Regardless of your destination, here is where you are. You have arrived...
From fairytales to Hollywood blockbusters, "the rule of three" (Latin - 'omne trium perfectum'), principle suggests things that come in threes are inherently more humorous, satisfying, and effective than any other number of things.
When, in October 2015, I was afforded the opportunity to start my third career, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Before a search can begin, it must be determined precisely what you are looking for. So first, I determined criteria for my search. My next career should be something:
Available training was also important, expecting that a new career would require some or perhaps many new skills.
So you have some background, this is not my first time to start over. Eighteen years earlier, I had the same opportunity come my way. My first career started at Southern Bell right out of high school, twenty years later I would leave BellSouth because of changes in the telecommunication industry.
My second career started with a Continuing Education Certificate in HVAC from Clayton College and State University. That led to an entry level job as a Service Technician working for a contractor in Jonesboro.
I learned a lot researching because so much has changed. To be honest, I had no idea so many different opportunities existed. One possibility kept reoccurring in my searches, and at first I dismissed it–I did not have any college credentials and thought that would surely be required. After about six weeks of research, a job ‘coding’-building websites, came up often and interested me enough to dig a little deeper.
I took an ‘HTML & CSS’ class at Codecademy but still wasn’t convinced. So I conducted more research. Then I found and took a class, ‘Learn to Code HTML & CSS’ by Shay Howe--I was hooked. Since I had a premium membership at LinkedIn, the courses from Lynda.com were available at no charge. Some courses were organized into ‘Paths’ making it easy to group together classes to take for certain career goals. I got busy and took everything that I thought might be useful.
There are three tabs in the training section that show online courses that I have completed and received a certificate. The majority are from Lynda.com and they are organized and grouped by 'Path'. In Path One: Front-End Developer; Project Coordinator; Soft Skills. In Path Two: Web Designer; User Experience Designer; Graphic Designer; Programmer. In the Courses section you will find an assortment from Lynda.com, LinkedIn Learning and Udemy. All of these contain a brief description and link to the actual courses should you be interested in additional information.
Another great source for online learning is YouTube. I have spent many hours watching, reviewing, and working through the examples and projects from these courses. Occasionally I find an instructor whose teaching style doesn't work well for me, nothing against them, we all experience this in traditional education. Best part is, with all the content available, you simply find another lesson that is better suited to you.
Other options for learning are webinars, ebooks, and blogs. Along the way, I have collected many online courses and books, most free or at little cost. This has provided me with an extensive library to feed my new found thirst for knowledge. The amount of free and inexpensive resources covering coding, development, and design is amazing.
Two items to note:
It was recommended early and often that aspiring developers taking a non-traditional education, blog about their experience. I read many of these and they are quite good. They are also very encouraging for someone attempting the self-taught learning track. Instead of a blog post of my journey I decided to use a portion of my profile to relate my experiences.
I truly believe that it is possible to learn the necessary skills to become a self-taught developer. I do not argue for or against the other ways to learn for they all have their place. Some might not endure the ‘boot camp’ method; some cannot afford the cost of traditional learning at a college. Many others become discouraged and quit the self-taught path.
I still have some training goals to complete, and from what I have seen and been told, the learning goes on forever. Currently I am working on these items that I would like to finish:
The path to employment may make interesting reading for some. More on that as this story develops.