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How I became a software engineer in Silicon Valley in 12 months

You need real-world skills and you have to learn a lot, reports Tech in Asia

Sean Smith | Tech in Asia 

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

A year ago, I was working part-time as a route setter at a rock climbing gym in Tennessee. Today, I’m working as a at a cybersecurity startup in

My journey to this point has been unforgettable and life-changing. 

My life was falling apart

I had been putting off learning to code for a long time but I knew this was what I wanted to do. Finally, on my birthday in 2016, I committed to learn to code. 

Learning to code

Here it is by the numbers (roughly estimated):

Total duration learning: less than 12 months
Total hours: approximately 2,500 hours
Total projects completed: more than 70
Total CS courses watched: approximately 10
Total GitHub commits: over 1,500
Total lines of JavaScript written: more than 20,000

Arriving in for my first real job search

After arriving in and completing the core curriculum (frontend, data visualization, and backend certifications), I had a brief go at job applications—around 65 or so—but there was literally no response.

My triumphant return to San Francisco

Back in San Francisco, I was almost ready to dive into job applications again. 

Again, the numbers tell the story more eloquently:

Total applications: 192 (including the 65 from 2016)
Total phone interviews: 17
Total take-home code challenges: 6
Total technical screens: 5
Total on-sites: 3
Total offers: 1
Total time to offer: 6 weeks
Success Rate: 0.52 per cent


That one offer was from Trustar Technology, and I have been so happy to join their team. The company is building a platform that allows businesses to share cyber-intelligence data in order to prevent and mitigate

Lessons I learned over the past 12 months

You need real-world skills and you have to learn a lot. That means a lot of hours of work; there’s no way around it, but passion helps.

This is an excerpt from the aritcle published on Tech In Asia. You can read the full article here