Hi Elphas! It's been a while since I posted in this community, and I really want to share my personal experience to encourage more women becoming software engineer.
I became a software engineer
- without a CS degree
- did not went to bootcamp
- learned coding aside from a full-time job
I believe many people have done it before, but I don't see many exprience sharing around especially in Elpha community, so I'd love to share mine =D
Why Software Enginneering?
I got into the tech industry as a product designer. Throughout the years, I found that I prefer to hangout with engineering folks much more, and got super interested on how they do their day-to-day work. I was one of those designers who can do a bit of coding -- but really just basic CSS stuff and nothing else.
What trigger me to do the career switch
The pandemic happened. In the middle of 2020, there were this trend of "picking up a new skill during lockdowns". I instantly thought of coding - and decided to do it.
I spent a month going through the web development basics on Freecodecamp. I did it in a very casual way - not really goal oriented buy really just having fun understanding how all the pieces work together. This was my first step into coding, and gave me a lot of confidence because I figured I can learn things just by myself without going back to university or spent $$$$ on bootcamps.
Life and work got busy, and I stopped coding for a few months. During Christmas time, since nobody could travel due to the pandemic, I figured I could use this time to teach myself coding again. This time, I picked Python.
What I did was asking around and got advice from 3-5 software engineer friends, and ask them what's the best way to learn Python and how I should learn it. Then I designed a "mini bootcamp"- a 7-day learning plan for me to go through Python basics as much as possible.
The outcome: I was able to create a 35-line Python program from sctrach, to automate something I need to do at work, which saved me hours of work.
Work got busy again until about July.
I started to think about switching jobs at this point, but I wasn't really confident that I can start applying software engineering jobs. Nobody I knew could get a fulltime SWE job without a master degree, so at that point I thought it's impossible.
In August, a friend's company needs to update their website, and I volunteered to do it for them. At this point I still have a fulltime job that needs me 8 hours per day. I would take my laptop after work, go to our local 24-hour cafe, and code there until midnight.
I completed the website, and this gave me a lot of confidence boost. I found that 1) I love doing coding allday as a job and 2)I am able to learn everything by myself, which is the most important skill of software engineer, I was told.
Then I spent 3 months sending resumes around, doing whatever I can, and got a job offer after. Regarding the job hunting process I'll probably leave it to another post cuz it'll be way too long.
I hope this would help anyone who's interested in switching career to software engineering but fear that they're "not made for this". Honestly, I think anyone can do it. You just need to find your unique way to connect your brain to the "programming mindset".
Keep trying, keep confident.
Let me know in the comment if you have any questions!