High School CS Major to Full-Time FullStack Developer

Hello, my name is Samuel. I’m a 21yo self-taught full-stack developer and I’m about 2 weeks into my first development job in the Aerospace industry as an IT consultant.

Having been held back twice in High School, I felt an overwhelming pressure that pushed me to work hard on learning modern web development strategies & technologies in order to better sell myself to possible employers. So in my spare time, in order to not feel as behind compared to my peers, who were in their second year of university, I spent time working on small projects.

Here in Italy, you pick your major in high school, which is a massive advantage, giving you a head start in your given field. My Diploma roughly reads “Diploma from xyz school, Expert in Computer Science”. Basically, a mini-degree and I’ve learned concepts such as: How computers work down at a bit by bit level, how RAM & HDDs store data, how tasks get scheduled at a low level. I’ve learned a lot of the important networking protocols, such as the tcp/ip stack (& OSI-OSI) which includes learning the fundamental difference between TCP and UDP & symmetric/asymmetric cryptography. I learned to manage networks create subnets, how configure switches using the (cisco)IOS CLI & I’ve programmed in c++, c# & php.

Based on my strong base and fundamentals I’ve decided to skip University on top of the fact that I don’t like heavily structured learning. I’d much rather learn as I go. I prefer official documentation to textbooks on the same subject. And nowadays we have the internet aka the largest repository of great alternative learning sources for devs. Not to mention all the courses being produced left and right on platforms such as Udemy. I’d have no problem filling in the gaps with a course for the more complex subjects. (Such as the big O notation)

While I’m not entirely self-taught, having had such a good base. I, however, believe it to be the end goal of every learning path for developers to become able to self teach yourself. Technologies change constantly and rapidly. If you can’t learn to adapt on your own, you’re screwed.

The reason I call myself a self-taught dev is due to my passion to go more in-depth and learn new things that peaked my interest. In my class, I was one of two (out of 26) who would enjoy doing side code projects in our spare time. And the sad reason for this is because the passing bar was set pretty low in the school. After all its just a high school and it also needs to account for 14yo who made the wrong career choice.

After I graduated High School I officially became unemployed and I started looking for jobs. Two months later (after the national Italian vacation month of august) I started getting some offers. I lived in a small town 1 hour for bologna. Nothing exciting. I wanted exciting. So out of the two promising jobs that I had just got at the time, I picked the one based in Milan. A 4-hour train ride north-west from me in the province of Lombardia. The second-largest city in Italy but first in terms of being the center of most big businesses in Italy.

I now happily work for an IT consultant agency in the Aerospace field, currently working on my first project under very loose supervision from a senior dev. The environment is great. Its a company is full of youthful and passionate faces. I got flexible hours, a cafeteria, a new mentor, a company laptop… but mostly importantly great coworkers. We meet for 10 o-clock coffee break and chat about very nerdy things. One time we were talking non-conventional SQL injections in the form of taping one on to your licence plate or stuff like being the proud owner of the NULL licence plate.

Currently I’m happy, but im not entirely satisfied. I want to start working on side hustles and keep upping my productivity. But I also want to give back to the developer online community. In the form of blog posts with hopes of helping others or inspiring them and soon hopefully some YT videos in the same vain.

If you’ve read this far, thank you.

Feel free to leave me a comment, especially if you’ve also chosen a non-standard path to your career.

Originally posted to Dev.to

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