Hello everybody, I am Ante and I am the co-author of this site with Jan. In his post, he told you about his way of transitioning into development as a self-taught developer.
My story is completely opposite from his because I chose the Computer science career path. That is why this site is different from others: we talk about things from two different perspectives. We know about challenges that you might face on your way to becoming a developer and we are here to help you.
My first experience with programming
Since I was about 10 years old I had a dream to work in a job that requires using a computer. After some time, in second grade in high school, I had an informatics subject. There I learned about programming and I liked it a lot. We used the C programming language and I was pretty good with it. We had a teacher who was good and patient. We would first learn how to solve the easiest tasks and then we would progress towards harder tasks.
Nobody struggled with it, everybody passed that subject. For me, that was proof that everybody can learn to program. I was 15 years old when I was introduced to programming and we learned it for 3 more years in high school.
That was the time I realized that I wanted to become a software developer. I wanted to go to university and study Computer science after finishing high school.
Studying Computer science
Once I was done with high school it seemed natural to me to go to university. I was interested in programming and wanted to learn more. That is why I chose the Computer science career path.
I learned a lot during those five years at university. I learned about databases, networks, security, data structures, algorithms, math, etc. Of course, some subjects were more interesting than others.
The main thing that I got from university is the engineering approach to problems related to software development.
There are some other benefits of going to university other than getting a degree:
- networking - you meet a lot of like-minded people. Some people started companies together during their time in university
- professors might recommend you to companies
- companies are working on projects together with universities. That way some students get internships or full-time jobs (after they get a degree)
- you can work at university once you get your degree
Getting the first job
I got my first programming job during my last year of university. It was a student job. My colleague recommended me to a big corporation. They were looking for students. I passed an interview and I started to work there. I was very happy that I got a job before I finished university because that was a big boost on my CV.
Despite the fact that I was a student, I had so many things to learn there. I learned about what the average day of a software engineer looks like. I learned about meetings, tasks, calls, working in a team environment, collaboration on the same code base, etc. And it was completely normal that I needed to learn about those things because it is not something you learn at university.
People were friendly and very helpful. Because of that, I adapted quickly and I worked there for six months. After that, I took some time to complete my master’s degree. After getting a degree I was looking for my first full-time job.
It was not that hard to find a job because I already had some experience. Also, I did not need much time to adapt to the new company’s environment.
If I could start my career again, I would still go to university. Getting a degree allowed me to apply to all kinds of jobs because some jobs required having a master’s degree. I met a lot of people and some of those were my colleagues at some jobs. Also, going to university meant that I postponed going to work for five years 🙂
But, this does not mean it is the only way to start a programming career. Once again, I recommend you read Jan’s story where you’ll learn about becoming a self-taught developer.
It is important to be persistent and invest in your knowledge. You need to be curious and be ready to read a lot.
If you want to start with programming - as a hobby or a career choice, you can get a free eBook that Jan and I put together. It will introduce you to programming in the simplest way possible according to both of us. You don’t need to have any previous knowledge. Also, you can follow us for future stories and tutorials because there will be a lot of them. This site will help you build the tech skills you need to get the tech job you want.
If you have any questions regarding your career path or programming in general, feel free to ask in the comments below. We will answer it as soon as we can.