October 06, 2023 — 11 min read
How Miraya Landed Her First Programming Job at 19
Miraya is a fullstack developer who went from learning to code at 17 to landing her first programming job at 19.
Hello, I'm Miraya, a 20-year-old full-stack developer. Thanks to my brother, I discovered my passion for programming in 2019 when I was 17. Since then, I've been in love with using my creativity to build things for the web.
It all began when I visited my brother's room and saw him in front of his laptop with a monitor full of code. Out of curiosity, I naturally asked, "What's going on with your computer?" That's where everything started. I began learning HTML and CSS. In 2019, I didn't think about working as a software engineer. I just built websites for fun. It was fun because I had so much power on the front end, being able to create different things.
Around June 2022, I observed how my brother was living his life as a software engineer. He told me about his high pay, the fun he had at work, his happiness in making customers happy, his great team, constant learning, and more. This inspired me to decide to start working as a front-end developer. It became a dream and goal I was chasing.
Afterward, I started applying for jobs. I applied to around 20 jobs every day, focusing on quality applications. The most crucial part was getting my first job offer to gain experience as a software engineer. I achieved my goal of becoming a developer through persistence, self-discipline, and commitment. In November 2022, at 19, I landed my first job as a software engineer in Germany.
I was a junior front-end developer at "Check24 Vergleichsportal" in Düsseldorf. I worked closely with the product team to create new and exciting features. We used technologies like Next.js, TypeScript, Styled Components, Sass, Storybook, Pact, and Ladle. These features aimed to make the vacation accommodation booking platform work well on different devices. I also used BrowserStack to simulate how the platform would look on mobile devices. This helped us better understand how it would perform. In addition, I used Pact to create agreements about how different parts of our platform should work. This made testing and development much smoother. I'm experienced in working in a Kanban environment, which is a way of managing tasks. I'm good at managing tasks and working well with a team to make things run smoothly.
Working full-time as a software engineer differed from what I had initially imagined. It was not just about coding but also about working in a team, attending meetings, familiarizing myself with various productivity tools for coding, and adopting a customer-first mindset. I faced numerous challenges. Initially, I found understanding how the project was organized and structured difficult, making it hard to start coding. Code reviews were also new to me, and I struggled with them initially. Working with tickets was another challenge, as it was challenging to grasp the context of each ticket and where it fit in the system. Looking back, I would ask more questions without worrying about asking too many. As someone new to the field, I reminded myself not to overthink or stress out. To strengthen my skills and self-improvement, I kept an engineering diary, documenting my workdays to track my daily progress, areas for improvement, what I learned, and what I would do differently.
Outside work, I woke up every day at 3:00 AM to learn on the side. I took a course on code reviews, watched YouTube videos on common mistakes beginners make in the software field, and learned tips for improving in the software industry. Additionally, I built projects using our work technologies, which helped me learn them faster. Waking up early was crucial for finding time for learning, given that my office was quite far from my home.
This is where I also started posting on social media, particularly on Instagram. I began to share my journey as a software engineer with the world. It became a platform to showcase my progress, the projects I was working on, and the challenges I faced. Sharing my experiences on Instagram allowed me to connect with other developers and enthusiasts, learn from their feedback, and inspire those who were also on their journey into the world of software development. It was a rewarding experience to learn from others and give back to the community by sharing my insights and knowledge. Social media became an essential part of my growth as a developer, and it's incredible how it connected me with like-minded individuals worldwide.
Later, my family and I moved to a new house even further from the office, which prompted me to search for a new remote position. While still working, I searched for a new job. Working at Check24 was a valuable learning experience.
After ten months, I landed another job, working fully remotely as a full-stack developer at Viind GmbH. I'm currently working on creating an advanced communication platform with AI support to digitize society and make it accessible to people worldwide, regardless of their location or background. The goal is to simplify communication across various industries, districts, and municipalities, enabling city digitization efforts to benefit from the technologies we provide to streamline communication.
Now, I'm working at a great company and remain continuously eager to learn and grow. I also continue to share my journey on platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn. It's fantastic to see how software has empowered us as human beings to accomplish so much. It's a reminder of the endless possibilities in the ever-evolving world of technology.
Before gaining work experience, I focused on making my resume concise and easy to read, showcasing a wide range of projects – usually around 5 to 9 – to demonstrate my practical skills. After gaining experience, I highlighted my role at Check24 and ensured that my skill set was well-documented. I personalized each application for the company I applied to, by researching the company's unique aspects and expressing why I wanted to work there. I often addressed my applications directly to the CEO or tech lead, not just HR. This personalized approach led to my success, even landing me a job at Viind GmbH.
How was the transition from imagining the life of a software engineer to living it? Were there any surprises?
The transition from imagining a software engineer's life to actually living it was eye-opening. Initially, I expected it to be all about coding, but I soon realized it's a multifaceted discipline. It involves collaborative teamwork, complex problem-solving, meticulous test-writing, and a deep understanding of a company's domain. I was surprised to discover that effective software engineers need to excel in project management, version control, and adapt to evolving technologies while maintaining a strong customer focus. The reality of the role goes beyond just writing code.
Working remotely has been a significant change from my in-office experience. With remote work, I enjoy a more flexible schedule and don't have to rush in the morning to commute. While commuting to the office took up valuable time and energy, remote work has given me the freedom to tailor my work environment to my preferences, resulting in a better work-life balance. Communication within my remote team is excellent, and I've found that working remotely can foster strong connections and teamwork, contrary to common misconceptions.
As someone who started coding at a young age, what advice would you give to older individuals interested in learning to code?
My advice to older individuals interested in learning to code is simple, age is just a number in this field. There's no such thing as being "too old" for coding. I've heard inspiring stories of people in their 30s and 40s starting to code. Just start – the need for software engineers is constant, and it's never too late to learn. Whether you're pursuing a career change or simply a new skill, it's entirely achievable.
Continuous learning is the most critical resource for my growth as a full-stack developer. I've made it a habit to learn every day, especially outside of work. My brother, who is a senior full-stack developer, has been an invaluable mentor, providing guidance and support. I've also set clear goals and roadmaps for my learning journey.
Social media, particularly platforms like Instagram, has played a significant role in my growth and networking within the tech community. Sharing my experiences and projects on social media has connected me with fellow developers and enthusiasts worldwide. It's not only a source of inspiration but also a platform to learn from others and give back to the community. Building a presence on social media has enriched my journey as a developer and expanded my network.
If you're just starting your coding journey, my advice is to learn with honesty and patience. Don't skip over concepts or topics that you find challenging; instead, revisit them until you understand. Consistency and discipline are essential – make coding a regular part of your routine. Seek help and support when needed, whether from online communities or individuals you know. Start building projects early; practical experience is crucial. Lastly, believe in yourself and avoid comparing yourself to others. It's a journey of self-improvement, and everyone progresses at their own pace.
Huge thanks to Miraya for making the time to share with us her experience. Be sure to follow her on her social media platforms. If you enjoyed this article then you'll surely enjoy the newsletter. If you haven't already, consider dropping your email so you don't miss out when we drop a new article. Keep debugging!
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