When should you apply for developer job as a self-taught programmer?

Found my first developer job based in The Netherlands three years ago.

As a self-taught programmer, we always want to eventually land a developer job. I can totally relate to that feeling because I went through the exact same emotion journey three years ago when I was still living in The Netherlands as a Chinese. Our time is so valuable that we need to efficiently figure out whether should we continue with our daily coding practice or not. If you already have a full-time job who want to shift career, or you are a full-time student at school who are fasciated with coding, you really want to know A.S.A.P about yourself as a self-taught coder in terms of technical skills level.

When we are student at University, we know when should we leave school and look for job. It’s hard to figure out the exact day to go out searching for developer job as a self-taught programmer. So, in this post, I would love to share the strategy that worked for me totally.

How I concluded that I could become a developer in three months

Although I got my first developer job after graduating from a 6-month FREE coding bootcamp, the crucial part it played was helping me connecting to the company’s HR service. We generally learnt how to code on our own during the program. And I believe it’s very important to leverage any connection you have when you start looking for job. But, in this post, I want to focus on the technical part — whether your technical skills are qualified (or ready for a job) as a professional developer or not in a relatively short period.

Execution: I started looking for job after coding for three months.

I first understood what I can do with coding, such as building a website. And then I decide to pick up the easy path to get into programming: learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. freeCodeCamp is the main resource I used at the first three-month of coding. Nobody tells us, self-taught programmers, when should we prepare our resume and send out our job applications. Sometimes we might feel scared to be judged by the interviewer about our situation, so we end up coding every day for months, even years (let’s call it perseveration). We need to confront the discomfort by talking to the job interviewers A.S.A.P. We couldn’t understand what the companies really want if we only look at their job descriptions (JD) on LinkedIn job page. The most effective and reliable way to know where we are is through our actual job interview process. Once we understand the gap between our current coding level and the requirements from the companies, we could figure out our next step — continuing coding in our old way, or selecting the job demanding topic, building a solid side project for our resume, etc..

What if coding fails you?

In some cases, if you find out you’re totally stuck — having no idea about building a simple application even after three-month coding on your own, you probably consider your choice. I don’t mean that you won’t become a developer if you keep coding. I just mean that coding might not be suiting your very well. That’s also why I write this post about quickly figuring out whether we can become a developer or not in a short-period of our time. I don’t want you to feel regret about learning to code in the past months. It’s a great experience to challenge ourselves by learning something new, but it’s also important to keep in mind that we are probably not capable of everything. It’s OK to fail and stand up to try again and again.


I failed many times at job interview, and the reasons that I didn’t give up is because I knew that I was very capable of coding from my three-month of coding experiment. That’s why I highly recommend you to keep this in mind that quickly get yourself out to face any discomfort from other peoples’ judgements and critics to heading towards your goal!



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