Here are some ideas on how to break into tech without having a Computer Science degree.
The following tips are things that worked for me. Depending on where you live and your skills, some advice might not work.
But maybe these tips will still give you some ideas.
Document Your Learning
Write a blog, create a YouTube channel or publish a podcast. Put your notes on GitHub.
This habit has two benefits: it helps you to learn better, and it also shows future employers that you are putting in the work.
Don’t forget to use Git and GitHub to show your code.
The best way to learn about the tech industry is by talking to people already working as developers.
You can ask questions, find out what you need to know to get a job in your area, find folks who talk the same “language” as you.
You also expose yourself to new technologies, as most Meetups feature a tech talk.
You might be interested in giving a talk. The organizers are always happy if someone volunteers, and you don’t have to be an expert. A talk from a beginner’s mind is also valuable.
Build a Good Portfolio
A website that showcases some good-looking projects makes a good impression. Spend a little time on the looks, but don’t neglect the code either.
If possible, don’t use a cloned copy from an Udemy course. At least adjust it slightly, add more functionality, improve the UI, etc.
Josh Comeau has free ebook on Building an Effective Dev Portfolio.
Know What You Want
I knew I wanted to become a salaried employee, not a freelancer.
There are also other concerns for a job: commute time, team size, how the company is organized, diversity, what kind of work you’ll be doing, expectations for overtime, and so forth.
For web developers, do you want to work in an agency or rather a product-based company? Most of the time, the agency takes on new client projects.
That means, you’ll have the chance to work on different domains and probably with newer technology (“greenfield” projects).
With product-based companies you’ll work on parts of the product for a long time, maintaining and updating it constantly. This kind of work offers different challenges and rewards.
Think about what you would like to get out of “getting a job as a developer”. It needs to be a good fit for you, so that you can do your best work.
Apply For Jobs Even If You Don’t Meet All Requirements
Most job boards show a “wishlist” of what the employer (or recruiter) wants. You’ll most likely don’t fulfill all requirements.
Most asks are not hard limits. You will get a few rejections for sure, but if you have a solid cover letter and portfolio you can mitigate the missing requirements.
As an example, having no Computer Science degree does not automatically disqualify you from a job.
You Might Not Need to Do Whiteboard Challenges
I was very nervous about having to solve algorithm challenges. It’s not something that I enjoy, and I did not prepare for it.
After the first few interviews I realized that whiteboard coding challenges are rather uncommon here, so I’m glad that I didn’t spend my time on preparing for things that I did not need.
I suggest to get a few job interviews to see how the interviewing process works in your area.