Intro to front-end development
Note to non-technical people: contains more technical language than the rest of my story
HTML(5) and CSS(3) were also getting more complex at this time too, which also contributed to front-end development being a real thing. I didn't buy any books on these topics, but I managed to cobble together a working knowledge of these technologies after subscribing to a few weekly newsletters on front-end topics:
These publications are still going strong and are a fantastic way to get curated updates on what's going on in the field.
Silicon Valley and Google
Having lived in Boston my entire life, and now on my way to becoming a full-fledged web developer, I set my sights on moving out to the Bay Area in the hopes of being surrounded by ambitious people, finding a mentor, and developing my skillset even more. My wife and I found a natural transition when she graduated from grad school, and I started applying to jobs. It was my first time looking at new opportunities since I had decided to specialize in front-end development, and because I'd had virtually no guidance in learning this field, I was anxious to see how I'd perform in interviews.
I'd only worked in startups up to that point, but I'd always set my sights on the idea of working for a big company and enjoying free food and other perks, so I reached out to a friend of a friend at Yahoo, who was able to put in a referral for me. I put a lot of effort into my interview and managed to land a job as a front-end engineer on Yahoo Mail.
My tenure at Yahoo was fairly short, however, as a recruiter from Google reached out to me about 6 months after I started. I had always wanted to apply, even when I was still in Boston, but had never worked up the courage. I know it's not a healthy view, but I was fairly content to be someone who had no idea whether he was good enough for Google rather than someone who knew he wasn't. When this recruiter contacted me, I had no more excuses, so I said I was interested and started on a pretty intense interview process.
After that, I went on a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride as I went through several technical interviews with multiple teams over the course of three and a half months. Finally, I got the call that a team had been found for me, and I started a job at Google. And I lived happily ever after…
It's been a pretty intense journey so far, and I'm excited to see where it continues to lead me. Although all developers need to keep learning to avoid slipping into irrelevance, the web is constantly changing, and good front-end developers, in particular, need to really stay on top of their game to keep up with all the new features that browsers release. This can be quite tiring, but it's also cool to see how else we can be enabled to serve our users even better. So I'm pretty much in a constant state of being exhausted and excited at the same time.
In my next and last post of this series, I'll offer a few final tips for people who are hoping to make this transition, both from my own experience and also the opportunities that I've seen spring up during my few years of doing this. Thanks for reading so far!