It took me years to build up my skillset to feel comfortable applying for web development jobs. Looking back I am sure I could have landed a job so much earlier then I did. I encourage everyone who aspires to work in this industry to start applying for jobs as soon as they have just a few decent projects on your portfolio. It is easy to get discouraged in the beginning when you keep applying but never hear anything back. Stay persistent and remember that Its truly a numbers game.
After almost 4 years of teaching myself web dev part-time, I finally landed a Webmaster position with a digital marketing firm. This company builds its clients websites mostly using WordPress. We also handle SEO and marketing among other things. Needless to say, I was excited to be in the industry, regardless of what I would be doing. It just so happens that I have been dying to learn SEO and digital marketing anyway, so landing this job was perfect for me on many levels.
My First Day..
On my first day, I woke up super early, fueled on pure excitement and anticipation. The company is located in the city about 35 minutes away from my home. As I drove closer, the excitement was met with a mild sense of nervousness. Many things raced through my mind, fleeting thoughts of self-doubt and wondering if I would be able to fulfill all the tasks they might ask me to do. I quickly shook it off as I remembered this is an entry-level position, they already know my skillset, and I’m very good at finding solutions to problems.
As I walk in the front door I am greeted by the lead programmer and he leads me to my office where I will be working. I have a cool little setup with a single monitor hooked to a mac mini system. He then started giving me the rundown of what programs they use to communicate with each other within the office and what accounts I needed to create. After getting all my login info, the first few hours were just getting all my necessary accounts set up, starting with my work email.
Next, I had to fill out the normal paperwork just like any job, tax forms, direct deposit, etc. After I finished that, they gave me my first task. It was just some simple CSS adjustments for one of their WordPress websites. Even within the first day I started learning about how to write custom CSS for different WordPress themes, and believe it or not, sometimes you have to fight with WordPress to get all your styles to work correctly.
The next day I learned about writing blogs for client websites. I got a crash course in SEO and started putting it to work immediately. I took notes and made sure I understood everything I was told. After working on these blogs for over half the day I finally got to do a little web design and started creating layouts for the internal pages of a company’s website. I very much enjoyed this and learned so much in the process. It’s true what they say, you learn so much more while working for someone doing different projects compared to just following tutorials.
This was my last day of the week, as they started me off on part-time hours just for the first couple of months. I quickly started getting more hours after only a couple of weeks. On this day I got to spend the whole day populating websites and creating layouts. The client sends us the content and we transfer it over and with either their own images or using stock images. I had so much fun during this process. This is probably my favorite task out of anything I have done here so far.
I am being 100% honest when I say that this is the best job I have ever had in my life. I have never looked forward to going to work in the morning as I do now. Every day I get to do what I love, and I get to level up my skills all while getting paid for it. I know this is only the beginning of my journey, but I am loving every second of it. I write this only to inspire you guys, and to show you that if you work hard you can find your dream job too. Put in the work every day, be persistent, and grow your skills every chance you get.
This industry is the future and web development is a tool that can bring you a fulfilling career, and overall higher quality of life. There is a low barrier to entry but I feel it is slowly getting harder to get into. I would suggest trying to get into this industry as soon as you can. Learn the skills and make it happen, you won’t regret it!