My developer journey [Developer Story 1]

My developer journey was not easy in the beginning, but it’s really fun. Probably you have to fail a few times, but in the end, you’ll become better. Don’t give up on your roadmap, before to start being actually a programmer.

The beginning is always hard

I know how hard it is in the beginning, not only in development but even in the real world. You don’t need to be a master from the beginning, sometimes things come more natural, sometimes not. When you learned to ride the bicycle, because it was cool and your friends knew already how to do it, you probably had failed multiple times, you had some injuries, your knees were smashed. But remember how you had felt, when you actually rode the bicycle like a horse, that freedom of feeling, which had made you feel the success, again and again, any time when you rode it again.

My journey as a web developer

I had badly failed at some point at the beginning of my journey as a developer when I tried to pass an internship interview.

I was born in a village, called Glambocata, somewhere near Pitești city, in Romania. I started university in 2013 and at that time, in Pitești were not so many web companies. I tried to reach some of them, for a summer internship.

My skills as a programmer were at that time somewhere under the sea level, I just knew the basics of C and had some knowledge about HTML and CSS. I applied in 3 places: OSF, RoWeb and another company which was more of a suggestion from a teacher.

I tried to fill my CV with some cool stuff that I was involved in Highschool, but not necessarily relevant for that position I applied. Theoretically, that internship should have thought me how to become a web developer, or that was my thought.

My first rejection

I applied at each of those 3 companies, but two of them rejected me and that made me think more about my future as a software developer. I felt that I was not good enough to be part of this world. Probably this is your feeling too or it was. Don’t go there, you should fail first, to appreciate later.

One of the companies, I really don’t know which, didn’t even replied to me and that really sucked. In my head, I only had the feeling that I’m too incapable and my CV is too low for the market expectations.

I moved forward to the second option, OSF, which for me at that time was like a dream. I read about that company and looked very cool and appealing, I saw a lot of opportunities at that time being part of a multinational but were just sweets for my brain.

My first assessment was a mess

I started looking for the registration form on their website and that was the first step. After 1-2 days I received an email with 4 tests about HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP. I was really enthusiastic, but that shiny face disappeared when I started the first one. The assessment wasn’t hard, my knowledge instead was too low. I finished the first two tests and I tried to think for the last 2, but I had some issues and I decided to take those 2 tests again the next day. I finished the assessment, even if my score wasn’t so good.

It’s very important to finish your activities, even if you don’t rank them so well. It’s important for your growth and that increase your motivation for the future. Don’t stop even if your results are under your expectations.

I failed, they replied to me by email, mentioning that I have to improve my programming skills. This was a tough hit for me and my developer journey. Even that I failed, I didn’t lose my motivation, because they looked for more experienced developers or some candidates which can be converted into employees, after the internship program.

The third hit was a success

With all those failures behind, I moved forward to RoWeb, the third option on my checklist and I was eager to know more about them.

I started by sending a simple email about my intention and I got an invitation at their headquarter. We discussed opportunities and requirements and the work started.

How to manage the win situations

I started by reading some documentation and trying exercises on W3Schools, which for me at that time was more than enough. I read, checked the exercises, and at least tried to understand the HTML documentation in the first two weeks. For those which are in the beginning, I let you here this resource Learn HTML Free in [2020] – Basic HTML Codes for Beginners which might help.

The next week I spent it learning CSS and I tried to understand how to use it in the same context with what I had learned in the previous week.

I started that internship with a few other colleagues from university, but our requirements stopped after two weeks because that was the time allocated by the university for the summer internship.

Don’t stop after you succeed

I could have stopped there because my exam was passed, as the majority of my colleagues did, but 2 other colleagues and I asked the company to stay more and they agreed.

  • offgrid shelters project 1
  • offgrid shelters project 2

We tried to go deeper with JavaScript and after that week, we remained just two mentees. The mentor required us to a project, which encapsulated everything that we learned. The task wasn’t very easy because we didn’t know how to cut a .psd. Except of that the design was a little bit tricky. We moved on and finished the tasks. Even if the project was independent, we helped each other when problems appeared.

Below you can see some samples of my project

  • randa nehme project 3
  • randa nehme project 2
  • randa nehme project 1

Choose between opportunities

With your work and struggle, the opportunities will come. Don’t worry if you don’t see them, just wait, the time will come.

Never stop!

We had another meeting with our mentor, Stefan, and we meet another project manager of .NET team. Our mentor was project manager for the PHP department.

They asked us if we want to move to the next level. Because we needed to choose the technology for backend between .NET and PHP. I didn’t know too much about them and the decision was somehow made fast. The curiosity made me ask them a few details about each other and some differences because I have some knowledge about C# and I like it. I choose PHP and my friend Dragoș did the same. At that moment my developer journey started.

As the next steps, we received documentation on W3Schools and old IT magazine, CHIP, which had an exercise to develop a simple book store. The good part was that every explanation uses vanilla PHP and we learned how works behind the scene. The website had a CMS panel, two level permissions for clients and admins, users could buy books, had a shopping cart and the delivery was only by courier.

I learned a lot, I learned how to search and how to filter the results. The company helped us in the moments when we had blockers and that was really cool.

It was a nice experience for the entire summer. After this exercise, we had to replicate it using Codeigniter framework. It was very nice because I was fascinated about how powerful a framework is.

Happy end for my developer journey

As the final stage, I succeed by having a job offer at RoWeb as PHP developer, after 6 months as a volunteer. I worked with some interesting projects there and I learned a lot. My experience in that company encounters a lot of happy stories. But that was just the beginning for my career as web developer.

Don’t stop to dream!

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