How to teach yourself to code in 6 months

I attended Rob Dey’s class called “HTML & CSS for Beginners” on Monday night. Rob is a self-taught full stack software developer who launched Coder Manual earlier this year. In less than 6 months, Coder Manual has more than 10,000 paying customers learning how to code by using Rob’s lessons, tutorials, and resources.

Rob’s 2-hour class was great. I had learned basic HTML back in the dark ages, but a lot has changed since then, so the evening was a great refresher that reminded me that I don’t always have to hire a coder to handle most of the little changes and customizations to this site or Atlanta Tech Blogs. And the intro to CSS, which I had never learned, was a huge eye-opener.

At the end of the class, Rob explained how he taught himself to code, and provided a pretty simple formula for “being job ready as a new developer in 6 months.” Here’s how he did it, and you can, too.

  1. Check out the job boards. Read 100 Junior Developer job descriptions, and make a list of what skills employers are seeking. What are the most common skills in every job description?
  2. Learn those skills! Here’s where your options are based on your budgets of time and money. An in-person, immersive code school is $8-$15k. If you have that money and 8-16 weeks, go for it. If not, here’s how to teach yourself: for each skill you identified in step 1, Google and bookmark 10 (ten!) different tutorials. Spend 10 minutes using each tutorial, and decide which 2 or 3 you like the best. Then complete all of them.
  3. Fix up your online presence/branding to reflect your skills and knowledge. This means two things: LinkedIn and Github. Linkedin reflects that what you know. Github shows what you have actually done. Build something to demonstrate your skills.
  4. Outreach to actually find a job. For software developers, this task is (or should be) easier than for dumb marketers like me because there’s a ridiculous shortage of software developers on the market today. As you reach out, make sure you get to the bottom of these two points:
    1. Since you’re brand new at this, you want to work with a team where you’ll learn a ton. Find that out in the interview process: “will you be teaching me how to get better?”
    2. Work at a company whose work means something to you. In other words, don’t just take a software dev job just to have a job in software dev. As a qualified developer, albeit brand new and certainly junior, you can be picky because every single tech company in the world needs software developers right now.

There are over 100,000 open software dev positions in the U.S. today. In 5 years, there will be more than half a million open software dev positions. That’s what we call “a seller’s market” and you – software developer – are the seller. Here’s a cool graphic that illustrates this situation, courtesy of code.org.

Thanks, Rob, for a great class, and best of luck with Coder Manual!

 

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