I follow lots of newbie coders on Twitter and it's great to see people get hired after lots of hard work learning to code! I reached out to one such self-taught developer, Lily from Algeria, after I saw her tweet about getting her first job offer as a Web Developer after doing the #100daysofcode challenge. I chatted to her about learning web development and her tips for developers with no Computer Science degree.

Many thanks for the interview! So can you give an introduction for people who want to know more about you?

Hey! I’m Lily, a 23 years old Algerian Biochemist and since a week ago now a Web Developer! I’m keen on studying living things and machines and I’ve been trying lately to combine the two.

So you studied Biochemistry. What got you interested in coding?

I’ve always been drawn to technology! I find it really stimulating to learn new things every day, solve problems in the most optimal way, really, the basic principle of evolution and I wanted to get myself a place in that field. So… I did.

How did you learn to code?

I learned using online resources such as FreeCodeCamp, CodeCademy, The Odin Project and reading books. I committed to the #100daysofcode in December, 2018 and I’ve been coding and learning new things every day ever since.

Congratulations on your first Web Developer job! What are you going to be working on?

Thank you! I’m not supposed to talk about it yet but I’ll be working as an Angular developer on a really exciting project! I’ll be doing things like implementing logic to code and stuff like that in the beginning and I’ll have more important tasks as I go.

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Do you have advice for other learners?

First, learning to code, like learning anything else is not about how much time you commit to coding every day but rather how actively focused you are.

Second, try not to fall into the tutorial hell. Yeah, it’s cool to build an app from scratch, but it’s really important to understand what you are doing while doing so. Try instead to build something you care for, something that makes you excited and makes you want to learn more in order to make it better!

Last but not least, don’t burn yourself out trying to learn it all at once. It’s okay to take hours and days to grasp a concept.

Do you think there was anything that gave you an advantage in your job interview?

Yes, it turned out I applied to the company while they were looking for junior developers - which they did not specify- so that was definitely good for me.

What is the programming scene like in Algiers?

I’m new to it, so I can’t really say. But, from what I’ve seen so far, there’s a lot of competition and a lot of movement. Many people, mostly young, are working on big projects and many others are getting attracted to it.

What are your hopes in terms of your programming career going forwards?

Oh, there are so many projects I have in mind but I have to dig deeper because I really want to combine programming and biology. Right now though, I will be focusing on my current job and learning as much as I can from the people I work with. It’s gonna be an exciting adventure!

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