Since completing my bootcamp in March of this year, I’ve been struggling to find a full-time position. We’ll, perhaps that’s more my own perception.
I’ve been volunteering for a local non-profit since February. My scope, at it’s most simplistic view, really focused on the job board and providing technical support and configurations for the word press site.
In June, I began a front-end internship at a local development agency that lasted about 3 months. To be honest, the pay was dismal, but I didn’t care. My goal was to gain experience, and I certainly did. It was my first time working at an agency which meant my focus was on what was best for a client and not the company. So this was a fun experiment for me and I enjoyed the ability to work on a product that fulfilled the needs of someone outside of the organization.
When the internship ended in August, I was excited to continue my focus on front-end, but the job market was severely limited for junior developers. The internship certainly helped me gain confidence in my ability, but didn’t really open any new doors for full time jobs.
I struggled to stay focused and upbeat. Being told 5 times in the past 9 months that I came in second place because the other candidate and more direct experience, was exhausting.
Then began the second guessing. Everyone CAN be a developer but just because I can, doesn’t mean I SHOULD. I felt like I was trying to be everything to anyone who would hire me which meant I wasn’t focusing and building my skill set.
I really wanted to feel connected to my work and I had always enjoyed the simplicity and creativity in my past experiences. What I didn’t realize, is that UX (user experience) design has a big focus on this as well as creating an experience that pleases the user. Heck, I didn’t even know what UX was and thought anything to do with design, was out of my realm since I never took courses in art or graphics. When I looked back at my career, I realized I’ve been building different products for employees and I had been practicing UX principals without even knowing.
In late September, I began talking with the non-profit I’d been volunteering with about taking on more responsibility. I jokingly said, while they were working on 2019 budget, that they should keep a line item in there for me and hire me. One thing led to another and we started talking about a long awaited need to redesign the organizations website.
Over the course of a few weeks, we continued talking about the possibility of me doing some freelance with the organization. I created a proposal for a 3 phase project that included research, design and implementation.
The board of directors accepted my proposal for phase 1 and suddenly, I just closed my first freelance project.
Wait.. what? I’m a freelancer now?!? When did that happen?
At the same time closing this deal, a previous manager from 8 years ago (who I hadn’t spoken to since then) introduced me to a local development agency. Within one week of kicking off the website redesign project, I also signed and started a new opportunity with the agency as an individual contractor. This opportunity provided a 3 month contract with the likelihood of being extended to 6 months.
In the last two weeks, I closed two big deals that allowed me to diversify my earning potential.
Suddenly, it wasn’t one door that opened. It was two doors.