Developers July 28, 2020

Learning to code - is it worth looking for a job as a developer?

AaronL

As someone someone who's has no experience in tech and has been teaching myself how to code for the last year, I can't help but feel that I'm missing some sort of experience that I would get working as a junior developer at a company.

Although I know my end goal will be to create my own software and run my own business, would it be worth it to try looking for a developer job first?

For those of you who are working as a developer currently, what are some pros and cons??

Thanks :)

  1. 4

    Early in my career I was fortunate to work with a few great developers (who are now good friends) and it made a really big difference to my understanding if how to write code and perhaps more importantly also how to attack and solve problems.
    I honestly don't think I would have learnt half as much without the support from those more experienced people. I would have progressed as a programmer etc but it's eye opening to see and be shown different ways to solve the problems you face.

    If you can get a job which gives you support and mentoring from more experienced developers I would encourage it. You can always just quit and do your own thing if you don't like it or don't get that support. Remember probation periods for a job are as much for you to work out if you want to stick around as a company to work out if they want to keep you on.

    The downside is obviously you get told what to work on and at some jobs how as well. Doing the same old CRUD tasks can get mind numbingly boring if that's the job you find yourself in but not everywhere is like that.

    1. 1

      That makes sense. I definitely think having a mentor would be one of the better benefits of getting a job now.

      Thanks for your input!! :)

  2. 2

    Working for a company alongside with other developers

    Pros

    • You gain a lot of experience working with large and existing complex code base oftentimes involving automated tests and deployment issues, etc. A lot of the time you'll be fixing bugs, trying to understand someone else's code vs bootcamp grads often create their small capstone projects from scratch.

    • You gain niche skills + domain knowledge which will lead to higher earning power

    • You build your professional network. I've changed jobs 6 times in my career. 3 of which were from referrals.

    • If you're lucky, you'll get to work with individuals who genuinely want to see you succeed. As an indiehacker you will be working alone a lot.

    Cons:

    • You make more money and then spend more which requires you to work more :D
    • Your work has less of impact on matters & issues that you care about.
    • You spend 1/3 of your day working for someone else.

    Good luck!

  3. 2

    10 years ago now (oh my god) I took the same path you're describing, teaching myself to code because I wanted to build my own products, but ultimately getting a job as a developer to pay the bills. I ended up learning an enormous amount, meeting great people, working at organizations I would never otherwise have had the opportunity to work at, and even teaching those skills back to others as a full time instructor. I never did end up launching a side project, but I did gain a career. My girlfriend and I just bought a house, something I never would have been able to do if I hadn't started coding.

    One regret I have is always feeling like I needed more knowledge, more experience, more something before launching. I look back now and I realized that after year 2 or 3 I had more than enough knowledge to build an MVP, but I told myself there was more to learn. And there was, there always is - but if your real goal is to launch a product, don't let lack of experience stop you. In fact, launching and failing is probably more relevant and important experience than gaining coding knowledge. However, if your overall goal is to learn and see where it takes you, then I say definitely go for the job - you'll end up getting more than you bargained for (in a good way!)

    1. 1

      That's awesome to know you've been in the same shoes and have turned out really well for yourself.

      Definitely sounds like getting a job helped in many ways.

      Thanks for that input! From what I'm getting from you and others is that I should just be okay with failing and learning as I go.

      Appreciate your time :)

  4. 2

    Yes, sure, try it. If you learn how to code, it will be like acquiring a superpower that only 0,34% of the world population has. But it's hard, as anything that has any value in this life.

    1. 1

      Thank you! It certainly does feel like a superpower! :D

  5. 2

    The right placement will be beneficial the wrong placement will hold you back.

    Been a developer for 12 years (freelance, contract, Dev and Dev lead), majority of my advancement both technical and entrepreneurial has been my actions outside of my 9-5... I will say that the main benefit I see is meeting and talking to other developers, I've met a few truly talented people who have advanced my passion and knowledge.

    My job is now less about coding and more about deciding approach and organising a team.

    The main factor is how much you crave knowledge, if you are not constantly trying to learn by your own steam, a job would help, if you are the type of person that constantly wants to learn, I'd say get involved in Dev community, maybe some meetups to have access to like minded talent and throw yourself in the deep end.

    Make somthing and ship it, quickest way to learn imo.

    1. 1

      I definitely enjoy learning a lot about code. Everything about it fascinates me and I love that it is a skill I can take with me anywhere.

      When you say "ship it" what do you mean by that? Just launching the product?

      I've created a couple mobile apps and 1 web app but never felt confident enough to officially "release" it because I fear I'm lacking experience or the "best practices" of creating a product.

      For example, security / database management -- when I was working on these things for my products, I was just learning from different sources online but also using my own intuition. How do I know that I'm not completely wrong in the way I set up my database?

      I guess what you are saying is that the benefits of getting a job is more for the mentorship that comes with it. If I could find a way to get that, then a job wouldn't be as helpful.

      1. 1

        It's good that you enjoy learning code and it fascinates you, it gives you an advantage when it comes to learning it compared to those doing it for the money!

        Yea by ship it, I do mean release it, and what you describe as lacking confidence in knowing if you have best practices or the security is common, and it's the stumbling block that catches most Devs out.

        It's why a lot of Devs I've met with side projects havnt released it, because they worry about the security or whether their app will be able to handle high amounts of traffic, or if the database architecture will allow them to grow both in volume and functionality. They spend so long on the micro optimisations that they run out of passion for the product or they miss the market gap, after 1000's of hours if they do release it and they've missed the market fit.

        The most valuable asset you have is time, until a product is released you have no chance of a return on your investment.

        I believe in the mentality that you shouldn't worry about how your app will handle 100,000 users until you have 1000. For most part getting a bigger server until you work out the technical side is a valid approach.

        But yea, if you can get mentorship without the job, I'd suggest that if your goal is to work for yourself, if your happy with the future being a Dev job, then it's fair game either way

        1. 1

          I guess I gotta start shipping my products and learn as I go then!

          Thanks so much for your input! Really appreciate it. :)

          1. 1

            All the best, hope to see you on Forbes someday soon :)

  6. 2

    I will echo @pyepye - having early professional mentors and working on mission-critical stuff in a team environment absolutely has influenced my coding for the better. I am probably 10x the programmer now, thanks to working with amazing people, than I would be without.

    I also think working in a team / company exposes you to the "full stack" of experiences that will be required for you to run your own startup one day. I don't just mean the tech, I also mean the marketing, the operations, the financial side of a business. This experience is invaluable too.

    1. 1

      Really seems like the benefits are worth it for sure. I totally agree that I could be learning the inner workings of tech businesses as well. Are you self taught as well?

  7. 2

    I definitely think its a good idea even if its an internship program. You will learn much faster working with other developers. You can always work on your own projects in your free time.

    1. 1

      Thanks for your input :)

      It really helps to hear it from people in the field like yourself!

  8. 2

    100% worth

    The best way to learn code is having a problem and putting effort into solving it, you'll learn way more that way.

    What exactly you wanna learn? Webdev? Mobile? Any specific tech stack?

    Having a job, or even a project, will do wonders for you, trust me. That's how it was for me, I finished my degree in computer science, but knew little about real-world programming, you know? Specially front-end stuff, it took me taking projects and forcing myself to improve and get on the level I'm at now.

    1. 2

      Thanks Giancarllo!

      Defintiely seems like a job would be worth it to grow then.

      So far I've tried both as I've completed building a couple mobile apps and 1 web app. I eventually want to build a SaaS business.

      I initially started with mobile development using dart/flutter but eventually went into javascript + MERN stack through a course in Udemy. I just enrolled into another course for indepth learning in React.

  9. 1

    Getting paid to code is always worth it. There is so much to learn, even from a terrible company. If you do end up someplace that is terrible, you can learn how not to do it, which is invaluable.

  10. 1

    If you're looking for money you can make 6 figures easily as a software developer once you get some experience.

    The hours and stress can be big depending on the project you're on and company you work for and politics in companies is always an issue.

    Working from home is available so no need to commute but you lose the friendships you can make in a work environment.

    You'll never know for sure unless you give it a try. You can always change your mind if it doesn't work out.

  11. 4

    This comment was deleted 5 months ago.

    1. 1

      Appreciate response Thomas!

      What I get from you is that in order to be successful, I'm going to have to always be learning, even if it's not always related to programming. Also, to hustle hard and create something people think is valuable.

      The main reason why I am asking if it's worth it to get a job as a developer is to figure out if it's going to help me out in the end goal (creating & profiting from my own product). It seems like what you're saying is that it's more about how much I'm willing to learn outside of just "programming".

      I've definitely developed a passion for programming as I've always had an entrepreneurial mindset with many ideas and solutions but never had any hard skills to make it a reality. I've only realized recently that this is the means to make all of these ideas turn into a reality. I think that's what really makes me happy.

      Anyway, thank you for the response. You definitely seem to have a lot of experience at this and I'd love to ask you some more questions if you'd be willing.

      Thanks :)

      1. 1

        This comment was deleted 5 months ago.

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