How to make a career change into the tech industry before leaving college

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College is the time to figure out what you’re good at and who you are as an individual, at least in my experience. I changed my major twice in four years and finally ended up with a career path I found to be enjoyable.

I found a passion for web development and design during the summer of 2017 when I was studying for a degree in multimedia journalism. I was taking a digital audio and video class and our professor had us create a basic website for the content we created in the classroom.

While I already had a WordPress site, I was trying to make my web page look interesting and less like a generic template. I was playing around with plugins but it still did not have the “look” I wanted. My brother, a Java developer, suggested I create my website from scratch, which meant I would have to code it myself. He helped me out by introducing me to the fundamentals of HTML and CSS.

My brother and I spent a full week putting my website together. I designed my layout and he helped me build it and add all my content.

After that, I was hooked.

I decided I wanted to explore the world of web development by taking courses online through Udemy and Udacity. The first course I started was The Web Developer Bootcamp Course with Colt Steele. I still remember those nights staying up late and getting excited when I would figure out a coding problem all by myself!

It wasn’t long after that that I decided I wanted to pursue web development as a career. I quit my job as a public relations specialist to focus on learning JavaScript.

I soon discovered the El Paso community has several resources to offer, including web development classes. Fab Lab El Paso offers classes to people of all ages who want to learn how to code. I took an Intro to Web Development class with them.

In the class, I met very interesting people from different backgrounds, all trying to immerse themselves in the tech industry.

Networking for Tech Success

When transitioning into the tech world, it’s important to make connections with people who have experience. I was fortunate to network with PHP and Ruby developers from Spectrum Technologies, Stanton Street, and Singulution.Even though I’m brand new to the world of web development, these contacts will be important when I have enough experience to work with these companies.

Another tip: it’s important to tell people you are interested in web development or programming. That way, they will remember you when they see there’s a job opening for a tech position. Shortly before I graduated, one of my professors recommended me for a web design position solely on the basis that I told him I was interested in web design. I now get to practice coding and work on web design projects.

Also, adjust your website or portfolio to meet the standards of the position you are applying for. Whether it’s computer programming, information technology, or user experience design, list the skills employers are looking for.

Lastly, and most importantly, learn every day. Becoming a web developer requires learning on your own and solving problems. I worked to make my website better and add content to showcase my skills. I’m also added app development to my repertoire of programming skills.

Just like everything, programming is difficult at first. There will be days when nothing seems to work and you feel like throwing in the towel. Remember to be patient and don’t let your frustration prevail. Soon enough you’ll have learned the in’s and out’s of computer programming and have successfully made your transition into the tech industry.

 

 

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