What's next?

What can someone without any certification do with just the knowledge of programming learned in school & on CC?

I and I assume many of you are at a point where you cannot put your programming skills to use. We do not have enough experience to get intern positions, let alone paid positions. So what can someone do in the main time?

I have tried creating websites & games, with limited knowledge and experience–it didn’t go so well. Even when I was successful there was little to no payoff.

And don’t even think about freelance work. Even if you mange to find a job at your skill level (which is a battle on its own), let me assure you that there will always be someone from a developing country (India, China etc.) who will do the same work as you, but for only a fraction of the price, leaving you unpaid.

So I ask, any ideas of what’s next?

I’m talking purely from opinion here, not experience but when you are in such a position you have to be willing to do things like creating websites and games for no short term pay off. You do it to build a portfolio, same with the freelance stuff, you go in low/free to start with to build a portfolio and reputation. Short term loss/ sacrifice long term gain. Just do those things for the enjoyment and challenge if nothing else.

Now it maybe that is all rubbish in the real world but logically, you have to have something to show what you can do, and if you don’t have a formal qualification to do that you need something else. Why would anyone give you a chance if they have 5 more people behind you who have something to prove their capability.

The other option depending on age, country and life circumstances would be to do an apprenticeship but any that are half decent will have mega competition, so far from a guaranteed route.


Thank you for replying,

I have tried creating things, but without a proper education in programming, everything is no where near as good as actual professional games/websites.

But I do like your idea of creating a portfolio for yourself, but my question is do employers, universities/ colleges even care that you were able to create an amateur game of a stick man jumping over boxes?

(for reference, I’m currently 19 years old)

About a year ago, I was in a similar position, where my general knowledge of computers and web/software development was limited to “Oh yeah I finished three courses on codecademy and made a javascript Idle game”. I started applying for internships at local tech companies (I live in a somewhat urban area, so there were a few to choose from), and wasn’t getting anywhere. I had a job as a cashier making minimum wage with no benefits, stuck living at home after barely graduating high school.

Then, one of the companies contacted me, and offered me an internship under the agreement that they would teach me what I needed to know, and that if I was making good progress while learning, they would hire me within a month. I’ve been doing work with them for nearly a year now, and I learned literally more in that month than I did with 4+ years of messing around on CC.

So, some advice and resources on how to make what skills you have look professional:

Learn PHP and MySQL, and learn how to set up a locally hosted server stack, LAMP being the most common (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP). From there, you can set up a WordPress installation, which has some really nice out-of-the-box themes that look professional, but you’ll probably want to poke around and find a free one that you like.
From there, you can create a child theme, and mess around with the styling, and if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can try creating your own PHP templates.

Once you have a local environment that you think looks nice, version control it with Git, and see about setting up a free EC2 Instance on AWS (amazon web services) to host it on. From there, you have a nice, professional looking portfolio with whatever customization you’ve added that’s accessible to anyone you give the URL to. It’s impressive to any place that you apply to, because it demonstrates a basic understanding of technology stacks and how they interact with each other.

At the end of the day, the most important part is being willing to dedicate yourself to learning. Not many companies are going to be willing to take on an intern who’s not motivated to solve problems themselves. And hey, even if you don’t get the job, you’ve got a cool website up that you can do whatever you want to.


The above link is a fantastic reference on setting up a LAMP Stack on Ubuntu 16.04 (ubuntu is a linux operating system that is extremely user friendly)

A guide for setting up WordPress on the aforementioned LAMP Stack


An extremely in depth repository of all wordpress functions, hooks, functionality, hierarchies, and more.

All of the things that I’ve said thus far are entirely subjective. There’s dozens of technology stacks and languages out there that are easy to learn if you’re willing to dedicate your time, but from what I’ve discovered, WP is one of the easiest, and it has the additional benefit of being the architecture that roughly 20% of the websites in the world use.

Good luck finding a career that works for you!


Wow, just thank you for really taking time out to help me out. :grinning:

Thank you for the resources as well, I guess I should try LAMP and WP stuff. Good luck with your position at that company.


Hey there, so the link you provide leads to digitalocean.com and the instructions they provide are for setting up a lamp stack on a ubuntu droplet which you must first purchase. So pretty much you must buy there server space etc. I don’t think my website will have enough traffic for me to need one of there servers. Do you know of other ways to do this without buying there droplet?

Sure! There’s a couple different ways you could do it:

  1. You could host the server yourself on a spare machine that happens to run ubuntu on it
  2. You could apply for AWS (amazon web services) and their EC2 Instances (most of the lower tiers run for less than $20 a month, and there’s even a free tier available)
  3. If your site is static (HTML, CSS, and Javascript only) you can host it on github for free
  4. You can find another cheap 3rd party hosting site

At the end of the day though, it’s gonna be an expense. From your own domain name, to electric and internet costs if you host it yourself, a server is gonna cost money. 3rd party services that specialize in it (Amazon is one of the most popular at the moment) are usually cheaper and more effective than self-hosting.

Thank you again @fenris.vermir!

  • Cheers!
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