Hello, Ivan🙂 Could you please introduce yourself a bit more?
My name is Ivan, I was born in Khabarovsk, in Russia. I am a 30-year old programmer. I moved to Moscow in 2014 and now I live here. I am currently working as a web front-end developer for a Russian company.
Why did you start programming and who has influenced your IT career the most?
I have always been interested in how technologies are developing in the modern world, watching digital technologies from the outside, quickly entering our lives. I was very keen to understand this. But like many, I did not know how to start. I realized that I was far behind the modern world trends and I wanted to get on track. I have a friend who worked as a programmer. We had a conversation and I told him about my interests. He showed me his work, told me about this web development area, and said that becoming a programmer is not tricky. He helped me find a suitable online programming course.
What did you do for a living before you became a developer?
I worked as a surveyor engineer at the Moscow metro’s construction site in the company engaged in contract work. I was not too fond of the job and work conditions. It was very unpredictable.
How did you get into programming? What motivated you to learn something new?
I started taking an online course, “Web programming from a basic level”. I discovered some websites where I could read the documentation about modern approaches, website creations, and coding. At first, it was HTML and CSS basic stuff. I tried to read the documentation additionally to understand the terminology. I was working on a construction site throughout the day and learning scripts during the evenings. Then I moved to Georgia, where I worked as a trainee in a freelance team and at the same time, was engaged in self-education. I spent 10 months in Georgia and managed to work for a Georgian company. I also watched YouTube channels and interviews with programmers. They talked about their work, experiences, and this motivated me to work even more challenging.
Each step on a career path can bring new expectations and obstacles to overcome. What challenges have you faced?
Since there was a lot of information on the Internet, it was difficult for me to filter it. It was not always clear to me how relevant and up-to-date the material or information was. It took me a lot of time to search for reliable and high-quality sources.
The 6 most common reasons why employees quit their jobs:
- a job that’s not fulfilling their desires
- they’ve reached their goals and did the best in their current job
- they have lost their job or are at risk of being laid off
- they are frustrated to see no other meaning in their work or having a job that contradicts their values
- they are overworked or close to a burnout
Do you agree with these reasons above?
Yes, especially this one – frustrated to see no other meaning in their work or having a job that contradicts their values. Personally, it seemed that my work did not make any sense. It wasn’t just that it was physically demanding, it was mentally a tough match, too. Construction work took a lot of time, solving engineering problems in any weather, leaving no energy for a hobby. I had almost no free time. Also, I did not feel that my work was financially appreciated enough.
It’s never too late to start anew – how would you encourage someone who is afraid to take a step forward?
You can always start learning something new and it will even be useful for one’s development. In general, watching video interviews and stories of experienced programmers about their profession, daily tasks, listening to their impressions of work. This helped me to conclude whether I want to do this or not.
Do I need a certification to get a programming job?
I started taking paid online programming courses. I watched the video tutorial, then did my homework. Homework was checked by a mentor assigned to me. But in the end, I did not go through with the courses. I ultimately passed only two, and by that time, I was already working as a front-end developer. I began to look for information in other sources since some courses were not enough. The certificates were not very useful to me, and no one asked me for them when applying for a job. I believe that now there is a lot of information on the internet and there are also some good free programming courses for both beginners and those who want to grow further. But if you have specialized education in programming, then it will be useful. I would say you need to have a portfolio more than certificates.
People tend to believe that to achieve success, you should be crystal clear about your goals and have some long-term career vision. What do you think about it?
Another thing that might discourage some of the programmers -wanna-be-s is the claim that besides the time they would also need to invest quite a lot of money into learning. Is that true?
Do you need a lot of financial investments? I think not. The main thing you have to invest – is your time. You need to devote a lot of it and give up your old habits. I would not recommend buying courses or expensive books. There is a lot of information available. This is enough to graduate to a junior developer position and get a job as an intern. In the company, you will see the whole process from the inside and then decide if your expectations correspond with things/processes you can see in your new job. If everything suits you and you would like to continue, you can read more complex literature or study for advanced training.
So, what about your actual programming job, do you like it?
I am delighted with my new job. I was able to meet new exciting people. I looked at how this industry works from the inside. Thanks to my new profession, I can work from home or the office of my choice. I have more time for my hobbies, it is much easier for me to make plans, which was very difficult in my previous job.
Which programming language did you start from as a beginner? What skills/languages would you like to improve?
The advantages of my work are the ability to work anywhere with only a computer and the Internet, as well as the opportunity to work in the IT industry, which is developing very quickly. If you like digital technologies and IT, then you will be comfortable here. Also, I would include the fact that you do not need to have many connections and acquaintances to become a good programmer. You need to have the knowledge and continuously develop it.