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

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spinventing

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Apr 25, 2020
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I started another thread recently about my first fastlane month and I got a question on how I was able to get hired as a software engineer without a college degree. I feel like this is information I WISH someone shared with me as I was about to jump into coding. So, I figured rather than share it pages deep in the other thread, I'd make it standalone content incase someone specifically searches this out. (Hail the almighty SERPs ;))

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

I'll break it down by paragraph based on key timelines and decisions I made, feel free to skip anything you aren't interested in. Hopefully, this is helpful to you. If you have a question, feel free to ask.

Deciding to learn 'how to code' (Oct 15' - Aug 16')
I was a personal trainer making maybe $30k a year. I was on the whole self-improvement journey before I finally bumped into MFL in late 2015 - maybe Oct 15' (based on me joining the forum in Nov 15'). I was hooked after reading the book, I knew I needed some kind of recurring revenue stream independent of my time. So... here's what happened.

I wound up coming up with an idea for software for gyms (since I worked in one) and took all of my savings at the time ($14k) and sought out 'engineers' to help me build it. Well, turns out 14k isn't enough to hire good, talented, trustworthy engineers and I got screwed.

I hired overseas developers, they beat around the bush, wrote some code, filled with typos, did like 1 feature and over the course of a few months my money went to zero and I was broke with no product. For a while, I kept it in my head that it was their fault, but really it was mine. I had no business spending my money on something I knew nothing about, thinking I was going to get rich. I was looking for an event (get rich quick) when I should've been all-in on the process.

So, that project would come to a close around March 16' or so. I was annoyed and confused but not bankrupt on motivation. I re-read MFL and continued my journey of listening to loads and loads of podcasts and youtube videos. I was a 'success zombie'. Finally, I decided the money was in software and I wanted out of my 30k per year job. So I said, screw it, I'll teach myself to code.

Learning to code (Aug 16' - Dec 17')
I dove in and at first, I wasn't too excited about it. But I dug in hard, 8-14 hour days depending on the day. I missed lots of 'chilling with the friends' nights, but I was able to see the other side. I only worked minimal hours as a PT, literally just enough to pay my bills and every other week I would routinely see my bank account go into negative balances for a day or so. But I knew I was getting a quick $100 from a client the next night so I shrugged it off.

I joined a coding Bootcamp that cost $7k at $1k per month payments, I put it on credit. The Bootcamp assumed most people would dedicate 2 hours per day so they estimated it would take 7 months. But I was going hard, remember? I wound up finishing all the content the Bootcamp had in 2 months' time and went on my way. The total cost of the Bootcamp was actually only $2k financed on credit.

I finished that at the beginning of Nov 16' and I knew I enjoyed coding but was definitely not yet hireable. So I dove into personal projects, I came up with random ideas for things and just built and built and built. I used google as my personal assistant and that would lead me to stack overflow. I would repeat this process until around Dec 17'.

At this point, I had built 4-5 web-apps (nothing insane, some were clones of other popular apps). Going into 2018 I knew I wanted to start looking for a job.

The decision to Look for a job (Jan 2018)
At this point, I was still doing oddball jobs and random business ideas that never worked. If you looked at a zoomed out graph of my bank account balance this entire time on a 2-week time period breakdown. It was never above $500, and if it was, it wasn't for long. But I was ready to get a job.

STOP! (this is important)

For anyone thinking:
  1. "wtf, this takes 2 years and you were broke and you got a job, how the hell is this Fastlane" OR
  2. "Yeah, cool bro, sounds great, tell me how to make $100k next month"
If this is you, you might not be ready for what I'm sharing. Sometimes, the teacher presents itself when the student is ready to learn.

I think I heard @MJ DeMarco say this in an interview once that - That you can still be living Fastlane in a job or working towards it and you really don't need to always burn all the ships and jump off the deep end (something like that). That was all I needed to know because I was about to go from making $30k per year to more than triple and if you read the post I linked in the opening sentence, 10x that.

MY approach to getting a job without a college degree
It was Jan 2018 and I knew I was good, but there were definitely things I didn't know. My entire approach was this:

This is a numbers game, I know that if I get 100 interviews, I'll eventually land one. My goal is to get a job earning 6 figures and still work on my own stuff on the side. If I'm asked something I don't know the answer to, that's OK, I'll write it down and research it after. I'll also openly admit to not knowing the answer and ask them to explain it to me.

So here's what I did, I started reaching out to anything that caught my interest. I took all the interviews and used my approach above. By the time the 7th and 8th interview rolled around I was answering all the questions, easily, because I wrote down what I didn't know and researched it.

My goal was to get a job within 100 interviews and using this approach it took me exactly 12. I do not have a college degree in computer science but what I do have is persistence.

On interview #12 I was on the final stages and I believe it came down to me and 2 or 3 other engineers, all of whom had college educations and many more years experience than me. Here's what I did to seal the deal.

I took 2 hours out of my 'oh so busy day' and redesigned their home page based on what I thought would perform better (they mentioned this was something they eventually wanted to tackle). I emailed them the design and listed out my reasons for the changes, I ended that email with: "If you're looking for a confident engineer who tackles things head-on and gets stuff done, I'm your guy"

Then I waited, it took 2 hours to get a response and their response was that they were impressed and they decided to go with me, I'd have a formal offer letter in my inbox by Tuesday morning. I believe it was a Thursday when I did this.

True to their word, on Tuesday morning I had an offer letter and that's the story. I got hired, above other engineers, without a degree and I honestly believe anyone else can do this. They just need to get ok with things taking some time. My life is totally changed now. I would always tell myself when I first began learning and shit got hard and I felt like stopping:

"Dude you're 25, (28 now), so what if it takes you even 5 years. 30 is still young as F*ck and you'll be making great money with the potential to explode that income, be patient, trust the process"

Finally
Through all of that time, I was learning other things too. I learned about money and how to have it make money for you. A good post that probably should be read more is this one that MJ did - long before the 'paycheck pot' was even in a book How to Never Work Another Day in Your Life, The Money-System Portfolio – Fastlane Entrepreneurs.

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)

Things take time, trust the process. Good luck on your journey, I'll be around if you have questions that I can help answer.

Great news and good advice,

reading the title I wasn't sure if it was a post I wanted to read, but saw it was "Gold" and decided it may be worth it.

I am a new dad and newly married. I simply cannot up and quit my job right now, but I am leaving that option open for the future. I have to feed my dreams financially right now, especially during this rigorous learning process. considering I have not picked up a book of any kind in about 3 years, to now studying and reading and practicing daily.
I started some code-cademy courses, have been practicing typing to increase coding speed (as I never actually had a typing class)
it is hard to pinpoint exactly what to focus on, but I am trying to take it one step at a time, and have each skill compliment the other. I have used this time of unemployment because of C0VlD-19 as a foundation for learning. I put down the xbox and quit watching the shows. I have not had a big FTE yet, but I am gradually rebuilding my mindset.

I plan on getting into the invention market and software and application development. ( as I may need both for my products)

****Is there any other advice on maybe what to steer away from, and what some of the correct steps I should take are?
 
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GrayCode

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Nov 23, 2015
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First, many thanks for your contributions on this forum. The story of your first fastlane month and your story of how you got there are both incredibly powerful and inspiring.

With so many people becoming unemployed due to the current climate, it seems like the fail-safe solution everybody is suggesting to others is to learn programming.

My question to you is, how do you set yourself up for success if pursuing a path that is seemingly everybody's go to option. Will people go to bootcamps, self-study, or go back to college so they can then compete with developers across the world that are willing to work for less than you?

Has programming become commoditized to the point that it isn't enough of a skill in itself to compete for entry-level positions?

I think this is one of the biggest myths ever perpetuated. I actually thought the same thing before starting 3 years ago. I would think to myself... What if this is a worthless skill by the time I learn it.

Not going to happen. Engineers will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be in demand. It'll never become a commodity. The pay grade will likely keep on rising.

@GrayCode how did you know at the beginning what language to focus on, or what type of engineer you wanted to become (software, web, etc)?
Ha, I didn't at first. I didn't know a damn thing about programming. I just dove headfirst into the bootcamp. I didn't understand terms like front-end vs back-end didn't know what a 'javascript' was lol.

Ruby? (What! I don't want to become a jeweler) overly sarcastic but that's how little I knew. I dove in and pieced it together bit by bit.

Now I'm at a place where I can do everything, frontend, backend, database architecture, mobile and APIs to connect everything.

Great news and good advice,

reading the title I wasn't sure if it was a post I wanted to read, but saw it was "Gold" and decided it may be worth it.

I am a new dad and newly married. I simply cannot up and quit my job right now, but I am leaving that option open for the future. I have to feed my dreams financially right now, especially during this rigorous learning process. considering I have not picked up a book of any kind in about 3 years, to now studying and reading and practicing daily.
I started some code-cademy courses, have been practicing typing to increase coding speed (as I never actually had a typing class)
it is hard to pinpoint exactly what to focus on, but I am trying to take it one step at a time, and have each skill compliment the other. I have used this time of unemployment because of C0VlD-19 as a foundation for learning. I put down the xbox and quit watching the shows. I have not had a big FTE yet, but I am gradually rebuilding my mindset.

I plan on getting into the invention market and software and application development. ( as I may need both for my products)

****Is there any other advice on maybe what to steer away from, and what some of the correct steps I should take are?
  • Steer away from myths like the one quoted top most in this post.
  • Steer away from negative self-talk, because you can most certainly learn it.
  • Steer away from the false mindset that if you don't pick this up in 3 months it's not worth it. Get rich 'quick' doesn't exist. Get rich 'fast' and 'for certain' definitely does. @MJ DeMarco 's main point of TMFL
  • Finally, steer away from limiting beliefs like:

    - "I'm too old"
    -"I've got kids"
    - "I'm not smart enough"

    You get the idea.
 

spinventing

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Apr 25, 2020
20
18
Kansas City
I think this is one of the biggest myths ever perpetuated. I actually thought the same thing before starting 3 years ago. I would think to myself... What if this is a worthless skill by the time I learn it.

Not going to happen. Engineers will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be in demand. It'll never become a commodity. The pay grade will likely keep on rising.


Ha, I didn't at first. I didn't know a damn thing about programming. I just dove headfirst into the bootcamp. I didn't understand terms like front-end vs back-end didn't know what a 'javascript' was lol.

Ruby? (What! I don't want to become a jeweler) overly sarcastic but that's how little I knew. I dove in and pieced it together bit by bit.

Now I'm at a place where I can do everything, frontend, backend, database architecture, mobile and APIs to connect everything.


  • Steer away from myths like the one quoted top most in this post.
  • Steer away from negative self-talk, because you can most certainly learn it.
  • Steer away from the false mindset that if you don't pick this up in 3 months it's not worth it. Get rich 'quick' doesn't exist. Get rich 'fast' and 'for certain' definitely does. @MJ DeMarco 's main point of TMFL
  • Finally, steer away from limiting beliefs like:

    - "I'm too old"
    -"I've got kids"
    - "I'm not smart enough"

    You get the idea.
For sure, thanks for the tips! I am where you were as I literally don't know anything in the coding world. Like "java"? you mean that coffee icon???? lol anyways, I'm gonna keep plugging away and learning. The fast lane books have been an awesome at helping light the way.

also gonna sell my 98 red corvette from my sidewalk days lol
gonna list it now haha
 

GrayCode

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Read Unscripted!
Speedway Pass
Nov 23, 2015
261
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For sure, thanks for the tips! I am where you were as I literally don't know anything in the coding world. Like "java"? you mean that coffee icon???? lol anyways, I'm gonna keep plugging away and learning. The fast lane books have been an awesome at helping light the way.

also gonna sell my 98 red corvette from my sidewalk days lol
gonna list it now haha
Exactly haha. And yes - sell the baggage tying you to mediocrity. Just get after it.
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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As a 20 y/o who just got into web design, I find this inspiring as f*ck.
Same here friend. Only 3 years older.

What resources have you found the most helpful? Are you doing design or front-end dev?
 
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VicFountain

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Jun 22, 2018
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Same here friend. Only 3 years older.

What resources have you found the most helpful? Are you doing design or front-end dev?
I began with Codecademy. My advice is, beware of tutorials where they teach you only the technical stuff but don't show you where and how to apply the concepts in real projects. I bought several courses on Udemy and ended up learning almost nothing practical (with vanilla JS).

I currently do front-end only but plan on learning back-end too this summer cause that's where the real shit gets done in my honest opinion. If you know both front-end and back-end you can create whatever you want, for real. Creativity is the only limit once you reach that point.
 

JamesQB8

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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)
What are your favourite/most recommended Books, podcasts and blog resources?

I messaged you last year and have been dabbling in learning code from the inspiration of this thread. This global change of circumstances has finally pushed me to take the plunge and commit the time needed to truly improve quickly.

Thank you again for sharing your journey
 

KetoCarlo

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Mar 29, 2019
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New Jersey, US
I'm so glad I came across this thread! I'm doing the same thing as you but instead of code bootcamp I'm learning javascript on freecodecamp.org and python on codeacademy.com averaging about 8 hours a day(going hard the last 3 months in quarantine) and have some friends who are software engineers helping me with questions in their free time, I'm feeling a little more reassured after reading this and I'm looking forward to my future! Thanks for the post.
 
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Archer_Zero

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Oct 2, 2020
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  • 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)
Congrats on your progress & thanks for sharing.
- How did you manage your time to achieve learning this much ?
- what does your day look like ?
- do you listen double speed & are there any other tips ?

Thanks.
 

GrayCode

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Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Speedway Pass
Nov 23, 2015
261
954
What are your favourite/most recommended Books, podcasts and blog resources?

I messaged you last year and have been dabbling in learning code from the inspiration of this thread. This global change of circumstances has finally pushed me to take the plunge and commit the time needed to truly improve quickly.

Thank you again for sharing your journey

Books:
- TMF and Unscripted .
- Market Wizards
- Dark Pools
- Reminiscences of a stock operator
- All Nicholas Nassim Taleb books
- Well Grounded Rubyist
- Principles of Object Oriented Design
- Metaprogramming in Ruby

Podcasts/Videos:
- Andy Frisella
- Chamath Palihapitiya
- Naval Ravikant
-

Blogs:
- Anything I could find on the next thing I was learning. I no longer read for the sake of reading. All just in time learning.

- If I don't find a book interesting, I put it down ASAP. Don't bother wasting your time.

- Don't start adding things to your morning routine because some person you admire does it. Find what works for you.


Congrats on your progress & thanks for sharing.
- How did you manage your time to achieve learning this much ?
- what does your day look like ?
- do you listen double speed & are there any other tips ?

Thanks.

- FIrst 1.5 years I was going hard learning, I skipped hanging out with friends and family and basically hammered away. It's how I learned and got good so fast.

- My day's layout won't be beneficial to you. See my last sentence above in my response to @JamesQB8

- I listen 1.5x or 2x speed sometimes. Slow it down back to normal speed other times. It depends on the topic. Don't just read/listen to things for the sake of some ridiculous quota people set.

You know the gurus: "Real CEOs read 52 books a year, Tai Lopez reads 8 a week" blah blah blah, horseshit.
 

Overlander

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May 14, 2016
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This forum works in magical ways sometimes.

I visit this place especially on days when I'm feeling lost and seeking motivation, or to gain insight on a new idea.

Yesterday... was one of those days.



For the past few years, I've been on a quest to become financially independent because of my deep passion for travelling. Can't travel much if I'm tied down to a traditional 9-5. I've attempted a few things in hopes of earning a sufficient passive income, but none have led to success so far. Thus, for the past couple months, I've been interested in the idea of becoming a "digital nomad". If I don't yet have a passive income, at least I can start working online and travel at the same time.

It wasn't until yesterday morning that I started taking a serious look at this whole digital nomad thing. After reading a few blog posts about "best remote jobs 2020", the one that stood out was Software Engineer. Not only is the pay great, but a significant percentage of Software Engineers work remotely too?!

Next, I found a website that has job listings specifically for remote jobs. I discovered that there's great demand for Software Engineers, and remote work is easily possible. I knew I'd possibly come across a golden opportunity.



Feeling excited but also overwhelmed, I headed to a place where I often go in search of solace and clarity. The Fastlane Forum. And... there it was, right on the home page - "How I got hired as a software engineer without a college degree." The EXACT thing I was looking for.

My eyes lit up, and I quickly read this entire thread and also your other GOLD thread. I then spent the rest of the day diving deeper and went through many articles, blog posts, Reddit threads, Quora questions, Youtube videos and much more.

Today - more reading and researching.



When I like something, I get consumed by it. Over the years, this obsessiveness has mostly resulted in addiction to video games. But, in April this year, I quit the games and finished an HTML/CSS web design course. I enjoyed it. Armed with that knowledge, I created a well-designed website and launched an eCommerce store. I worked for 14 hours a day like an absolute maniac for 2 straight months to make that happen.

Now, I've found a new obsession. I'll keep working on the eCommerce store, but what I REALLY need to do is become a Software Engineer, ASAP. I haven't been this excited about something in a long time, and I'm going to tackle this head on by going at it 14 hours a day. Not only will it lead to a good stable pay, I know I'm going to enjoy it too. My only regret is not having given this career any consideration in the past.

Thanks for this thread, it really spoke to me and served as a beacon of hope and I'm so glad I came across it.


Maybe I rambled too much, but this thread deserved a meaningful reply and "cool story bro, I'll try this too" wouldn't have sufficed.
 
Last edited:

Karam

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Oct 23, 2020
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33
I wanted to thank you for sharing this inspiring story with us. I'm a Computer Science undergraduate and I'm currently learning CSS and HTML in my spare time using Udemy courses. It's been going really well and I like it but I have a feeling that I'll like the back-end coding more.

A couple of weeks back, I've decided to take matters into my own hands and quit gaming, start investing my time properly into things that will eventually get me on the Fast Lane lifestyle.

I'm planning to keep learning new languages until I know front-end, back-end, etc...
Do you have any advice on which path to take in term of specific languages/subjects to learn? Because you already have a clear vision of the industry.

Also, could you please post an update on the revenue you've accumulated so far?
 

Matake007

Contributor
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Read Unscripted!
Oct 23, 2020
24
24
I started another thread recently about my first fastlane month and I got a question on how I was able to get hired as a software engineer without a college degree. I feel like this is information I WISH someone shared with me as I was about to jump into coding. So, I figured rather than share it pages deep in the other thread, I'd make it standalone content incase someone specifically searches this out. (Hail the almighty SERPs ;))

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

I'll break it down by paragraph based on key timelines and decisions I made, feel free to skip anything you aren't interested in. Hopefully, this is helpful to you. If you have a question, feel free to ask.

Deciding to learn 'how to code' (Oct 15' - Aug 16')
I was a personal trainer making maybe $30k a year. I was on the whole self-improvement journey before I finally bumped into MFL in late 2015 - maybe Oct 15' (based on me joining the forum in Nov 15'). I was hooked after reading the book, I knew I needed some kind of recurring revenue stream independent of my time. So... here's what happened.

I wound up coming up with an idea for software for gyms (since I worked in one) and took all of my savings at the time ($14k) and sought out 'engineers' to help me build it. Well, turns out 14k isn't enough to hire good, talented, trustworthy engineers and I got screwed.

I hired overseas developers, they beat around the bush, wrote some code, filled with typos, did like 1 feature and over the course of a few months my money went to zero and I was broke with no product. For a while, I kept it in my head that it was their fault, but really it was mine. I had no business spending my money on something I knew nothing about, thinking I was going to get rich. I was looking for an event (get rich quick) when I should've been all-in on the process.

So, that project would come to a close around March 16' or so. I was annoyed and confused but not bankrupt on motivation. I re-read MFL and continued my journey of listening to loads and loads of podcasts and youtube videos. I was a 'success zombie'. Finally, I decided the money was in software and I wanted out of my 30k per year job. So I said, screw it, I'll teach myself to code.

Learning to code (Aug 16' - Dec 17')
I dove in and at first, I wasn't too excited about it. But I dug in hard, 8-14 hour days depending on the day. I missed lots of 'chilling with the friends' nights, but I was able to see the other side. I only worked minimal hours as a PT, literally just enough to pay my bills and every other week I would routinely see my bank account go into negative balances for a day or so. But I knew I was getting a quick $100 from a client the next night so I shrugged it off.

I joined a coding Bootcamp that cost $7k at $1k per month payments, I put it on credit. The Bootcamp assumed most people would dedicate 2 hours per day so they estimated it would take 7 months. But I was going hard, remember? I wound up finishing all the content the Bootcamp had in 2 months' time and went on my way. The total cost of the Bootcamp was actually only $2k financed on credit.

I finished that at the beginning of Nov 16' and I knew I enjoyed coding but was definitely not yet hireable. So I dove into personal projects, I came up with random ideas for things and just built and built and built. I used google as my personal assistant and that would lead me to stack overflow. I would repeat this process until around Dec 17'.

At this point, I had built 4-5 web-apps (nothing insane, some were clones of other popular apps). Going into 2018 I knew I wanted to start looking for a job.

The decision to Look for a job (Jan 2018)
At this point, I was still doing oddball jobs and random business ideas that never worked. If you looked at a zoomed out graph of my bank account balance this entire time on a 2-week time period breakdown. It was never above $500, and if it was, it wasn't for long. But I was ready to get a job.

STOP! (this is important)

For anyone thinking:
  1. "wtf, this takes 2 years and you were broke and you got a job, how the hell is this Fastlane" OR
  2. "Yeah, cool bro, sounds great, tell me how to make $100k next month"
If this is you, you might not be ready for what I'm sharing. Sometimes, the teacher presents itself when the student is ready to learn.

I think I heard @MJ DeMarco say this in an interview once that - That you can still be living Fastlane in a job or working towards it and you really don't need to always burn all the ships and jump off the deep end (something like that). That was all I needed to know because I was about to go from making $30k per year to more than triple and if you read the post I linked in the opening sentence, 10x that.

MY approach to getting a job without a college degree
It was Jan 2018 and I knew I was good, but there were definitely things I didn't know. My entire approach was this:

This is a numbers game, I know that if I get 100 interviews, I'll eventually land one. My goal is to get a job earning 6 figures and still work on my own stuff on the side. If I'm asked something I don't know the answer to, that's OK, I'll write it down and research it after. I'll also openly admit to not knowing the answer and ask them to explain it to me.

So here's what I did, I started reaching out to anything that caught my interest. I took all the interviews and used my approach above. By the time the 7th and 8th interview rolled around I was answering all the questions, easily, because I wrote down what I didn't know and researched it.

My goal was to get a job within 100 interviews and using this approach it took me exactly 12. I do not have a college degree in computer science but what I do have is persistence.

On interview #12 I was on the final stages and I believe it came down to me and 2 or 3 other engineers, all of whom had college educations and many more years experience than me. Here's what I did to seal the deal.

I took 2 hours out of my 'oh so busy day' and redesigned their home page based on what I thought would perform better (they mentioned this was something they eventually wanted to tackle). I emailed them the design and listed out my reasons for the changes, I ended that email with: "If you're looking for a confident engineer who tackles things head-on and gets stuff done, I'm your guy"

Then I waited, it took 2 hours to get a response and their response was that they were impressed and they decided to go with me, I'd have a formal offer letter in my inbox by Tuesday morning. I believe it was a Thursday when I did this.

True to their word, on Tuesday morning I had an offer letter and that's the story. I got hired, above other engineers, without a degree and I honestly believe anyone else can do this. They just need to get ok with things taking some time. My life is totally changed now. I would always tell myself when I first began learning and shit got hard and I felt like stopping:

"Dude you're 25, (28 now), so what if it takes you even 5 years. 30 is still young as f*ck and you'll be making great money with the potential to explode that income, be patient, trust the process"

Finally
Through all of that time, I was learning other things too. I learned about money and how to have it make money for you. A good post that probably should be read more is this one that MJ did - long before the 'paycheck pot' was even in a book How to Never Work Another Day in Your Life, The Money-System Portfolio – Fastlane Entrepreneurs.

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)

Things take time, trust the process. Good luck on your journey, I'll be around if you have questions that I can help answer.
Congrats OP! Very inspiring story and plenty of actionable gems as well! Thanks for sharing.
 
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ExaltedLife

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I was active in your other thread and this one explaining your process has me fired up! Unfortunately I wont be able to commit 8-14 hours a day as you did, but I'm looking at hitting 3-5 a day - I worked out I have 43 hours a spare a week.

168 hours in a week
108 after work
102 after travelling for work
97 after gym
48 after sleep (7hrs a night)
43 after miscellaneous (life happens)

So 3-5 hours a day coding would leave me with 8-22 hours a week to maintain my relationship and eat and chores etc

It'll be tight but worth it getting out of my job that's killing me physically and mentally.

Thanks for the inspiration @GrayCode.

I used to think in terms of cramming hours to meet my goals asap. It's useful to be sure, but if your job is killing you that much, get some rest and eat some veggies
 

GrayCode

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Nov 23, 2015
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This forum works in magical ways sometimes.

I visit this place especially on days when I'm feeling lost and seeking motivation, or to gain insight on a new idea.

Yesterday... was one of those days.



For the past few years, I've been on a quest to become financially independent because of my deep passion for travelling. Can't travel much if I'm tied down to a traditional 9-5. I've attempted a few things in hopes of earning a sufficient passive income, but none have led to success so far. Thus, for the past couple months, I've been interested in the idea of becoming a "digital nomad". If I don't yet have a passive income, at least I can start working online and travel at the same time.

It wasn't until yesterday morning that I started taking a serious look at this whole digital nomad thing. After reading a few blog posts about "best remote jobs 2020", the one that stood out was Software Engineer. Not only is the pay great, but a significant percentage of Software Engineers work remotely too?!

Next, I found a website that has job listings specifically for remote jobs. I discovered that there's great demand for Software Engineers, and remote work is easily possible. I knew I'd possibly come across a golden opportunity.



Feeling excited but also overwhelmed, I headed to a place where I often go in search of solace and clarity. The Fastlane Forum. And... there it was, right on the home page - "How I got hired as a software engineer without a college degree." The EXACT thing I was looking for.

My eyes lit up, and I quickly read this entire thread and also your other GOLD thread. I then spent the rest of the day diving deeper and went through many articles, blog posts, Reddit threads, Quora questions, Youtube videos and much more.

Today - more reading and researching.



When I like something, I get consumed by it. Over the years, this obsessiveness has mostly resulted in addiction to video games. But, in April this year, I quit the games and finished an HTML/CSS web design course. I enjoyed it. Armed with that knowledge, I created a well-designed website and launched an eCommerce store. I worked for 14 hours a day like an absolute maniac for 2 straight months to make that happen.

Now, I've found a new obsession. I'll keep working on the eCommerce store, but what I REALLY need to do is become a Software Engineer, ASAP. I haven't been this excited about something in a long time, and I'm going to tackle this head on by going at it 14 hours a day. Not only will it lead to a good stable pay, I know I'm going to enjoy it too. My only regret is not having given this career any consideration in the past.

Thanks for this thread, it really spoke to me and served as a beacon of hope and I'm so glad I came across it.

Maybe I rambled too much, but this thread deserved a meaningful reply and "cool story bro, I'll try this too" wouldn't have sufficed.
This made me smile, Thank you very much for your response. I'm happy to hear that you're making these changes. Hands down becoming a software engineer changed my life and I'm sure it can do the same for others who are hungry and willing to learn the craft.

DM me if you have questions or need help or pointers.
 

GrayCode

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Nov 23, 2015
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I was active in your other thread and this one explaining your process has me fired up! Unfortunately I wont be able to commit 8-14 hours a day as you did, but I'm looking at hitting 3-5 a day - I worked out I have 43 hours a spare a week.

168 hours in a week
108 after work
102 after travelling for work
97 after gym
48 after sleep (7hrs a night)
43 after miscellaneous (life happens)

So 3-5 hours a day coding would leave me with 8-22 hours a week to maintain my relationship and eat and chores etc

It'll be tight but worth it getting out of my job that's killing me physically and mentally.

Thanks for the inspiration @GrayCode.
Did you wind up following through?
 

Geekour

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Nov 27, 2017
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The latest survey on Stack Overflow shows the most popular languages as of late.
@csalvato previously linked to the 2019 survey a while back. The most recent survey seems to be from 2021.

It seems like Ruby/Rails is still a niche language that goes undiscovered because many are focused on Python/SQL as the language to learn or data being a popular topic.

Is Ruby/Rails path still an in demand option worth going all in on or is the field of data growing much faster to warrant focusing on Ruby/Rails first?

I don't have a project in mind but I am curious what path will pay off the most for a new software developer salary wise and opens doors and is in demand.

What path/language would you recommend going all in on in 2022? @GrayCode @csalvato
 

Issi007

PARKED
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Apr 27, 2022
6
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I started another thread recently about my first fastlane month and I got a question on how I was able to get hired as a software engineer without a college degree. I feel like this is information I WISH someone shared with me as I was about to jump into coding. So, I figured rather than share it pages deep in the other thread, I'd make it standalone content incase someone specifically searches this out. (Hail the almighty SERPs ;))

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

I'll break it down by paragraph based on key timelines and decisions I made, feel free to skip anything you aren't interested in. Hopefully, this is helpful to you. If you have a question, feel free to ask.

Deciding to learn 'how to code' (Oct 15' - Aug 16')
I was a personal trainer making maybe $30k a year. I was on the whole self-improvement journey before I finally bumped into MFL in late 2015 - maybe Oct 15' (based on me joining the forum in Nov 15'). I was hooked after reading the book, I knew I needed some kind of recurring revenue stream independent of my time. So... here's what happened.

I wound up coming up with an idea for software for gyms (since I worked in one) and took all of my savings at the time ($14k) and sought out 'engineers' to help me build it. Well, turns out 14k isn't enough to hire good, talented, trustworthy engineers and I got screwed.

I hired overseas developers, they beat around the bush, wrote some code, filled with typos, did like 1 feature and over the course of a few months my money went to zero and I was broke with no product. For a while, I kept it in my head that it was their fault, but really it was mine. I had no business spending my money on something I knew nothing about, thinking I was going to get rich. I was looking for an event (get rich quick) when I should've been all-in on the process.

So, that project would come to a close around March 16' or so. I was annoyed and confused but not bankrupt on motivation. I re-read MFL and continued my journey of listening to loads and loads of podcasts and youtube videos. I was a 'success zombie'. Finally, I decided the money was in software and I wanted out of my 30k per year job. So I said, screw it, I'll teach myself to code.

Learning to code (Aug 16' - Dec 17')
I dove in and at first, I wasn't too excited about it. But I dug in hard, 8-14 hour days depending on the day. I missed lots of 'chilling with the friends' nights, but I was able to see the other side. I only worked minimal hours as a PT, literally just enough to pay my bills and every other week I would routinely see my bank account go into negative balances for a day or so. But I knew I was getting a quick $100 from a client the next night so I shrugged it off.

I joined a coding Bootcamp that cost $7k at $1k per month payments, I put it on credit. The Bootcamp assumed most people would dedicate 2 hours per day so they estimated it would take 7 months. But I was going hard, remember? I wound up finishing all the content the Bootcamp had in 2 months' time and went on my way. The total cost of the Bootcamp was actually only $2k financed on credit.

I finished that at the beginning of Nov 16' and I knew I enjoyed coding but was definitely not yet hireable. So I dove into personal projects, I came up with random ideas for things and just built and built and built. I used google as my personal assistant and that would lead me to stack overflow. I would repeat this process until around Dec 17'.

At this point, I had built 4-5 web-apps (nothing insane, some were clones of other popular apps). Going into 2018 I knew I wanted to start looking for a job.

The decision to Look for a job (Jan 2018)
At this point, I was still doing oddball jobs and random business ideas that never worked. If you looked at a zoomed out graph of my bank account balance this entire time on a 2-week time period breakdown. It was never above $500, and if it was, it wasn't for long. But I was ready to get a job.

STOP! (this is important)

For anyone thinking:
  1. "wtf, this takes 2 years and you were broke and you got a job, how the hell is this Fastlane" OR
  2. "Yeah, cool bro, sounds great, tell me how to make $100k next month"
If this is you, you might not be ready for what I'm sharing. Sometimes, the teacher presents itself when the student is ready to learn.

I think I heard @MJ DeMarco say this in an interview once that - That you can still be living Fastlane in a job or working towards it and you really don't need to always burn all the ships and jump off the deep end (something like that). That was all I needed to know because I was about to go from making $30k per year to more than triple and if you read the post I linked in the opening sentence, 10x that.

MY approach to getting a job without a college degree
It was Jan 2018 and I knew I was good, but there were definitely things I didn't know. My entire approach was this:

This is a numbers game, I know that if I get 100 interviews, I'll eventually land one. My goal is to get a job earning 6 figures and still work on my own stuff on the side. If I'm asked something I don't know the answer to, that's OK, I'll write it down and research it after. I'll also openly admit to not knowing the answer and ask them to explain it to me.

So here's what I did, I started reaching out to anything that caught my interest. I took all the interviews and used my approach above. By the time the 7th and 8th interview rolled around I was answering all the questions, easily, because I wrote down what I didn't know and researched it.

My goal was to get a job within 100 interviews and using this approach it took me exactly 12. I do not have a college degree in computer science but what I do have is persistence.

On interview #12 I was on the final stages and I believe it came down to me and 2 or 3 other engineers, all of whom had college educations and many more years experience than me. Here's what I did to seal the deal.

I took 2 hours out of my 'oh so busy day' and redesigned their home page based on what I thought would perform better (they mentioned this was something they eventually wanted to tackle). I emailed them the design and listed out my reasons for the changes, I ended that email with: "If you're looking for a confident engineer who tackles things head-on and gets stuff done, I'm your guy"

Then I waited, it took 2 hours to get a response and their response was that they were impressed and they decided to go with me, I'd have a formal offer letter in my inbox by Tuesday morning. I believe it was a Thursday when I did this.

True to their word, on Tuesday morning I had an offer letter and that's the story. I got hired, above other engineers, without a degree and I honestly believe anyone else can do this. They just need to get ok with things taking some time. My life is totally changed now. I would always tell myself when I first began learning and shit got hard and I felt like stopping:

"Dude you're 25, (28 now), so what if it takes you even 5 years. 30 is still young as F*ck and you'll be making great money with the potential to explode that income, be patient, trust the process"

Finally
Through all of that time, I was learning other things too. I learned about money and how to have it make money for you. A good post that probably should be read more is this one that MJ did - long before the 'paycheck pot' was even in a book How to Never Work Another Day in Your Life, The Money-System Portfolio – Fastlane Entrepreneurs.

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)

Things take time, trust the process. Good luck on your journey, I'll be around if you have questions that I can help answer.
Thank you for sharing this valuable and honest process, all the grind and hustle around it, it is really inspiring.
 
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Issi007

PARKED
Read Fastlane!
Apr 27, 2022
6
0
I started another thread recently about my first fastlane month and I got a question on how I was able to get hired as a software engineer without a college degree. I feel like this is information I WISH someone shared with me as I was about to jump into coding. So, I figured rather than share it pages deep in the other thread, I'd make it standalone content incase someone specifically searches this out. (Hail the almighty SERPs ;))

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

I'll break it down by paragraph based on key timelines and decisions I made, feel free to skip anything you aren't interested in. Hopefully, this is helpful to you. If you have a question, feel free to ask.

Deciding to learn 'how to code' (Oct 15' - Aug 16')
I was a personal trainer making maybe $30k a year. I was on the whole self-improvement journey before I finally bumped into MFL in late 2015 - maybe Oct 15' (based on me joining the forum in Nov 15'). I was hooked after reading the book, I knew I needed some kind of recurring revenue stream independent of my time. So... here's what happened.

I wound up coming up with an idea for software for gyms (since I worked in one) and took all of my savings at the time ($14k) and sought out 'engineers' to help me build it. Well, turns out 14k isn't enough to hire good, talented, trustworthy engineers and I got screwed.

I hired overseas developers, they beat around the bush, wrote some code, filled with typos, did like 1 feature and over the course of a few months my money went to zero and I was broke with no product. For a while, I kept it in my head that it was their fault, but really it was mine. I had no business spending my money on something I knew nothing about, thinking I was going to get rich. I was looking for an event (get rich quick) when I should've been all-in on the process.

So, that project would come to a close around March 16' or so. I was annoyed and confused but not bankrupt on motivation. I re-read MFL and continued my journey of listening to loads and loads of podcasts and youtube videos. I was a 'success zombie'. Finally, I decided the money was in software and I wanted out of my 30k per year job. So I said, screw it, I'll teach myself to code.

Learning to code (Aug 16' - Dec 17')
I dove in and at first, I wasn't too excited about it. But I dug in hard, 8-14 hour days depending on the day. I missed lots of 'chilling with the friends' nights, but I was able to see the other side. I only worked minimal hours as a PT, literally just enough to pay my bills and every other week I would routinely see my bank account go into negative balances for a day or so. But I knew I was getting a quick $100 from a client the next night so I shrugged it off.

I joined a coding Bootcamp that cost $7k at $1k per month payments, I put it on credit. The Bootcamp assumed most people would dedicate 2 hours per day so they estimated it would take 7 months. But I was going hard, remember? I wound up finishing all the content the Bootcamp had in 2 months' time and went on my way. The total cost of the Bootcamp was actually only $2k financed on credit.

I finished that at the beginning of Nov 16' and I knew I enjoyed coding but was definitely not yet hireable. So I dove into personal projects, I came up with random ideas for things and just built and built and built. I used google as my personal assistant and that would lead me to stack overflow. I would repeat this process until around Dec 17'.

At this point, I had built 4-5 web-apps (nothing insane, some were clones of other popular apps). Going into 2018 I knew I wanted to start looking for a job.

The decision to Look for a job (Jan 2018)
At this point, I was still doing oddball jobs and random business ideas that never worked. If you looked at a zoomed out graph of my bank account balance this entire time on a 2-week time period breakdown. It was never above $500, and if it was, it wasn't for long. But I was ready to get a job.

STOP! (this is important)

For anyone thinking:
  1. "wtf, this takes 2 years and you were broke and you got a job, how the hell is this Fastlane" OR
  2. "Yeah, cool bro, sounds great, tell me how to make $100k next month"
If this is you, you might not be ready for what I'm sharing. Sometimes, the teacher presents itself when the student is ready to learn.

I think I heard @MJ DeMarco say this in an interview once that - That you can still be living Fastlane in a job or working towards it and you really don't need to always burn all the ships and jump off the deep end (something like that). That was all I needed to know because I was about to go from making $30k per year to more than triple and if you read the post I linked in the opening sentence, 10x that.

MY approach to getting a job without a college degree
It was Jan 2018 and I knew I was good, but there were definitely things I didn't know. My entire approach was this:

This is a numbers game, I know that if I get 100 interviews, I'll eventually land one. My goal is to get a job earning 6 figures and still work on my own stuff on the side. If I'm asked something I don't know the answer to, that's OK, I'll write it down and research it after. I'll also openly admit to not knowing the answer and ask them to explain it to me.

So here's what I did, I started reaching out to anything that caught my interest. I took all the interviews and used my approach above. By the time the 7th and 8th interview rolled around I was answering all the questions, easily, because I wrote down what I didn't know and researched it.

My goal was to get a job within 100 interviews and using this approach it took me exactly 12. I do not have a college degree in computer science but what I do have is persistence.

On interview #12 I was on the final stages and I believe it came down to me and 2 or 3 other engineers, all of whom had college educations and many more years experience than me. Here's what I did to seal the deal.

I took 2 hours out of my 'oh so busy day' and redesigned their home page based on what I thought would perform better (they mentioned this was something they eventually wanted to tackle). I emailed them the design and listed out my reasons for the changes, I ended that email with: "If you're looking for a confident engineer who tackles things head-on and gets stuff done, I'm your guy"

Then I waited, it took 2 hours to get a response and their response was that they were impressed and they decided to go with me, I'd have a formal offer letter in my inbox by Tuesday morning. I believe it was a Thursday when I did this.

True to their word, on Tuesday morning I had an offer letter and that's the story. I got hired, above other engineers, without a degree and I honestly believe anyone else can do this. They just need to get ok with things taking some time. My life is totally changed now. I would always tell myself when I first began learning and shit got hard and I felt like stopping:

"Dude you're 25, (28 now), so what if it takes you even 5 years. 30 is still young as F*ck and you'll be making great money with the potential to explode that income, be patient, trust the process"

Finally
Through all of that time, I was learning other things too. I learned about money and how to have it make money for you. A good post that probably should be read more is this one that MJ did - long before the 'paycheck pot' was even in a book How to Never Work Another Day in Your Life, The Money-System Portfolio – Fastlane Entrepreneurs.

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)

Things take time, trust the process. Good luck on your journey, I'll be around if you have questions that I can help answer.
Please @GrayCode, while searching for the job at the time, was it possible to include your personal projects as experience acquired ?
 

csalvato

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
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May 5, 2014
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Rocky Mountain West
The latest survey on Stack Overflow shows the most popular languages as of late.
@csalvato previously linked to the 2019 survey a while back. The most recent survey seems to be from 2021.

It seems like Ruby/Rails is still a niche language that goes undiscovered because many are focused on Python/SQL as the language to learn or data being a popular topic.

Is Ruby/Rails path still an in demand option worth going all in on or is the field of data growing much faster to warrant focusing on Ruby/Rails first?

I don't have a project in mind but I am curious what path will pay off the most for a new software developer salary wise and opens doors and is in demand.

What path/language would you recommend going all in on in 2022? @GrayCode @csalvato

I think I've said it a few times in this thread: it doesn't matter.

Software is software, no matter what language it's written in. Software problems are the same, no matter the language. Software teams operate very similarly whether the tech they use is Python, Ruby, Java or all of these at once.

One language doesn't allow you to add value any more than another. In the course of adding value as an engineer, you will actually have to change and learn multiple languages over time.

This question is an action faker's question. It's like obsessing over the color of your business card or the "buy now" button on your website that gets 1000 hits a year.

The language you choose should be the one in which you can learn software and computer science the fastest. If I were mentoring you, that would be Ruby on Rails and JavaScript. If you had access to a bunch of terrific and free Python resources and a Python mentor, it would be that.

EDIT: As an additional FYI, my income from writing software and operating on software teams has more than quadrupled since this post was originally written, and I still focus on Ruby on Rails and JS.

EDIT2: Relevant: GOLD! - TAXES | REGS - First Fastlane Month, Feels Amazing! $65,000+ Revenue Pre-tax
 
Last edited:

Jeannen

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Apr 9, 2020
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France
Hey, thanks for your topic, I'm in a very blurry situation and it helped me see a bit clearer

Have +4 years of experience in digital marketing and eCommerce, I'm doing decently but I don't see much future for me there anymore, as the industry is now moving to "content creation"

I have some basis in coding, but your topic really made me consider stopping entrepreneurship for a while to focus on coding. I don't know if I would fit in a regular job, but that would open up a new bunch of opportunities for me
 
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csalvato

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
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May 5, 2014
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Rocky Mountain West
I have some basis in coding, but your topic really made me consider stopping entrepreneurship for a while to focus on coding. I don't know if I would fit in a regular job, but that would open up a new bunch of opportunities for me

Entrepreneurship is a state of mind. You can be an entrepreneur and work within another company.
 

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