Full-Time Developer in just a few months: Zero To Mastery case studies

Andrei Neagoie

Photo by Scott Webb

A lot of people are realizing that being a software developer and knowing how to code allows you a lot of freedom in your life because of the high demand and high salaries around the world.

But you can’t possibly learn software development from scratch in a few months can you? You need a computer science degree… right? You need to be good at math… right? While I can see where this type of thinking comes from, challenging the status quo and accelerating your learning without going to a 4 year program, or an expensive bootcamp is very possible! Here is one way to learn to code and get hired for free in 5 months (I know this works because this is the exact path and steps I followed myself!).

There is now a growing community of developers who are taking matters into their own hands and teaching themselves how to code. With a course like The Complete Web Developer: Zero to Mastery, it’s safe to assume that we attract a fair share of skepticism. However, 100s if not 1,000s of students have done the same thing: getting hired as developers by putting in the work, learning efficiently and focusing on things that matter and taking advantage of the amazing, high-quality resources that now exist online.

In many cases, the material from bootcamps like Zero To Mastery Academy and many others is more up-to-date and higher quality than most University programs and traditional bootcamps.

This leads me to this article, which I thought would be the perfect opportunity to showcase 4 students who went from "Zero to Mastery" to become full-time software developers and what you can learn from them.

You can skip to the Case Studies section if you are impatient, but if you’re still curious, keep reading…

Why write this? A few reasons…

  1. To challenge the status quo, and showcase the fact that accelerated learning is possible, even in software development.
  2. To showcase the commonalities between these people. Hint: daily practice and especially deliberate practice is a theme.
  3. To show people, that contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have a background in computer science prior to becoming a developer or to pay for an expensive bootcamp (the first person we will showcase was a high school teacher).

I hope the below individuals will inspire you while also giving you some extra tips on how to succeed if you are or are looking to go down this path.

By the way, you can see many other success stories from Zero To Mastery students here or if you’d like to submit your own profile to be highlighted, please [use this form](https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfVfFce0zxn0WrgTiLuRsB-JGYeqrHgrGvE03K99tCsywijQ/viewform)_

Case Studies

1. Jacinto Wong - jacinto.design, LinkedIn

What were you doing for work before you took this course?

I was a high school teacher at a private school. I had a few years of part-time graphic design experience, mostly laying out newspapers, magazines, and yearbooks.

Why did you take this course?

I left my job a few months earlier because it was feeling like a dead end to me. I’ve been interested in technology for the last 25 years and wanted to find a career in a related field. I actually stumbled across this course on IGN in an article about the top courses for learning web development and I watched the intro and thought that the projects looked super cool (and they were, especially the final project). The reason I FINISHED this course is because Andrei did an excellent job of helping me overcome my impostor syndrome.

How long did it take you to learn from start to finish?

Zero to Mastery took me about 6 weeks to complete, working 4–6 hours every day, though I was also working on personal projects and coding challenges during that time.

What actions did you take that helped you learn so effectively?

I would code along with all the videos, pausing to write the code out. I would rewatch the parts I didn’t understand, and I also took notes through Google Docs to try to reinforce what was important.

What advice would you have for someone who is about to start learning development?

No one is born a developer and there are going to be many times, especially early on when you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing and you have to fight through that feeling and believe you will get there in the end. I would also recommend trying to work at least an hour a day every single day because it will allow you to repeat and understand things in a shorter time frame.

How long did it take you to find a job after finishing this course?

I was lucky enough to find a job 4 months after beginning the course. (So, about 2 months after finishing it, though after ZTM, I also completed most of the Junior to Senior course as well)

What did you do that helped you find a job?

The first thing I did after finishing the course was researching many different online portfolio websites. I then tried to make the most complete and responsive website that I could. Using mock-ups and CSS animations I think helped make for a unique and professional looking website which impressed employers. What ultimately got me on the radar of the company that hired me was an unorthodox resume that was a PDF with clickable images inking to my online resume, Github, and website.

What tips would you give to recent graduates of this course, who are now looking for work?

I would say that spending a lot of time and energy on your portfolio website is important, make sure that it is responsive and looks good on any screen size. I’d also recommend being active on Github and try to work on new projects with new technologies whenever you can.

Where do you work now?

_I work as a Web Developer at CBC.

2020 update: two years later and I'm now a Senior Developer and giving back to the Zero To Mastery Community as an instructor at the Zero To Mastery Academy!_

2. Aiden Campbell - LinkedIn

What were you doing for work before you took this course?

HEOR & PRMA (Pharmaceutical Consultancy) in a Business Development role.

Why did you take this course?

To learn something new / fun.

How long did it take you to learn from start to finish?

6 months

What actions did you take that helped you learn so effectively?

I took multiple courses + did 3 hours of coding a day, asked friends for help if I needed it.

What advice would you have for someone who is about to start learning development?

Don’t give up, if it’s hard that means your doing something right.

How long did it take you to find a job after finishing this course?

I found a job while taking the course.

What did you do that helped you find a job?

I did a lot of networking and some CEO reach outs.

What tips would you give to recent graduates of this course, who are now looking for work?

Finding a job as a junior developer is not easy. You should sell your skills but also your potential.

Where do you work now?

I work for a software house (BraveLab.io) as a junior js developer working on react and angular apps.

3. Marcel -  LinkedIn, Github

What were you doing for work before you took this course?

I was a physics computational student that fell in love with programming.

Why did you take this course?

I mostly learned programming for research purpose but I learned to learn more.

How long did it take you to learn from start to finish?

Still in progress.

What actions did you take that helped you learn so effectively?

Studying all day, creating apps that I came up with apart from course’s projects.

What advice would you have for someone who is about to start learning development?

Don’t look back! Let your mind flow and try to connect what you’ve learned for real life solutions. Don’t suffer from imposter syndrome. Every single programmer is always learning. ALWAYS! Don’t feel afraid.

How long did it take you to find a job after finishing this course?

2 months.

What did you do that helped you find a job?

Always applied what I learned in different projects.

What tips would you give to recent graduates of this course, who are now looking for work?

Starting building your dream web app or website.

Where do you work now?

Me and my wife opened our own web agency. She is the main designer and I’m the main developer. Our website will come out in the next couple of months. Its in the design and UX stage as of right now.

4. Jon Sou -  jonathansou.com

What were you doing for work before you took this course?

I worked in IT Support for 3 years as a student assistant.

Why did you take this course? How long did it take you to learn from start to finish?

I took this course because I wanted to learn the skills necessary to become a Full Stack Web Developer.

What actions did you take that helped you learn so effectively?

From start to finish, it took me 2 and a half months.

What advice would you have for someone who is about to start learning development?

I made sure to understand all the concepts and practices that were being introduced while watching and coding along with the videos. Sometimes it may be difficult to stick with the course because there are many challenges that you may run into, but if you put in the effort and time to learn, it will most definitely pay off.

How long did it take you to find a job after finishing this course?

It took me about two weeks to find a job after finishing this course.

What did you do that helped you find a job?

After finishing the course, I created a portfolio and worked on projects to solidify my the skills that I have learned.

What tips would you give to recent graduates of this course, who are now looking for work?

If you have graduated from this course, you are now ready to get a job in web development. The only thing left to do is to polish your resume, cover letter, and portfolio to make yourself a good candidate.

Where do you work now?

I work at a non-profit as a web developer.

Conclusion

Nothing is stopping you from becoming a developer as long as you have a computer and a strong drive to learn. As Ryan Holiday says: “Quit when you’ll be mediocre, when the returns aren’t worth the investment, when you no longer think you’ll enjoy the ends. Stick when the dip is the obstacle that creates scarcity, when you’re simply bridging the gap between beginner’s luck and mastery.” Good luck out there!


Thank you for reading this far. If you enjoyed this post and want to get more like it in the future, subscribe below. By joining the ZTM community of over 100,000 developers you’ll receive Web Developer Monthly (the fastest growing monthly newsletter for developers) and other exclusive ZTM posts, opportunities and offers.

By the way, my full time job is to teach people to code in the most efficient way possible as the Lead Instructor of Zero To Mastery Academy. You can see a few of my courses below or see all of my courses by visiting the courses page.

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