My Journey from Sales to becoming a Full- stack Web Developer

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Last march I “left” my safe and stable job at the bank and embarked on a journey to become a full stack web developer. I’m not completely new to the tech field, I have previously worked as a Linux system administrator and as a freelance developer for about two years.

While working as a Linux admin, I began having an itch to do something more. So naturally, I taught myself to code in Python. Why Python? well, it’s syntax is fairly straightforward, and there’s a ton of content out there. One of my most exciting projects included a web scrapper that collected data from a bus site(me and my wife like to travel) and notified me whenever tickets were cheap, here is a link to the project’s source code. I also published several articles on Data analysis, here are two of my favorites: Data Analysis with Pandas Part One , and Data Analysis with Pandas Part Two

However, there was something missing from my applications, I wanted my applications to have a nice UI and Tkinter was not getting the job done for me. This is how I ended up in a love/hate relationship with Javascript. Tools like Ionic, NodeJS, and Electron opened the possibility to developing applications purely in Javascript. I was sold on the concept immediately. I began working through the coursework in free code camp, it was hard but equally rewarding. So I kept pushing on, the free code camp community is really supportive and they will keep you going on those hard days where your motivation hits a cold concrete wall.

Fast forward to March of this year, and two big things happened simultaneously. I got a job at a startup working as a Front End Developer, and I got accepted a student to The Knowledge House’s Cross Platform Development with Node.JS program. The Knowledge House is an awesome non-profit that helps people, like me, from low-income neighborhoods in the Bronx achieve their technological related goals.

Within a month of attending class and coding all day at work, a dozen things I learned as a self-taught developer began to connect. All the sudden, my applications began feeling more complete and up to the standard I set out to pursue when I first started. Here is a picture of a Weather bot I’m currently building on my spare time

As my skills grew, I once again began to feel an itch for something more. I was disappointed at the kind of applications I have had been created so far. So while in class I began searching online for app ideas(really original, huh!) after some time searching I grew more and more depressed with the results.

So I decided to switch my approach, I made a list of all the emotional requirements that this app needed to check. The list ended up being only two items:

1) I wanted to give back to the community, and help other self-taught developers.

2) The app had to stand tall next to similar apps on the market.

I narrowed down the list of app ideas to just one, creating an Open Source Agile Development tool, now there are open source agile development tools out there such as Taiga, but they charge you after a certain amount of users. The ones that are actually free, look like crap or have serious bugs in them. The way this app will disrupt the current market is by providing a production level tool that’s free regardless of how many users are on a team, essentially changing the business model in which most of these tools operate on.

The goal of this app is to get rid of an expense barrier for any team out there who’s looking to build an app. I understand the requirements for such an app are high and quite lofty, which is why I decided to name the project Quixotic which is a word that comes from one of my favorite books Don Quixote- if you haven’t read it, please stop reading right now , go to amazon and buy a copy — Quixotic, means “exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical.” this is by definition a Quixotic project, but a necessary one.

The project checked off box 2, of my list of emotional expectations but I was not sure the idea was doing a great job a providing value to self-taught developers. This is when I remembered how hard it was to convince recruiters of the legitimacy of my personal projects when I was applying to jobs. So I concluded that the project would make a great opportunity for developers who wan’t to get their feet in the industry.

We currently have 7 developers working on the project part time. If you are interested in joining the team, you can submit an application here.

and that sums up in a few words, my journey to become a full-stack developer. I will be publishing another article soon that details the royal path to learning AngularJS.