We are now halfway through August. That means I graduated from Launch Academy 3 months ago. It was a real whirlwind those last 2 weeks – with solo projects being super stressful and the pitch practices to get ready for career kickoff, there was just so much going on. Check out my blog post detailing the whole thing, here.
As soon as I graduated I headed back home to Western Massachusetts. Now, when I asked Career Support about how many connections they had outside of Boston, they never really gave me a direct answer, a bit of a red flag that I should have noticed. Nevertheless, I thought I could land a job out here no problem – so I began applying.
I got a few hits here and there, but the majority of the companies I was applying to used stacks other than what I was familiar with. I have been seeing alot of .NET, Java, PHP and a little bit of Node.js. I was hoping to find some Ruby or React.js – nope, guess again. To make matters worse, I have only seen (no joke) 1 Jr. Dev position and that was almost 1 hr away! Almost all the tech jobs in my area are mid to senior level positions. So I did the next best thing. I went into business for myself and I expanded my job search to include Boston, where all the jobs really are.
A friend of mine, who I graduated from Launch with, Steve Savini and I got to talking and we decided to start a company that would do freelance web development. So we got cookin’. We set up our first ‘real’ website, our company site – Web Sage Design. Within a week or so we landed our first client, then another. All the while, I continued to work on other side projects and applying to new companies. I was finally making progress. I was getting call backs, interviews, code reviews etc.
A couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from a really amazing company that makes a really great product – something I would take a lot of pride being a part of. We spoke at length and felt like we were a really great match. They asked me to come in for a code review. I did and it went really well. The stack was a familiar one, Rails/React, and I was on board and fully committed. I really thought I was going to get the job, but was given the unfortunate news that they chose not to move forward with me. As a consolation of sorts, I was assured that in the near future (a few months) they wanted to reconnect to talk about placing me in a Front-End/UX position, a role they felt I would be better suited for. It was a bittersweet message, but it really propelled me to get even better, to prove my worth and my talent.
That brings us to current day. Almost 3 months have passed since I graduated from Launch Academy, and I have grown so much in that time. I have refined my skills so much and have grown incredibly comfortable using my tools. I have gone from needing Front End frameworks to make my sites look good to using pure CSS for making fully responsive and scalable websites. I went from not knowing how to actually put my code from my local machine up to a server to actually doing that for paying clients. I have gone from building web apps with fake users to web apps with a real life user base.
In the last 3 months I have had a lot of phone screens, a lot of on site interviews and a lot of experience with a variety of technologies. Everyday I have gotten better at my craft and everyday I become more convinced that I have chosen the right path to take in my career switch. Just today I was offered a remote internship with a really great company and there are still 3 other companies that I am in serious talks with. Everything is in a constant state of flux at this moment and I, for one, am thrilled with the anticipation of beginning my career as a web developer in earnest.