March Is Project Month

Yes, yes it’s the middle of the month and I’m only just setting out my monthly priorities again.

I have a good excuse.  Two, in fact.

Firstly I finished off a very good course on ReactJS.  One thing I repeatedly hear is just how in demand ReactJS is, along with AngularJS, Angular 2 and VueJS (that will be in demand soon anyway).  They are all frameworks that sit on top of JavaScript and all have a similar purpose.  I chose React mainly because it is the most in-demand and seems to have good support.

Part of the reason I am learning it is clearly to make myself more employable.  But also because it will help me make some web apps that I really want to – and React Native is apparently some kind of way to transform it into Android/iphone apps.  Though I haven’t even vaguely looked into React Native so I could just be imagining that part!

Secondly, I’ve been busy applying for jobs.

Last week I becoming slightly disillusioned – everything was very quiet.  But then on Tuesday afternoon, my phone went mental, with 5 calls literally one after the other, I must have been talking about roles for nearly two hours almost non-stop, including one telephone interview.

Out of that burst of activity, I ended up with two telephone interviews and a coding challenge.  One of the telephone interviews led to an interview, as did the coding challenge.  And the aforementioned interview then led to a subsequent coding challenge.  So I was pretty non-stop from Wednesday onwards with interview preparation, coding challenges – and fielding more agency calls – not all wasting my time either for a change, and I am waiting on other possible interviews.

Both were very different junior front-end roles, both were for very different companies.  Both in good central locations on the Metropolitan line.  On the off-chance that I got offered both, it would be a very difficult decision.

I received good feedback from both coding challenges – I believe that both were impressed with me.  As they should be!  I am still waiting to hear from them both.  I feel that I have a decent chance but as ever it depends on my competition – on the previous two roles that I interviewed for that I really wanted, I had done well but was beaten by a candidate with more experience.

I can do brilliantly in the coding challenges and interviews, but if someone else has 12+ month’s experience, or has completed a bootcamp such as Maker’s Academy, or has a real stand-out portfolio, then I may well come second again.  I know that I’m in the upper echelons of candidates for these roles, but I’m not yet in the absolute highest level.

So what can I do to get there?

My focus is now going to be on strengthening my portfolio.

I think I have focused enough on learning new technologies and expanding my knowledge.  I have done enough training courses for now.  It is time to get more practical.

I have a whole list of new projects that I want to do, along with some improvements to existing sites.  19 projects/improvements, in fact.

Firstly I want to finish off the website for my non-existent digital agency, Sunshine Design.  I started it over a year ago, got stuck on some functionality I was adding (rain…don’t ask) and left it.  Now my knowledge is almost exponentially greater than it was a year ago and I believe it is time to finish it properly.  In fact, it isn’t even 20% done so it is more than just a case of finishing!  I need clouds, birds, trees, all kind of stuff.  Who knows, I might even get the odd client from it.

Next I want to create a new WordPress site for my political betting blog.  I am getting quite into placing bets on politics, and have had a few nice winners.  I already have a Facebook page, but I want to build this out into a proper website, using WordPress and, of course, have a section where people can use my commission-based links to sign up to bookmakers – I am always looking for a way to earn a few extra quid!

Then I really want to do a big fat JavaScript project.  The bare bones will be using JSON to print football scores from whatever team and league the user chooses to the screen, with various functionality.  I am going to split it into two pages – one for users and one for coders.  The users will only see what is useful to them.  Coders will see the use of every single JavaScript built-in array method, object method, etc etc that I can think of to use.  Call it a JavaScript user-guide for beginners, but using football scores to make it more interesting.  And I expect to learn plenty on the way.  I have started setting it up here, but it doesn’t work yet so not much point in checking it!

Lots to do and I’m really excited to be doing so.

I look forward to having some more completed projects for my portfolio soon.  Well, unless I get offered one of those jobs in which case my priorities would change.  And I’ve just found out that I might have a 10 hour coding challenge to do for another role that I’m applying for…10 hours!  Yikes.