Coding Journal

Jordan Vidrine

Daily Coding Journal

A Self-taught coder from the Cajun Prairie in rural Louisiana, currently working as a designer for Discourse.

I am always trying to better myself, and do so through learning new skills, trying out new routines, traveling, and pouring energy into hobbies. Since 2014, I have been recording, editing, and producing my own music under the name Skies Speak.

April 6th... it's been awhile!

I started this journal to document my learning progress throughout the course of 2019. The entire goal of my learning was to eventually get a job as a web developer for a company that I could feel good about working for, or to put time in at a company that would eventually get me to that goal.

The path

From Jan 2019 through November 2019, I put in about 18-24 hours of learning a week into Full Stack Web development. I used lots of free resources in the beginning like Free Code Camp, CodeCademy, Watch and Code, among others. After learning what I could grasp from those sites, I moved onto paid courses through Udemy.

During the time spent learning, I also joined a couple local developer groups and would attend meetings when I could, as well as interact with other members through their corresponding slack channels. In this I felt connected to a larger network of information from experienced developers.

Applying to jobs

Around November of 2019, I began the arduous task of finding ‘Full Stack Web Developer’ roles that I felt like would be a good fit for me and applying to them.

My wife and I had settled on leaving Louisiana, in hopes of landing a position with a company where I could learn and be mentored for 2-3 years before seeking out a remote position. The reason for this departure from my original goal was based on advice of multiple developers, as well as a lack of momentum on my applications to these types of positions. I was told that it was possible, but I was searching for a Unicorn (which I personally referred to as a Shiny Ponyta.)

The longhaul

At this stage I was in a place where I had done all I knew I could do to the best of my ability, the achievement of my goal was now in other people’s hands. It took a bit to wrap my head around this and not let the rejection I was experiencing get to me. Every couple of weeks I would hear back from a company who wanted to go further with an interview or assessment. These were super inspiring to me, whether they led to a position or not.

Once the new year rolled around, I could not get the thought out of my head that I wanted to actually seek remote work, regardless of what I had been told and was experiencing. Call if faith, ignorance, or a little bit of both. Something in me stirred up a passion for landing a remote position, so I began to apply. Not only did I apply, but I emailed, I called, I sent an ungodly amount of LinkedIn messages — I even drove 3 hours to meet a hiring manager in person without an appointment to hand deliver my resume in order to stand out.

And then… nothing.

A glimmer of hope

It was at this point, late in the evening after a month of either rejection, or no response, when I stumbled upon something that surely had been a mistake.

It was a 1.5 month old job posting for a remote Designer position for Discourse. Surely this role had been filled right? Maybe they forgot to take the job off their careers section?

I started to research the company a bit and had realized I used their services in the past. It was a discussion software that groups or companies could use to faciliate conversation and interaction among their members or users. They valued the paragraph over the sentence. Long form discussion, over ephemeral chat.

THESE WERE MY FAMILY!

I applied, not really thinking it would amount to anything, and less than three days later I got a response.

Hi Jordan, I like the mix of experience in your portfolio. Is there anything about Discourse specifically that caught your interest?

I had to contain my excitement and respond like what I thought a proffesional adult would respond. After some back and forth, it was decided, all within a couple of hours, that I would work on a trial project with them.

The trial

By the next literal business day, I began working on a custom theme for their site that would showcase my skills in design, as well as my ability to fit in and interact with the team. The first two days were pretty tough, mostly because my computer was not cooperating with the programs and things I needed to install in order to start the work.

But after that initial hurdle, things went very smoothly and my design was turning out as I had planned. I enjoyed the process as well as the communication I was having with the team. By the lasy day of that week, I had for the most part finished the design. I was planning on being finished before 5PM so I felt like, once again, my fate was in anothers hands.

While taking a break and going through my email, a new one from Discourse had popped up.

Hey Jordan, everyone on the team is liking your work on the trial project… you have a good mix of skills — so we’d like to hire you!

I’m not even going to lie here, I cried a little bit of happy tears. I told my wife and she cried a little bit of happy tears. We hugged, we jumped up and down, we thanked God — At this point, I realized that I had found my SHINY PONYTA. I could not contain my excitement / disbelief / shock / all emotions.

I typed up a response of acceptance and for the next week felt like I was surely living in a dream. I used the next week to transition out of my role at the company I was with and tie up the loose ends of my leaving the business I had been with for 6+ years.

On February 3rd, 2020, I started my position as a Designer with Discourse and have enjoyed every minute I have worked thus far.

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