Kass went from a Web Content Administrator to Software Developer in just two years. She shares her story of learning to code and doubling her salary. Keep reading for tips on getting started with coding, learning in public and getting hired as a developer.
Hey, so can you introduce yourself?
Hello!!! My name is Kass. I am a software engineer and live in Houston Texas.
Why did you learn to code?
I learned to code because I was always interested in being able to make something out of nothing. And I was always incredibly curious about how it all worked behind the scenes.
How did you learn coding?
To learn to code I started with the edx html and css course. I would also practice by using the old http://www.csszengarden.com/ website and try to make that website in as many ways as I could. Then I moved on to Colt Steele's Web Developer Bootcamp from Udemy and then Advanced CSS and Sass: Flexbox, Grid, Animations and More! by Jonas Schmedtmann. Also anything by Dev Ed is always helpful.
How did you go from Web Content Administrator to Front End Developer?
My journey from Web Content Admin to FE Dev is a pretty crazy one. Getting started with web dev was a little tricky. I had had about 3 failed interviews (with 2 very rude people) that when I finally got my Web Content Admin job I was so happy that I cried. I thought I made it. That was my foot in the door and I was golden. Then what followed was me getting very complacent. I stopped trying to learn since I knew just enough to be good enough at my job.
I would say that there were 2 main catalysts for my journey to FE Dev:
- My manager asked me to add a super simple animation to a landing page. This took me a day and I ended up getting lost so I had to ask for help. I hate asking for help.
- The pandemic. Everything changed with the pandemic. Suddenly I had so much extra time since we all had to work from home. No more waking up early to get ready to go through the morning commute and get stuck in traffic coming home.
So since those 2 things happened around the same time, I decided I would spend my extra time learning a little bit more about animations. I revived my old Twitter account and started looking at tech twitter. Ran across a post with the hashtag #100daysofcode that piqued my interest. I decided I would start with that. It seemed simple enough… code for 100 days straight. No matter how big or how small. Just code and post about it.
This was one of my first tweets (not sure what happened to my day 1).
I had no idea that that one tweet and one small decision to start posting my code would change my life forever.
I finished my 100 days of code. I actually probably did way more than 100 days because sometimes one post would take me days to finish. It was a wild ride that started with about 5 followers slowly increasing every time I posted something new.
After finishing my 100 days of code, my skills had increased tremendously. I mean…. It’s insane tbh. I am not even close to the same person I was 10 or so months ago.
And during work I would volunteer to do extra things and turn in websites with extra razzle dazzle (for lack of a better term). My manager was very impressed. From there I was able to be confident enough in asking for her to review my current position and see if I could get a raise (I got it). She also suggested changing my title to Front End Dev and I agreed.
Congrats on doubling your salary just now! How did you upskill for the Software Engineer job?
Upskilling from FE Dev to Software Engineering was actually a lot easier than moving from Web Content Admin to FE Dev. Since finishing #100daysofcode I promised myself that I would not allow myself to get complacent ever again. I wanted to do everything better and to always be learning and moving forward.
I took on more projects for work and volunteered to do extra. One of the extra’s was coding a calculator. I ended up posting that calculator on LinkedIn which got the attention of a recruiter. She had seen me around before because one of my #100daysofcode posts had made it back to her before so she knew who I was.
She offered me an interview for a Software Engineer position.
How has your life changed since learning to code?
I am way more confident. I am also so much happier. I feel like I was always just meant to do this. Work isn’t work. It’s actually super fun (90% of the time).
What does a typical day as a software developer look like for you?
I cannot fully answer this right now as I am still so new but currently I am trying to learn React ASAP. The stack is ReactJS and Node so far. I am also currently learning Figma to create a mockup for a dashboard.
What was the interview process like for your first developer job?
I have been very lucky with some interviews. The one for my first dev job was in 3 parts:
- Over the phone screening
- Face to face meet
- My would be manager sent me a Photoshop file of a mockup and asked me to create it in code and send it to her. This was relatively simple but my anxiety kept me up until 4am making sure it was absolutely perfect.
What are your career goals for the future?
My future goals are to just learn as much as I can. I feel like a video game character forever trying to level up. I see people doing so much around me and I want to learn it all.
I also want to eventually create my own CSS course. I am very big on CSS Art and have had many people reach out to me for guidance on their CSS journey. I would like to help them. I just need to find the time.
In the meantime you can follow my journey on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/KassandraSanch
I have a lot of my work up on my website as well here: https://www.cssartist.com/