I'm not good enough to be one of you


#1

I’ve already forgot what I googled to find this site and I apologize if, after this rant, this is the wrong place for myself and my story. I just felt like I had to try and get some of these thoughts off my chest.

Please don’t feel any obligation to read this wall of text.

I self identify, or at-least have been up until now, as a web-developer. Truth be told, I haven’t been doing it long enough and am definitely not good enough to deserve the title. I am 26 years old and have been teaching higher ed since I was 22. Teaching was amazing, but I learned first-hand it wasn’t the type of career you could raise a family on, so I decided to try a career that used the same skill set (I taught a “analytical” subject at my community college) which would allow me that possibility. Instead of going back to a traditional school I decided to go to a web dev bootcamp in the Bay Area. I graduated and felt competent in my stack until I started my job search.

Since “graduating” I’ve been unemployed for almost 6 months now. The “job assistance” from the programming bootcamp I attended was basically an explanation on how to write a resume and present yourself in an interview. I’ve sent out over 100 applications, and only heard back from about a quarter of them. Of those that I did hear back from, the typical response was mostly “we want someone with more experience.” So I felt like I was in a catch-22 between the fact that no one will hire me because I had no experience and the fact that I can’t get experience because no one will hire me. I’ve had coffee with a few developers in the bay area and when I asked them how THEY got their first jobs, their responses were generally that they got their job because they already knew someone in the company. I, however, know no one. Coming from academia, I had little connections into tech jobs and companies. After attending some meetups I’ve also realized how much I struggle with social anxiety.

The main point of all of this is that I’ve run out of options. I’ve had to resort to food-stamps , unemployment, and my SO’s minimum wage income to pay the bills and eat. I felt and still feel like a complete incompetent sack of shit.

The saving grace of my story is that I’ve landed a QA role at a well established tech company. So starting next month, I’ll have a job and it will be enough to accomplish my original goal which was to have the type of income to support a family. I plan on proposing to my SO as soon as I can afford her ring. I should be happy, but I am not. I think my goals and aspirations, for better or worse, changed along this process.

What depresses me is how much I actually enjoyed web development. I wanted to be in a career that, like teaching, I enjoyed. I won’t have that now.

I feel like I failed in actually “becoming a web developer” and that I’m not smart enough to actually succeed in the career. I’ve just been pretending to be a web developer up until now and I never had what it takes to begin with. My story has come to the point where I’m just repeating that general theme. I feel envious, embarrassed, and defeated whenever I think about web development.


#2

I started web development at 26, I had a background, but not professional experience so I decided to find a job on IT. Obviously, my first job was as a Junior dev. But then you start meeting people from the IT world, learning a lot, even how to write a CV.

If you are not doing it, is a good idea to join tech meetings so you can see what people is working on and also to do some networking. Participating in open source projects also gives you experience. Start a personal project, share it.

I hope this helps.

Best!


#3

I didn’t finish a bachelors degree until I was about to turn 31. I started my first job in software development just about 9 months before that. Age doesn’t have to hold you back. But yes, knowing someone is the biggest thing in finding work. User groups, tech & startup community events, etc are the best way to go with that, although if you’re depressed it’s more difficult to socialize.


#4

I think your feeling that your first job in the field being in QA somehow means that you will be stuck doing that forever is something you should review. It is much more likely to be a stepping stone that gets you industry experience which you can then leverage into either an internal transfer closer to something you would rather be doing or it adds something on your resume which you can use to find a web dev role at a different company.

You will be meeting people, both inside and outside your company. You will have work experience which, although not specifically web dev, still counts for something when applying/interviewing down the track.

Augment this with attendance at meetups, messing around in your own time and you will maximise your future opportunities.


#5

Forget your career, software development or your relationship for a moment. What are your plans for your social anxiety? This and self-confidence are going to be the biggest things holding you back in all of your goals. I would recommend getting help, whether that’s a therapist or some good books, whatever.

So there’s a lot of info here I want to touch on.

First, this QA job sounds wonderful. Facts are that you know no one inside the tech industry and no (nearly) nothing about how it works. Networking is king! This doesn’t mean making business cards and being that sleezy guy at meetups no one wants to talk to, this means showing your dedication and interest to like-minded people. Get in, learn new things, show you care, grow, etc. and your career with naturally grow. Just because you’re in QA today doesn’t mean you’ll be doing that forever!

Second, and this really goes back to my first point, happiness is hard. For me, I tend to always think the next step will make me happier. I’m slowly, slowly, slowly unlearning this pattern. My income and career prospects are way higher than I thought they would ever be when I started and I still just look up to the next level. The difference is finding contentment and peace with where you are, and the knowledge that you are doing all within your power to continue to grow. Be sure that a spouse, a family, etc. are not part of the same pattern.

I worry when I think things like “I should be happy,” says who? Be true to yourself about what you really want. This is very important.

Third, goals an aspirations should always be changing, that’s part of growth. Reading this post made me happy for you – even if you are not happy for yourself. I hope that you join this new company with any open mind and genuine desire to learn. I started my career stocking shelves at a computer store then progressing through customer service, tech support, systems administration and ultimately software engineering. Who knows what’s next.


#6

I think with regards to the job applications, hearing back from 25% is pretty good!! Searching for jobs can be a pretty soul destroying experience. I found the book what colour is your parachute as a great guide. I think it matters a lot HOW you search for a job. If you were to call up about a job, it makes a big difference than just sending in a resume. Employers get resumes all the time. If you sent in a resume, it is usually just another resume, they might not even read it!

With regards to social anxiety I think you should try meditation once a day each day without fail. It is also something which becomes easier with exposure and is the most difficult when you are thrown into the situation.

So in terms of peformance. I often think that the practice effect is important in terms of getting better. It is possible (inevitable) to get better over time. Sometimes you seem unable to find a way and it might be best to move on. But you have to realise that there would be other things out there for you. We all have things we cannot do at this time. But it is possible that with practice you can improve a great deal. When I first started playing chess I lost to everyone in the club. I kept losing for months. Then gradually I was able to become one of the best players in the club. Ultimately, it is a demonstration that the practice effect and other tricks at improving performance can affect the level of performance.

I have no idea what would be best for you because I do not know your situation in enough detail. I hope you will carry on and realise that practice is a key factor and to keep positive.


#7

Good news you can still be a webdev when you’ve become a QA automation engineer, someone’s got to dig all throughout those divs and forms just to automate stuff