How To Become a Web Developer Without a Degree in ONE Course
My Own Story
The moment it pops in your head that you can’t do it, recall my story. I’m the least qualified to be a software engineer.
Let me summarize it for you.
If you would rather watch me explain it, here you go:
And if you prefer an ebook, check out my From CodeNewbie to Full Time Freelancer in One Year ebook.
Otherwise, read on:
I worked a dead-end job at a hospital for 10 years. I had planned to be there for 6 months. Time flies.
I started through a temp agency as a receptionist. I was 24.
In those 10 years, I truly thought I had no skills to become anything better, especially a Web Developer. The thought was just to try to move up the ladder, which I did (though a short ladder).
About 9 years into it, I found out that our department was going to be eventually outsourced. At that time I had a little blog and was learning a little HTML and CSS to maintain it. And I loved it. Putting those two scenarios together, I decided I was going to change things. That I was going to learn web development and change careers before I got laid off.
So I enrolled in a coding bootcamp (no I don’t recommend you join one), completed about half of it, and quit.
Why did I quit? Because while learning I had started picking up freelance work on the side and was making real money doing web development. Why continue to spend my money in a bootcamp? (And the course was moving into Ruby on Rails which seemed a waste of time to me).
I landed a regular part-time gig as a WordPress developer at an agency I linked up with on Upwork and the rest is history.
I learned to live with imposter syndrome and in fact, learned to defeat it.
I took on projects far above my level and I spent many hours doing free work as I learned.
All of this led to a couple of years of freelancing, a nice corporate gig with Golf.com, and now a DevOps engineer on some pretty high-end projects.
But here’s the kicker: I’m the worst at math. In fact, just the other day I had to Google how to add fractions to help my daughter with her math homework.
But the truth is you don’t have to be good at math. I’ve discussed that in another post. You don’t have to join a coding bootcamp. And you don’t even have to spend over $20 to learn.
You just need to put in the time, build a portfolio, and demonstrate to a potential employer that you have what it takes.
And if you want it enough, you’ll get it.
The #1 Reason Most Fail
But many fail and give up. Why?
Because they stray from the path they set out on.
They get sidetracked with flashy new languages and frameworks and jump around to other courses. They learn a little about a lot.
To succeed, you need to stick with your plan and ignore all the distractions.
It’s a simple two-step process:
- Define the resource(s) that will teach you what you need to know (recommended course mentioned below)
- Don’t stray from that path until you complete it.
#1 is the easy part.
#2 is 100% of the problem.
We get distracted. We get tempted by other languages, frameworks, and technology.
We jump around to other courses that we think will better suit our “teaching style” while not realizing that they all are teaching the same thing!
And we spend years going around in circles.
Here’s what I’m trying to say in more detail:
Do You Need a Degree?
This is the other debated question.
A computer science degree is most definitely a plus. It’s a good thing. It looks good on your resume. And there are many underlying concepts that you learn in that degree that help immensely with programming.
That being said, many graduate with book knowledge and are not really ready for real-world application. (And many are deep in debt, something none of us should strive toward).
But a degree is NOT required to get into Web Development.
In fact, I would nine times out of ten NOT recommend a computer science degree to anyone past college years.
You don’t NEED it to land a job as a web developer. Big tech companies like Facebook and Microsoft have confirmed this.
You just need to show your competency and show your passion at the job interview. And I would suspect that you have more passion than the one right out of college (because they may be a bit burnt out on the concepts versus someone that just can’t get enough of it).
How To Become a Web Developer In ONE Course
So how do you become a web developer without a degree?
A few years ago I created a blueprint blog post to guide those learning to code through the entire process, course by course.
Then, that morphed into my Learn to Code Blueprint Course.
However, I have a new recommendation better than the previous two. And it’s the path I would take now.
It encompasses the entire process of learning to code, all in one course.
This means that if you can refrain from distraction and stay on the narrow path of learning to code, you can become a web developer using a single course as your resource.
Now my criteria for the fastest path into web development is to learn in this order:
- Command Line
- Version Control
- Build a solid portfolio during steps 1-6
- Apply for jobs
And this ONE course will teach you all. No need for jumping between courses or buying multiple courses from different learning platforms.
It’s all in one place.
This course will teach you:
- Web design primer
- jQuery (yes you’ll run into it still)
- Command line
- Version Control with Git/Github
- MongoDB (NoSQL)
PLUS, you’ll build projects along the way such as:
- A dice game
- A Simon game
- A blog website
- An even better, more robust blog website
- Your own Rest API from scratch
- A React.js keeper app
- And more mini challenges along the way.
Adding to it, you’re taught by one of the most gifted teachers on Udemy and my favorite by a longshot.
And here’s the course:
And I recommend it not because I’ve taken it but because it is the ONE I would take right now if I were doing it all over again.
This is because: 1. She is an excellent teacher (I’ve taken a few of her courses) and 2. The breadth of material is exactly what you need to learn to be a web developer.
Of course, you will need to put it the time and effort.
You will need to stay focused, build a portfolio, and demonstrate your competence in a job interview.
And you’ll need to believe in yourself throughout the journey.
What’s your story? Let’s discuss below.
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