Turning Programming from Hobby to a New Career
In the end I landed a great job after I completed my study at Launch School
When I first began programming, I bought one of those great big thick books and more or less taught myself PHP. I made things better for myself and those around me--it made me, quite frankly, happy when not much else about life did. I also did it basically for free. When I found Launch School, I had been working on that same app for nearly five years. I had spent a great deal of time researching my options to turn my work hobby into a new career. I was impressed with the content, and the flexibility of the program. I was not disappointed.
Everything I thought I had learned all on my own turned out to be barely a stepping stone. The holes I had unwittingly created in my understanding by self-teaching quickly gaped even wider in their obviousness. While there were a few portions of the curriculum that came more easily because of my prior experience, the vast majority was sorely needed. Most notably in the realm of fundamentals. The foundational curriculum serves to set Launch School far above the crowd. While the other sources I found did well to teach syntax, Launch School sought to impart the concepts that don't change over time — the things that matter the most.
The greatest advantage Launch School has over self-teaching — apart from the content you won't find elsewhere, or the high level TAs to help you along, or the knowledgeable instructors to mentor you — is a path. As I look back on my journey towards independence through programming, everything I did on the path Launch School laid out for me was profitable, and everything I did that wasn't on that path cost me.
In the end, I landed a great job after I completed my study at Launch School. After a brief phone interview and then a longer coding interview, which after Launch School was actually quite fun, I was hired on the spot. Now I work for a small company that builds business process software for our clients. I work primarily as a back end engineer, working with our APIs and interacting with the front end. After a number of unsuccessful hires in the past I appear to be a breath of fresh air for my employer.