the time everything is fine and you feel satisfaction and positive emotions. Don’t blame yourself for failures - be thankful for them if they are not fatal and learn from them.

Be sure to have a worthy goal to help you go your way.
Ask me any questions - I’d love to answer if I can!
Cheers and stay strong!:sunglasses:


To be a little softer, and not call them failures, my choice phrase is,

Revel in mistakes, and learn what we can from them.

Same message, though. You haven’t sold yourself short. Good job!


I have a lot to learn in English. Thank you for the advice!:slight_smile: It sounds way more friendly when you put it this way.



Thank you very much for sharing your experience. I am just now beginning this journey in earnest and hope that I too will be able to move from where I am now into a place where I would much rather be. Kudos to you!


Great job! I like to hear these kinds of stories. This gives me confidence that anyone can become a developer if they put in the sweat and determination to become whatever they wish. I wish you well on your future endeavors!


Geez, it’s hard being a talentless hack. I’ve been learning Web Dev for more than 5 years and I got nowhere close to an interview or freelancing gig. Congrats to you though.


Thank you! Be strong and patient and move to your goal despite all the obstacles and life will give you what you need. :wink:


Thank you!
I think so too. Anyone can do anything. Skill requires everyday practice to become and stay stable and reliable. If we stop walking or talking - we lose even these basic skills, so we need to practice everyday. It feels very uncomfortable and slow in the beginning, but over time it becomes natural and you become so-called pro.:slight_smile: Talent is overrated.


Thanks. It’s not only about time range but about intensity too. I had been studying for several hours almost everyday. And I really wanted to get into a professional environment. If you’ll prepare yourself, make many tries, and learn from mistakes you’ll get your chance, I’m sure!


Thank you for the story. I’m considering a similar change myself. Transitioning from construction to programming. I’m glad to learn that there people that have taken up a similar journey. Glad to know it is possible.
Will make myself ready for the challenges.


This is so possible, it’s hard to imagine. If you’re willing to pay the price - time and effort - you’ll succeed. And I wish you that!

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Hey! Great story thanks for sharing! Its very inspiring to hear others are in similar situations. I mysef am 33 and just sadly closed my restaurant as the bills need to get paid. I enjoy coding on my own time and thought it would be a great transition for myself.
My question to anyone who reads this is what are their thoughts on someone who is Bilingual? I understand the code itself doesn’t change language but I thought could this be of an advantage to me when looking for employment next year? I am both French and English and could use either as a Primary language so I thought maybe someone else has had an experience in where companies would look at that as an asset?

Thank you again and thanks for sharing!

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Keep learning and practicing and you’ll do it.:slight_smile:
I personally don’t see bilingualism as any sort of advantage in the industry.

Is it a must to upgrade to pro user? or i can actually learn without upgrading?

Well, you can, but it didn’t work as much for me. Tests and projects made me remember the information and embed it into a knowledge structure in my head.
But technically, if this is not your first language you can learn without Pro membership.

ok thank you very much!

thanks for the great story. it motivates me to know others went through this. am not alone, they made it so i can too.

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You definitely can, Dennis! Keep it up!:slight_smile:

Hi and thank you for the story — it is really motivating! I am from Russia too though now live in Czech Republic. As I worked in advertising and journalism while living in Russia, I have serious problems with getting a job here due to the language barrier. This is quite frustrating. However, I decided to try myself in web-development.

You wrote that you began building your portfolio after finishing all the courses. I started the Codeacademy web-development path only a week ago, so this question may seem stupid or strange, but is there an opportunity to make some works (maybe little and simple) for the portfolio while you are studying? In order to have at least something after finishing the courses to start looking for the Junior positions as soon as possible?

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Hello there!
To your question - yes, totally! As soon as you feel you have enough competence to make a viable project - you can do it! And it will be great for you because people want to see what you can do: your choosing style, architecture, tools choise, etc. And the project they can touch and see is the best help for you here.

Also when implementing your own ideas you meet situations with typical problems and you learn the typical ways to solve them. So the are many benefits from that. You can build your own simple project or participate in open source project. In the very beginning don’t look for the money. Look for relevant experience.