Weeks 26 and 27: The (Job) Search is On

The last two weeks have been a blur but in a good way.

I finished my portfolio revamp, started the Treehouse Techdegree program, and kicked my job search into high gear.

I have been working hard the last few months to make this career change. It is great to finally feel like it is all coming together.

Portfolio 2.0

Several months ago I created a personal portfolio for a freeCodeCamp project.

I was happy with how it turned out given where I was on my coding journey but I always knew that at some point I would revamp it.

With several more projects under my belt and the job search beginning, it seemed like the perfect time to revisit my portfolio page.

My new portfolio would look a lot like my old one but I was going to recode it from scratch. The first time around I used CSS floats for the layout and this time I wanted to go with Bootstrap.

This was my first major project using Bootstrap and it was definitely a learning experience. The main thing I learned is that I love Bootstrap’s grid system but I don’t care for the built-in styles.

The ease and convenience of Bootstrap styles are great but I think they are better suited for smaller projects that don’t need a lot of customization.

I ended up using a combination of Bootstrap styling and custom CSS. In the future, I think I will skip the Bootstrap styles and do all the CSS myself.

Right now I am using GitHub Pages to display my portfolio, which you can see here, but next week my goal is to deploy the site to a custom domain.

That will require learning some new backend skills, which should be fun.

Techdegree Time

After wrapping up some loose ends in Week 25, I finally got started on my Full Stack JavaScript Techdegree from Treehouse.

The Techdegree is based on the normal Treehouse content along with twelve special projects. Having already completed the Front End Developer track, I wasn’t expecting much new content the first few weeks aside from the projects.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out how many new lessons were included in the program.

The course starts with front-end concepts, so there were several sections that I had already completed. But there were also plenty of new lessons on things like choosing a text editor (VS Code all the way!), searching for a job, and ES2015.

Although the time investment was significant, I decided to redo all the JavaScript related lessons. I thought it would be a good refresher and it was. After working through those lessons a second time, I feel much more confident in my JS skills.

I decided not to redo the HTML and CSS lessons. The material is pretty straightforward and I feel good about my skills in those areas.

The first unit culminates in a Random Quote Generator project, which I submitted this last weekend. Having already completed a random quote generator for freeCodeCamp, I thought this project would be a piece of cake but there were still a few challenges.

The biggest challenge was creating a timer to automatically generate a new quote after a period of time. Starting the timer was easy. Getting it to reset when the user pressed the button to manually generate a new quote was much more difficult.

I plan to write a separate post discussing the project but you can see the end result here.

The (job) hunt begins

As cool as ongoing education is, the big news is that I have finally gotten rolling on my job search.

I spent the beginning of Week 26 finishing my portfolio and LinkedIn profile but by Friday I was actively applying for positions.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many openings I found in my area.

There were even more positions available for Full-Stack developers so I am really glad I decided on the Full-Stack Techdegree.

As a new LinkedIn user, I wasn’t sold on the value when I started. Two weeks of job searching later and I am all in.

I am still getting started building my network and exploring the social aspect of the platform but just from a job search and application standpoint alone, LinkedIn should be a must for any job seeker.

That’s it for this week. Come back next week to find out how my second Techdegree project went and how the job search is going.

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Author: Lee

Hi, my name is Lee and I am a 40-something who recently made the decision to become a self-taught programmer. This site was set up to chronicle that journey and my experiences along the way. Feel free to contact me with any comments, questions, or suggestions.

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