There are a lot of voices out there offering advice right now. Every day more and more people create content and try to influence other people in their decision making, so why in the world would you listen to me?
Over the years I've learned a lot about how to bootstrap a career. I dropped out of college during my junior year because I ran out of money and worked random jobs like restaurants, stocking a home improvement store at 4 AM with a forklift, and landscaping.
During that time I began to learn everything I could about not only web development, but starting a successful career without the traditional path of college, internships, etc.
Along that journey I realized that a lot of people have been sold a lie, or at least an exaggeration, about the ideal career path.
I approach my career and my teaching with a few principles in mind.
College is no longer a guaranteed path to success.
College used to be valuable because it signaled to employers that you were a relatively safe bet for hiring.
It is no longer a relevant signal for two main reasons:
- So many people have degrees now that it doesn't actually set you apart
- There are much better ways to signal your abilities to the right people than a piece of paper
Anybody has the ability to learn a valuable skill on their own.
Building on the second point above, using the Internet we can now create a living, breathing resume that shows real-world work we have completed in the form of our own website.
By learning in public and writing about that learning, we can create a much more effective signal.
Companies hire based on the perceived cost to benefit ratio they'll get from you.
If a company thinks that hiring you will make them more money than it will cost to hire you, the decision becomes easier.
That means building your career becomes focused on convincing potential employers of that.
You do that by building awesome things and building relationships with the right people.
Building a great career doesn't lie in your credentials, it lies in learning something valuable, and demonstrating that knowledge to the right people.
Don't worry about whether or not you went to school, how much experience you have, how old you are, what industry you came from previously, or any of that.
All of your energy should be spent on building valuable skills, and building relationships with the right people.
Making this shift in mindset will make all the difference in being able to launch and grow an excellent career.
These principles underly everything I do in my own career and everything I teach.
My goal is to be able to help other developers, both current and aspiring, start and build fulfilling, lucrative careers.
Ultimately, I want this to lead to more people who are self-reliant and can take initiative to forge their own path in life, rather than relying on outside influences and feeling the need to stick to the "correct" path.
If these things resonate with you, and you're an aspiring developer looking to break into the industry, my upcoming course, Create & Connect, is for you.