This week’s coding journey is from Stefanni who is my fellow indie hacker and a self-taught developer. Even though Stefanni faced many rejections from job hunting at the beginning, She kept reminding herself the reasons why she wants to be a developer. Read on for the full journey below!

Please introduce yourself

Thanks for having me, Namwa!

I’m Stefanni. I’m from Brazil but I live in Vancouver, BC. I’ve been working with Rails for the past 4 years and I love being part of the Ruby community.

I’m currently working on starting my entrepreneurship journey. Ever since I got interested in learning how to code (almost 8 years ago!!) I’ve wanted to make an impact with my work.

What was your background before learning to code?

I have done lots of things! I graduated in Portuguese & French Literature, and I thought I would work as an academic professor. Shortly, I realized that path wasn’t for me.

I had worked as English & French teacher, translator and academic content writer before working as a software developer.

What got you interested in coding and how did you learn to code?

When I was in my 2nd year of college, I won a scholarship to study at the University of Coimbra (Portugal) for 2 years.

There, I met a Brazilian friend. She was doing a Master’s in Computer Science and she was the first person who I knew that had a technical background.

She motivated me to study HTML & CSS classes online. That’s how I got started! Learning the basics of Codecademy.

When I got back to Brazil, I went back to college to get a Computer Science degree. I wanted to have a technical degree and get lots of experience to get a job abroad as a software developer.

I dropped after 1 year because my husband got a job in Vancouver, and I also got a job here without a degree. I learned web development by doing tutorials, tiny projects and having mentors.

How did you get your first job in tech?

I participated in a lot of local Rails communities! Of course, with the pandemic, this changed a bit but it’s not impossible. It brings you more international opportunities, you have to get creative.

Choosing what language you want to work with is a good way to get started. I started attending Ruby events, writing on my blog, being a coach at the rails girls workshops, etc.

That’s exactly how I got my first job at one of the best fintech from Brazil. I was talking to the CTO of one of the sponsoring companies at one of the rails girls workshops.

How did you prepare for an interview?

I’d first draw the problem on paper. Then, I’d think of ways I could architect it. Only when I had the models, controllers, views in mind I started coding the solution.

I purchased Rails to give me confidence about the standards, so I could at least be able to mention what my gaps were.

When I got to the personal call, I liked to ask lots of questions! How does the team(s) work? Do they follow any dev practices like TDD, pair programming? Do they have any mentoring in place? Things that were important to me.

I have to say it was super hard to get lots of no’s and I took them personally, in the beginning. But doing interviews is like coding. You have to practice and you get better every time you put yourself out there.

Any obstacles that you have to overcome in learning coding?

I got the biggest lesson from this experience: I can learn anything as long as I remind myself of why I’m doing it, and why it’s important to me.

I had to learn how to be okay with rejection, impostor syndrome, lack of confidence.

I also had to learn how to get unstuck, how to plan from getting to a to b, and how to ask for help!

Tips for newbies?

If you’re changing your career, you likely already have some skills in a given industry. Take leverage of that, and add your coding skills to it.

You might end up building something for yourself or working with higher duties because you’re the technical person in a non-tech environment, for example. This is super valuable and can open up lots of opportunities for you. Plus, you’ll get experience with coding and a portfolio without quitting your job.

Also, get inspired by people who have done what you want to do. But don’t compare yourself. Everyone has their path and experiences. Always compare yourself with your past self, and celebrate your tiny wins often!

What is your plan for the future?

I’m working on building my own profitable online businesses. I love taking ideas out of paper, thinking of the technical requirements, planning, and making them happen.

I plan to get to ramen profitability soon with my projects :)

If you want to learn more about coding and changing careers, you can find out more on my blog.

Thanks for sharing your coding journey with me, Stefanni!

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