At the end of it all, we all have two life lists: All the things we actually did, and all the things we wish happened. Focus on building the first list, starting right here and now.

-Jeanelle Rabadam

Who am I?

Hello everyone, I’m Ed and I’m planning a leap of faith. Although that might seem counterintuitive or paradoxical, if you’re taking a leap from a cliff you first have to get to the cliff, right?

A little bit of myself: I’m an INFJ, type 5 enneagram personality, multipotentialite (what does all that even mean?), and senior law school student. After graduation from school in June and taking the bar exam to become a lawyer in September, I’ll have at least 3 months to take a leap of faith and change career. “You’re going to change career when you haven’t even started?” Yup! Before, I used to start messing around with stuff, sometimes enroll in classes and then leave them (sounds familiar, putty peeps?). While I don’t necessarily think that that’s wrong, I’ve decided this time to finish what I started. I ended up in law school because I’ve been pulling the different strings of whatever sparked my interest, I’ve been searching, and I happened to pull that string 3 years ago. But being and working as a lawyer is not what I want, at least right now. Now, after 3 years of working hard but also pulling other strings, I’ve decided to finally give it a go to web and software development.

Why web development?

Because I like it, because I believe I have the potential and because it’s marketable. Also because I could make a location independent career (at least more than with a law career) with it; this is probably one of the most important reasons for me. While I do believe that passion, when following or choosing something, is important (we can have a healthy and productive debate on whether following your passion or not is a good decision), I do think that being good at it, at least to some extent, and having marketable potential or demand are important factors, specially when it comes to deciding on a career. I also have a general and useful experience building and maintaining websites and a fundamental understanding of programming so this is not a totally uncharted territory for me.

So…what’s the plan?

The plan is just simply to market my services by body painting my website and walking around naked around all day…NOT! The plan is…well…this is where the leap of faith comes in. During the past two weeks, I’ve read and watched a few dozen articles and videos on the topic: self-teaching vs. bootcamp vs. university (a little bit of each point of view); how to learn software development on your own and what road to take to achieve it; if it is possible to acquire professional level in a few months, etc, etc, etc. What I’ve concluded about the topic after my research, and that sounds true to me, is the following: self-teaching web or software development from level zero to landing a job in a few months is possible. Some have recorded their progress on a similar road. One of them even created a successful Udemy course on teaching others the essentials of software development based on the road he took to achieve a “zero to mastery level” (as he calls it) in under 5 months. So the plan is: self-teaching.

At the moment, I’ve found that there is a debate whether some programming languages are out of date or not (regarding this I’ve heard that PHP and jQuery are outdated yet some courses and valuable opinions, such as Pieter Levels’ from Nomad List, think otherwise) and whether there are others which are “the future” (for this I’ve heard that the most promising ones are JavaScript and React, for example). I won’t be religious about this or anything else. I’ll listen but I’ll be skeptical. I will continue to map out the road as I walk, but at the moment I will refresh HMTL and CSS, which I have a light grasp of, and build a few projects (I want to make the caveat that whenever I mention projects I really intend working on them seriously and not skim through the exercise and look at the solution; example ahead).

As a guide for this I will use Free Code Camp (FCC), not only because of its reputation (which can be mixed sometimes) but because I like the projects such as the ones set for HTML/CSS. One of them, the personal portfolio, is something I intend on using in real life and that, to me, is an efficient project: I learn and practice HTML/CSS and at the same time I prepare my own personal portfolio which is essential, according to many, when looking for a job. I’ll also experiment complementing FCC with The Complete Web Developer Bootcamp (Udemy) which has received a successful and positive feedback across different forums, specially those that have landed a job in a short amount of time by complementing them both. Rinse and repeat for JavaScript, which is the next in line on both repertoires. After that, we’ll see…but at the moment I’ll follow that path. This is probably the most uncertain part of the plan since I won’t know until I do it whether FCC+Udemy’s course will actually work for me. If some personal project pops to mind, I’ll consider it as practice+real life project too.

There are a few articles (and this one, this one aaaand this one too) that I’ll link to that suggest different roads to take and resources to follow. They’re already saved in my Trello Programming project or selected as favorites in the Pocket app. At the moment, I don’t necessarily see their true value because I don’t understand them fully yet but they may be useful when I encounter roadblocks along the way.

I’ll use Trello to further break down the projects and obstacles along the road; I might use Forest to organize my Pomodoro sessions or Toggl to track my time after each day (I might try using IFTTT to automate this process, if possible); I’ll use Habitica to establish, organize and commit the daily/weekly/monthly chores (personal and professional) that might require some repetition; and I’ll use Google Calendar to organize and plan my schedule, to timebox my days and to set the dates or deadlines or any to-do with a due date. This productivity system is one that I’ve been using for almost two years now and it’s been working perfectly for me. Productivity and tackling obstacles are the least of my worries.

The leap of faith: the act

Yes, there are testimonies, resources, articles, videos, etc. that talk about the truth and possibility of teaching yourself software development till success, but what guarantees that I have what it takes? Nothing. Do I have any security that using my hard earned savings to fund my survival for at least 3 months is going to end up as an investment and not a waste flushed down the toilet? Not at all. Many of these articles talk about +4 months to acquire some decent level of knowledge but not specially expert knowledge. Let’s not talk about the money already invested in my formal education that, at least at the moment, I don’t have any interest in using: am I wasting that too? However, I wouldn’t be writing this right now, on my phone on a plane back home, if I didn’t truly believe that I have what it takes. I also truly want this. That is why I’m taking the leap.

What happens if I fail? Well, what would failure mean in this context? That I didn’t learn anything? Or that I didn’t get a job and I used all of my savings? First, I don’t think not learning anything will be possible. Once I make the commitment and start, I’m not letting go. To me, the risk in this case is a financial one but which is not hell either. The worst case scenario, from my limited point of view and with the use of my very bad prediction skills, would be that I use all of my savings and that I’ll have to work as a lawyer or someplace else because I didn’t land a web or software developer job. At that moment, I would have two options: I keep working on my web dev skills while working on something else and then transition in a more smooth way like A LOT of people do; or I give up completely the web dev studies and just settle for whatever else. I don’t what I would do by then but I still have some time to decide.

The leap of faith: the blog

So! Now that I think that the idea is rather clear, what is this blog going to be about? My journey on the road: what I think, what I do, what I learn, basically any pertinent experience, article, video or information that forms or shapes this general experience towards the final goal: getting a web or software development job (bonus points if it’s location independent or a rather stable freelancing job; although I mentioned that location independence is, for me, one the most important reasons for why I’m doing this, I believe that this could take a bit more time and I’m willing to call it a success if I land a job which I see as a stepping stone for that location independent or freelancing job).

As of now, I’m studying full-time, biting almost as much as I can chew, so blogging won’t be my full-time task. However, I’ll try to post at least once or twice per month depending on the progress or anything pertinent to the leap of faith project. I’ll try to link to the resources I refer to in the blog posts or any other cool thing worth sharing to make the experience the most relatable and documented possible. I have two main purposes with this blog: accountability and inspiration.

First: in my experience, I’ve learned that accountability can bring motivation, compromise and even grit which, in my opinion, are essential in getting things done. The people who will be mainly reading this blog will be friends, family and communities (right now only the Putty Tribe) which are people who care enough to hold me accountable and actually care about my progress. I’m new to the Putty Tribe so all this is also an experiment and a step out of my comfort zone.

Second: like I said, I don’t know where this is going or how it’s going to end. Many people online and success stories talk about taking that step towards what you desire even if it’s fearful, to believe in yourself, and many other lines that I’m sure you’ve heard more than once. Listen, I don’t know if this will be a success story and frankly, I don’t think so, but I don’t really care much. I want to take this leap of faith because I’ve been searching all my life without actually finding. What was once a question of which career should I choose, ended up being a spiritual journey for me. Now, I’ve found a little bit. Now, I feel like I can decide with a little bit more confidence than before, and now, I’ve decided to take the risk and that’s what I want others to get inspired from: that if you’ve been searching all your life (or part of your life), that if you don’t know what to do or what to choose, that if you’re not confident enough to decide on something, or whatever reason it is that you might be feeling stuck on a similar roadblock, that this inspires you to keep pushing, to keep searching, to put the hands in your pockets, put your head down and keep walking through the shit because I’ve been there and I know what it feels like and I’ve found at least a little ray of light which feels warm and awesome. Sometimes success stories feel a bit too far or impersonal because the person is writing from their altar, from the comfort they found because they did it: not me. Me…I’m just starting.

Last words…

If you’re still with me, thanks! I hope you have fun with the blog, I hope that this inspires you in any way or at the very least I hope you get something positive from reading it. The purpose of this blog is not marketing or making money in any way (at least for now), it’s just for our enjoyment and for the purposes I mentioned above. If you want to share something with me, give feedback (which is always more than welcome), want to contact for any reason or just say hi, don’t hesitate to email me at ed@theleapofaith.com.

There’s so much I want to say I know I’m missing stuff but I really want to put this out already. I’m the type of person that usually plans so much that ends up not doing it and I want to change that a little bit. So once again, if you think I’m missing something or want to share anything, send me an email or hit me up in the Putty Tribe.

One last thing: I might be all over the place and future posts might seem contradictory of previous ones. For me this is a new path and like many paths one chooses, either literally or symbolically, they might change during the way causing necessary and unpredictable alterations in order for one to arrive to the final destination. That being said…let’s get ready to rumble.