So I’ve been teaching myself how to write code the last 6 moths through open source like Code Academy, Code School, etc…I have talked to a couple recruiters, one of which I was able to get a phone interview with an agency, which didn’t amount to much. I am getting more comfortable with HTML and DOM manipulation but still feel like I have a long way to go before I can break into this industry. I am 30 years old and starting to get depressed I can’t find work. Not making an income is making it more difficult to stay motivated and create new development. I don’t even have much of a portfolio to show other than a few things on GitHub which some people helped me code along the way.
I came across this site and felt like venting. Everyone says keep at it, work on your own projects. Yet I find myself reading more books and watching more tutorials about functional programming then writing the same old HTML and CSS and playing with colors and fonts. Yet this is where I feel I’m getting stuck . I have a mix between a right and left brain which is some creativity and some logic and rational thinking. Most people are good at one specific skill, and I feel like I’ve done a little too much of everything at the start and my brain is going haywire. Any feedback would be appreciated.
Programming and design are both complex skills but I would advice that you choose the one which you prefer. In a startup company having a mix of both is very useful but in a more established company then you would probably find that the work you are given will fall into one category or the other. As they are both complex it isn’t really possible to be good at both. I started in design for a couple of years and have always had to do some design work (HTML, CSS) but I struggle with design as I prefer coding.
I expect that many would split what I am calling design into UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) which shows that the skills have become a lot more defined over the years. If you prefer playing with the HTML and CSS then I would looks at books on UI and UX design. Both are valuable skills.
There is nothing wrong with playing with lots of areas in computing and finding out which you prefer. This is the same idea as school where they teach a lot of subjects and only later on do you choose your favourites. How would you know what you like best if you don’t try lots of different things?
However, it seems like you main aim is to find work and so I would check what work is available in your area. If there isn’t much design work then maybe programming is the better option to learn.
I don’t think that people are naturally good at one thing or the other. They have learned one to a higher level than the other. Hence having a mixed left/right brain is probably perfectly normal.
I hope things work out for you.
It looks like you’re trying to make a career change. Maybe it would help if you could give us a bit more info about your work experience and why you want to switch to web development.
That being said, I agree with @Doahh. It takes time to become a productive full stack web developer. I would focus on front-end development first if you feel your creative side is strong. Personally, I like to be involved with the UI, whether it’s web or mobile. It can be very frustrating because there are so many devices out there but there’s something gratifying about showing your work to people.
As for personal projects, it can be as simple as a blog. Anything that you can use as a excuse to experiment.
Also look for meetups in your area.