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GOLD! How I got hired as a software engineer without a college degree

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GrayCode

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What a great life story GrayCode and really inspiring. Amazing process!
Thank you!

Im hacking away at coding 3-4 hours a day for the past 6 months and this is on top of a 40 hour job. As of Friday I have a six week vacation booked (Freeeeeeedom!!!) to really get stuck in full time at my own work and excel. Your story will be printed, framed and hung above my computer screen to pick me up when feeling down ;)
Man, I know that grind. Keep it going, you'll get where you want to be before you know it. If you actually print and hang it, send a screenshot :)

Don't get down when the code gets hard. Keep your plans at the forefront of everything you do.

When I was struggling through something, I would take a deep breath, ground myself and remember what I was working for (my Fastlane lifestyle). You know what yours is, keep going. Always. Keep. Going.
 

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csalvato

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What a great life story GrayCode and really inspiring. Amazing process!

Im hacking away at coding 3-4 hours a day for the past 6 months and this is on top of a 40 hour job. As of Friday I have a six week vacation booked (Freeeeeeedom!!!) to really get stuck in full time at my own work and excel. Your story will be printed, framed and hung above my computer screen to pick me up when feeling down ;)

Thanks so much for sharing!
Does your day job include coding?

If not, what gap do you need to bridge to make that happen?

You'll likely be making at least 2x as much, and will be able to spend 8+ hours working to learn, rather than working to earn (as Kiyosaki puts it!)
 
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GrayCode

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Does your day job include coding?

If not, what gap do you need to bridge to make that happen?

You'll likely be making at least 2x as much, and will be able to spend 8+ hours working to learn, rather than working to earn (as Kiyosaki puts it!)
I should've co-authored this thread with you. You're giving great advice every time I turn around. :smile: @Brewmacker this is spot on.
 

lobo

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I'm so impressed with what you've achieved.

Definitely will be following your progress.
 

Brewmacker

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Does your day job include coding?

If not, what gap do you need to bridge to make that happen?

You'll likely be making at least 2x as much, and will be able to spend 8+ hours working to learn, rather than working to earn (as Kiyosaki puts it!)
The day Job is completely different but somewhat relevant. Its more in Design Management for developing and executing Products/Systems (cradle to grave). Therefore I do get the chance to prepare and review Boolean logic(when I have to) prior to issuing the design to a programmer to make the control system.

I have been toying with what you suggested though, and I want to take a different tact first and try to reduce my working hours. If I don't get better work-flexibilty (e.g. work out during my lunch) and time reduction next year then I will definitely start looking for something new. Need to re-read Never Split the Difference and plan my negotiation strategy.
 

Owner2Millions

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Sure, everything I've built had to do specifically with learning how to code the feature, not so much the project because I wasn't thinking "this will make me $100m" (i got over that slowing, poisonous mentality)

So if I code just to learn how to build a specific feature, what you'll find is that most features are transferable across many different products. Then there are domain-specific-features that are unique to the product.

Just keep in mind that with all the things I built I never fully finished, because it didn't matter, I wasn't bringing them to market. Just wanted the knowledge.

Examples of things I built (all because I wanted to know the features within the thing)

  • Twitter clone
    Learned: user profiles, likes, follows, mentions, user authentication, etc.
  • Wordpress clone
    Learned: Content Management System, AWS s3 (storing files in amazon), cemented design skills
  • Personal trainer/client marketplace
    online payments, 2 sided marketplaces
A few other things which I don't recall at the very moment, but you eventually get to a point where you say: "Oh, shit, all of these features are just building blocks"

Think legos, eventually, you can just take them apart and re-arrange them into any order you need to build a new thing.

Sharing response with @lobo


Thank you, and keep going!


So true, always a good reminder. Thank you!
First Congrats on your journey to this side lol....It isnt easy as you mention. But you are clearly a thinker. Something that you must have as a characteristic of a entrepreneur. Making these clone projects are very important as they are project builders but also you learn as you are constructing and deconstructing the project. Then as you mention things just click and you can begin to transfer these features into other projects. Also I like the 100 interview process you came up with. Its something that can be transferred to any job industry. During your journey you broke everything down as little detail as possible and became coming up with processes to get them done. I am going do this as well. Thanks.
 

Walter Hay

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I congratulate you @GrayCode on being among the top inspirational members on the forum. What a story.

I loved reading it, and am now enjoying reading your helpful and encouraging responses.

Walter
 
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First Congrats on your journey to this side lol....It isnt easy as you mention. But you are clearly a thinker. Something that you must have as a characteristic of a entrepreneur. Making these clone projects are very important as they are project builders but also you learn as you are constructing and deconstructing the project. Then as you mention things just click and you can begin to transfer these features into other projects. Also I like the 100 interview process you came up with. Its something that can be transferred to any job industry. During your journey you broke everything down as little detail as possible and became coming up with processes to get them done. I am going do this as well. Thanks.
Thank you, processes are important for everything in my opinion. Everything should have a gameplan and some measurable outcome otherwise what the heck are you doing?

Good luck on your journey.
I congratulate you @GrayCode on being among the top inspirational members on the forum. What a story.

I loved reading it, and am now enjoying reading your helpful and encouraging responses.

Walter
Wow, I appreciate you saying that. Thank you. Sincerely.
 

EdKirby

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In the last 3 years I probably:
  • Read 25 books
  • Listened to 50 books (audible)
  • Listened to over 2,000 podcast episodes (no joke)
  • Read 500+ blog posts (Money, SEO, Marketing, Coding, etc)
I'd love to know what some of you favorites out of this list are.
 

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Real Deal Denver

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You cloned WordPress? There's a project you can take on.

I've been fighting WordPress for a few days on sizing images. WP can only set general boundaries. But if you analyze a site using GTMetrix, they will give you exact size dimensions you should have images set at for perfect (including other factors) optimal performance.

GTMetrix can figure this out - but just TRY and scale an image in WordPress that will ALSO convert to a different device (cell phone) and NOT download the original huge file, in addition to the resized one.

I've been fighting so many things, I'm thinking of taking on programming just so I can get around the constant roadblocks I encounter.

I just use this as ONE example for you to think about. If I had your skills - woooooooo - nothin could hold me back.

Thanks for such a great post, with superb detail! This is sure to be a roadmap for many to follow in your footsteps. You have done a great service!

THIS is what I hope to read when I come here. You are a force to be reckoned with - you are a force for change. I stand in awe.
 
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GrayCode

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I'd love to know what some of you favorites out of this list are.
Books
Millionaire fastlane
Unscripted
10x Rule
Be obsessed or be average
Sell or Be Sold
You Need More Money
Rich Dad Poor Dad
many more...

Programming Books
Well Grounded Rubyist
Javascript and HTML CSS books by Jon Duckett
Soft Skills by John Sonmez

Podcasts
MFCEO Project

There were others but I found Andy's mentality is similar to mine so I go back and listen to favorites now and again.

An ungodly amount of blog posts on SEO, Traffic, Money, Personal Finance, anything I could get my hands on.

---
I have my mindset down and strong as F*ck. Most of these books will do more for a beginners mindset than they realize. Most people have too much of an ego to listen or read books like this, the ego is large, but the wallet is small. Change it.

You cloned WordPress? There's a project you can take on.

I've been fighting WordPress for a few days on sizing images. WP can only set general boundaries. But if you analyze a site using GTMetrix, they will give you exact size dimensions you should have images set at for perfect (including other factors) optimal performance.

GTMetrix can figure this out - but just TRY and scale an image in WordPress that will ALSO convert to a different device (cell phone) and NOT download the original huge file, in addition to the resized one.

I've been fighting so many things, I'm thinking of taking on programming just so I can get around the constant roadblocks I encounter.

I just use this as ONE example for you to think about. If I had your skills - woooooooo - nothin could hold me back.

Thanks for such a great post, with superb detail! This is sure to be a roadmap for many to follow in your footsteps. You have done a great service!

THIS is what I hope to read when I come here. You are a force to be reckoned with - you are a force for change. I stand in awe.
Thank you so much for your compliments. Yeah as far as cloning wordpress is concerned I built many common features. Ability to set up websites, themeing, blog functionality per site, etc. Was tough, but a good learning experience.
 

EdKirby

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Thanks! I'm really enjoying this thread.

I had prepared a long response earlier as what I'm reading is resonating with me but I scrapped it in lieu of a shorter one.

I've read both of MJ's books and I'm re-reading them now because I feel I've lost my way a bit. I've been a software engineer for 20+ years but in a very nichey area of enterprise computing, even though I'm consulting/contracting, it's Slowlane. I've also been a game developer (Unity3d) for over 4 years now and I'm about to release my first commercial game to mobile. However, it's occurred to me that this is "candy" as opposed to a "pain killers".

So, why your threads, (I'm reading both ;-) ), are resonating with me is I'm taking a step back and looking at where I want to be and do and how best to accomplish it and your threads have a lot of gold in them.

Back in the day, 20+ years ago, I did a lot of web work HTML, early css, perl, apache, MySQL, PHP etc. I even built an Ebay clone from that stack. I think I want to get back to those roots because I believe building "painkillers" is the smarter play. Not that I'm readily about to give up the game dev as I'm making some money with occasional side gigs. I also have some prototypes for some hyper casual games that people seem to like so I'd like to flesh them out first. Plus I have to give my release the best opportunity for success. In other words, I want to try to leverage the last four years of learning and activity.

If nothing else I've decided to give ruby/RoRs another look. I have a buddy in Amsterdam that swears by it and recommended it to me several years ago.

Anyway, this still didn't end up that short but thanks for starting these threads and thanks for the list.
 

Jadpapi

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congratulations, did the bootcamp help you finding a job, and which one did you go to?
 
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congratulations, did the bootcamp help you finding a job, and which one did you go to?
No the bootcamp didn't help. Also, after the bootcamp I still applied lots of learning on my own. thefirehoseproject.com
 

sergeant

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Thank you! This is a lot like the story of my last year... I am from a rather poor family and I was lucky to be too indecisive about my future to go into debt to follow standard education.

I read The Millionaire Fastlane slightly over 3 years ago. Since then I self-educated myself in business and related areas and tried several business ideas. They all failed, of course. My biggest problem was - I had no actual skill to share/the skills I had weren't profitable. I considered learning code, as that provides infinite possibilities, but I was always told it's very difficult and I wasn't ready for a big time investment.

Then my mind was changed. It was last year's summer. I made a few new friends and one of them was a software developer. I asked questions, explaining that I was interested in that, but never got around to it. He told me something I never heard before. "Nah, it's not that hard. You're smart, you can do it. Think of what you would like to make and learn as you make it."

So, I decided - okay, I'll give it a go. Of course, not immediately, it took me a while. Few reminders through mentions of coding in random conversations later, I finally decided to try it out in September last year. I did a mini course of programming basics, at the end of which I had to make a simple rock-paper-scissors game. It took me 4 hours. It was super enjoyable.

I knew I wanted to go deeper, so I began research. What to learn? Where to start? Etc. I had no idea about software at all. Really. After some reading, I was just more confused. I didn't know what I want to do. I didn't even know what is possible. I decided to choose whatever gives me the greatest freedom. This happened to be Java, for the following reasons: 1) it has a lot of job opportunities, so I could learn as I earn, 2) it is cross platform, so no matter what I would end up planning to do, if not optimal, then it would be at least possible, 3) it is not the easiest, and is also similar to several other languages, so it would give me an edge if I had to learn more of them.

I bought a cheap 11 pounds (yeah, UK here) Java course on Udemy, that was 77h worth of video at the time. It was the beginning of December that I started learning. I had a rather comfortable job as a warehouse manager at the time. I worked "busy" night shifts, because I'm a night owl, so there was a lot of free time at work for my coding practice. By the end of the year I decided to quit the job, live on my savings and focus on learning.

I was a bit too quick with that decision, as soon later lots of random events happened that were very costly, so shortly I had to start another job. I was nearly broke, in fact, so had to take any job I could. Wasn't as comfortable anymore... I finished the Java course though, and began learning Android. At this point I started to experiment on my own - I had an idea of what kind of app I want to make (nothing for sale, just a hobby aid). I finished it by July (it was quite complex). It did the job, but little did I know at the time about code maintainability. Once I read some more, I was too embarrassed to show that to potential employers.

At that time I also started sending out CVs and did several code test. Failed them all. They were weird though, often not related to the jobs. General theory questions, or multiple choice, very short time. How do they select people with such crap? Anyway, I made another project, this time a simple app with nicely written code, and began sending CVs out again in September. Didn't hear back much, so I took another two courses on Udemy - JavaScript and Python, which took me 7 and 3 days respectively (it's really easy after the first language!). This helped, as soon I started to get responses.

I soon had a test that I barely passed and got invited to an interview, but failed it. Then there was a lot of bad stuff happening family-wise and I haven't done much progress until the second half of November. Finally, I got another code test. This time it was nice. I had an app to work with, specific requirements and a whole week to spend on actual problem solving and coding. That was fun! I got the interview and the company was flawless. I was totally up for working there. What's more, they told me I did better on the test than people after Masters in CS. I aced the technical side of the interview too, not even knowing the technologies they asked about. Yet, in the end, they hired someone with "better soft skills". Ouch! That really hurt.

Then I read this post. It kicked my a$$ and motivated me to try again. And I did, two weeks later I went to another interview. That was yesterday (or 2 days ago - I did mention I am a night owl). Today I got the call that I am hired. I'm a Junior Android Developer now. 1 year, 3 courses, 4 books, 2 apps. Had I known earlier it would be that easy...

My message to you is one you already know. It's not that hard. You're smart, you can do it. Think of what you would like to make and learn as you make it. Good luck!

(Sorry if that's long. I do like to write and I am really happy to be able to share some little success, finally. I was planning on making it shorter, but I guess I'll just leave it as it is and see what the feedback I'll get.)
 
Last edited:

GSF

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Thank you! This is a lot like the story of my last year... I am from a rather poor family and I was lucky to be too indecisive about my future to go into debt to follow standard education.

I read The Millionaire Fastlane slightly over 3 years ago. Since then I self-educated myself in business and related areas and tried several business ideas. They all failed, of course. My biggest problem was - I had no actual skill to share/the skills I had weren't profitable. I considered learning code, as that provides infinite possibilities, but I was always told it's very difficult and I wasn't ready for a big time investment.

Then my mind was changed. It was last year's summer. I made a few new friends and one of them was a software developer. I asked questions, explaining that I was interested in that, but never got around to it. He told me something I never heard before. "Nah, it's not that hard. You're smart, you can do it. Think of what you would like to make and learn as you make it."

So, I decided - okay, I'll give it a go. Of course, not immediately, it took me a while. Few reminders through mentions of coding in random conversations later, I finally decided to try it out in September last year. I did a mini course of programming basics, at the end of which I had to make a simple rock-paper-scissors game. It took me 4 hours. It was super enjoyable.

I knew I wanted to go deeper, so I began research. What to learn? Where to start? Etc. I had no idea about software at all. Really. After some reading, I was just more confused. I didn't know what I want to do. I didn't even know what is possible. I decided to choose whatever gives me the greatest freedom. This happened to be Java, for the following reasons: 1) it has a lot of job opportunities, so I could learn as I earn, 2) it is cross platform, so no matter what I would end up planning to do, if not optimal, then it would be at least possible, 3) it is not the easiest, and is also similar to several other languages, so it would give me an edge if I had to learn more of them.

I bought a cheap 11 pounds (yeah, UK here) Java course on Udemy, that was 77h worth of video at the time. It was the beginning of December that I started learning. I had a rather comfortable job as a warehouse manager at the time. I worked "busy" night shifts, because I'm a night owl, so there was a lot of free time at work for my coding practice. By the end of the year I decided to quit the job, live on my savings and focus on learning.

I was a bit too quick with that decision, as soon later lots of random events happened that were very costly, so shortly I had to start another job. I was nearly broke, in fact, so had to take any job I could. Wasn't as comfortable anymore... I finished the Java course though, and began learning Android. At this point I started to experiment on my own - I had an idea of what kind of app I want to make (nothing for sale, just a hobby aid). I finished it by July (it was quite complex). It did the job, but little did I know at the time about code maintainability. Once I read some more, I was too embarrassed to show that to potential employers.

At that time I also started sending out CVs and did several code test. Failed them all. They were weird though, often not related to the jobs. General theory questions, or multiple choice, very short time. How do they select people with such crap? Anyway, I made another project, this time a simple app with nicely written code, and began sending CVs out again in September. Didn't hear back much, so I took another two courses on Udemy - JavaScript and Python, which took me 7 and 3 days respectively (it's really easy after the first language!). This helped, as soon I started to get responses.

I soon had a test that I barely passed and got invited to an interview, but failed it. Then there was a lot of bad stuff happening family-wise and I haven't done much progress until the second half of November. Finally, I got another code test. This time it was nice. I had an app to work with, specific requirements and a whole week to spend on actual problem solving and coding. That was fun! I got the interview and the company was flawless. I was totally up for working there. What's more, they told me I did better on the test than people after Masters in CS. I aced the technical side of the interview too, not even knowing the technologies they asked about. Yet, in the end, they hired someone with "better soft skills". Ouch! That really hurt.

Then I read this post. It kicked my a$$ and motivated me to try again. And I did, two weeks later I went to another interview. That was yesterday (or 2 days ago - I did mention I am a night owl). Today I got the call that I am hired. I'm a Junior Android Developer now. 1 year, 3 courses, 4 books, 2 apps. Had I known earlier it would be that easy...

My message to you is one you already know. It's not that hard. You're smart, you can do it. Think of what you would like to make and learn as you make it. Good luck!

(Sorry if that's long. I do like to write and I am really happy to be able to share some little success, finally. I was planning on making it shorter, but I guess I'll just leave it as it is and see what the feedback I'll get.)
Well done and congrats on getting the job!
 

Eerian

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Dec 24, 2018
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3
Thanks for this, very inspiring. I've been half-trying to become a software dev for years now. 2019 I made the most progress then fell off again by July. Hopefully 2020 will do it for me.
 

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