How I Got a Web Development Job (Without a CS Degree or a Bootcamp)

Camila Paleno

May 3, 2022

Getting a job is a particularly daunting task, especially when you feel like you "don't know what you're doing". Thankfully, I had figured out what kind of job I wanted my senior year of college, so the hardest part was done. Now I just needed to get the job. 


I wanted to get an entry level Frontend Development job. The problem: I was three years into a B.A. in Psychology and didn't have the time (or funds) to switch my major. I was seriously considering a coding bootcamp, specifically the coding bootcamp at UCLA. However, I couldn't shake the feeling that there was something off about all of the bootcamps I was looking into. Aside from it being thousands of dollars, the workers would call me nearly every day to try and get me to commit to the program and make the down payment. I'm certain I would've gotten a good education at these bootcamps, but I didn't understand why these companies would be practically begging me to sign up. 


I ultimately made a deal with myself: I would try and learn myself with the resources available for free online, and if I couldn't make something happen within a year, I'd sign up for a bootcamp. I'm so thankful I didn't sign up for that bootcamp. I continue to be amazed at how much I was able to learn just by looking up tutorials on Youtube. I owe people like , , and . my career, and they provide all this information for free! After a couple months of learning on my own, I quickly realized that the way I learn best is by making projects start to finish. This was the most important realization to me and the advice I really want everyone to hear: just start making and learn what you need to along the way. 


I started by making a photography portfolio for myself. I had to literally Google every single thing to get me through this, and the website ended up looking horrible anyways. However, I had my first website. I improved it as much as I could, and then realized I wanted some more projects to work on. I ended up posting an ad on an app called Nextdoor, which showed my ad to people in my area. I offered free services for anyone who needed a simple, static website so I could make it with just HTML and CSS. A couple people responded, and I made a few more static sites this way. Now, I had a somewhat of a portfolio. This made it easier for me to find clients. I just kept making websites, watching tutorials, and asking dumb questions on Stack Overflow and Reddit. 


By the following year, I had a decent portfolio and had been actually charging for my services. I picked up a range of tools depending on what specifically my clients needed, so I now had experience with Squarespace, Shopify, and Wordpress. I also could now code in basic Javascript. I had a strong HTML/CSS portfolio by the end of that year, and tried applying to jobs on Linkedin. A continuing education company called the Neuroscience Education Institute needed an entry level developer to help completely redo their website. They needed someone who could design it as well as code the frontend. I pushed through the intense feeling of "not knowing what I'm doing" and took the job. 


The past 6 months at this company have been amazing, and I've learned so much. Ultimately, I think what got me a web development job with out a relevant degree or bootcamp was building a strong portfolio. That's easier said than done, but there are definitely enough resources online to do it. Just make a website, start to finish. And then make another, and then another. They will get better each time.


Go to my website to see my past and current web development work. Also see useful code for your own website. Feel free to connect with me on Linkedin.

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Go to my website or Instagram to see photos from around the world. Check out my Tiktok for travel tips and inspiration. Also, take a look at my Etsy store to download photo prints.

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