Web Development

From Homeless To Self-Taught Web Developer – My Story

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Roughly five years ago, my evolution into web development began. I was living in Houston, TX for the year, far away from my roots in North Carolina. I had moved to Houston to be with my girlfriend at the time, plus the job market there was way better than back at home in NC. I was struggling financially at home so I thought I would have a better chance in Houston.

Unfortunately, not long after I moved I started having a series of bad experiences and things went from bad to worse. My relationship was toxic and spiraling, I was working two part-time jobs that I didn’t hate, but were still very unfulfilling. I was still struggling financially and before I knew it, I was homeless on the streets of Houston. I was at a new low, I had nowhere to go, and every one of my friends and family was far away back in North Carolina.

So now I was trapped, I was working but didn’t make enough money to afford a new place to stay, and I definitely couldn’t afford a plane ticket to go back home. Luckily after a while on the streets, my co-worker started letting me stay with him and his family for a while. I was very appreciative and grateful but I still felt like a bum.

I was having a hard time and reached a crossroads where I was questioning where I was going career-wise. I had worked many jobs in a few different industries, but I never found anything that I connected with, nothing I could be passionate about.

One night, a random google search led me to www.developajob.com, an article on the homepage was about a man who taught himself web development using free online resources and made a successful career out of it. The website goes on to give you a road map on how one could follow the same path.

The thing that initially grabbed my attention, besides the impressive salaries web developers make, was that it said no degree is necessary to break into this industry. All one may need was a decent portfolio of projects showing off the skills you have accumulated.

Though excited at the idea, I was still skeptical, so I researched and found countless sources confirming that it was indeed a real possibility and that many people made it being a self-taught developer. I saved up and bought myself a cheap laptop a couple of weeks later and began learning all the basics of web design and development. I mostly dabbled off and on the first year, but progressively I immersed myself and fell in love with the whole process.

I took this newfound passion and used it productively to distract myself while I was still struggling and working my day jobs. In the next few years, I was very inspired and used every spare moment learning, practicing, and mastering every technology I can use.

I started to become much more advanced and constantly thinking of new ideas for personal projects to build. The only thing I regret is that I wish I would have learned about this industry a long time ago. I knew this was the right path for me, I just had to stay persistent and keep building until I could make a change and find an opportunity to break into the web industry. I knew eventually the hard work would pay off and I would find a company to give me a chance.

UPDATE March 2019: I Landed a webmaster position at a digital marketing agency working on WordPress sites and learning about SEO and marketing. I finally got my foot in the door which has been my first big goal accomplished.

I just want everyone to know that it is possible to become a self-taught web developer and to not to give up when things get hard. Sometimes you feel like you will never get it and that maybe you are not smart enough, but that’s not true. Persistence is key, and when you push through you will look back on those times when you were stuck on a concept and wonder how you ever struggled with something so easy. I have experienced this many times and counting. Remember its a process!

I aim to help aspiring web developers by using my experiences to help them avoid some of the pitfalls I have made in my journey thus far. I am documenting my journey, through blogs, vlogs, and tutorials, to share my knowledge and experience as I go through it. I hope this will encourage newcomers to web development to be inspired and motivated.

Here is my youtube video detailing my story as well:

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  1. That was a great story, I want to do the same! Keep good work!??

      1. This is so much inspiring. I am currently studying front-end web development and I find this site very helpful. Thank you for sharing your story, I can see myself in you. The hard work you have put in it is so inspiring.

  2. Excellent experience and a amazing struggling journey all of readers will get benefit from it and also will learn something till their rest of life which is the persistence and taking into the consideration the ability of reaching the dream and having a new career isn’t hard but only needs a self confident in what we have

    1. Author

      Thank you for your comment! You are right, it takes persistence and practice, along with being confident that you can achieve your dreams.

  3. I found this blog through codingphase.com this is truly inspiring. I’m currently learning sass and reading this was I needed to push forward, congratulations on your job..I’m hoping to be there soon.

  4. What a great piece… I am really inspired. Please may I know how old you were when you started learning web development. I have always had this desire to learn web development but have not really shown seriousness. I am 41 now and I want to give it all it takes. Hope it’s not late for me?

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