This is a translation of the success story from our global Java community. Yaroslav learned Java on the Russian-language version of the course, which you study in English on CodeGym. May it become the inspiration for your further learning and maybe one day you’ll want to share your own story with us :) My story. Java developer at 18 - 1Hello, everyone. I decided to share my success story. I've been mulling with the idea for quite some time, but I couldn't bring my fingers to the keyboard. When I did, I wanted to produce something unique. As a result, I postponed the effort, but now I'm going to tell you plainly what happened, without any concepts, equivocation, or anything else. My first acquaintance with the word "programming" occurred when I was only 13 years old. I was an ordinary teenage boy interested in computer games, just as many people are today. Garry's Mod was the game. Maybe some of you have heard of it. And it had the built-in Expression2 (E2) language, which let you do things and create things in "Sandbox" mode. It was pretty interesting, but I had no idea what it was back then. All my attempts at coding amounted to copy-paste operations and intuitively imitating code. I head the word "programming" in a voice chat along with the comment "you'll get this in school". Spoiler: I didn't :) Subsequently, I somehow forgot about programming until I stumbled upon this site and started learning when the first 10 levels were still free (any other terms probably wouldn't have let me start programming, since highschoolers have very little money and I still don't like asking my parents for it). The first efforts ended with a misunderstanding of classes. I was in about 9th grade then. I decided to set it aside until later. When I was a little older, I returned to these courses and tried again. Did I succeed? No :) My second attempt produced some success: my brain broke through the barrier that held it back on my first attempt — something related to classes and constructors. I went further, reaching Level 8-9, I think. I ran out of steam and got distracted by something else, abandoning the courses once again. My third attempt came in the 11th grade. I was older and the time had come to decide where I would go. Subconsciously, I was aiming at IT: I liked doing anything on a computer: playing games, programming, watching films, or anything else. I thought programming was interesting. Indeed, I had once shown creativity in games, and I knew how cool it is to create something of your own and to give free rein to your creativity. So I returned to the courses, this time with a more serious attitude. Notably, every time I came back, I went through everything from the very beginning to be sure I mastered what had stopped me before. This time I achieved better results: I rose to Level 20 rather quickly and was approaching Level 30 in the summer before my first year of college. Actually, it was like a three-month hard march toward Java, since I worked out quite a lot back then :) In my first year at the university, I soaked up subjects related to programming with ease and was always the most involved student in my classes, because I understood it all, unlike most of my classmates, who were facing the material for the first time and expected the university to teach them everything. Because our education system (Yaroslav is from Dnipro city, Ukraine — editor’s note), shaped by collectivism, was not designed for the individual or individual teaching, not allowing anyone to lag behind or sit on the sidelines, I didn't initially expect an education at the university, and I was absolutely correct about that. By my second year, I had turned 18. In the winter, a few months after my birthday, something happened that took the wind out of my sails. I broke up with my girlfriend. We were extremely close. This was an emotional knockout for a while, but it made me more determined, giving me the strength to move on and grow. And then luck appeared on the scene in the guise of a friend in the same classes. I had fallen out of touch with him during article-writing contests. By that time, I already had some skills with Spring (small relative to what I can do now, but I understood injection, for example), databases, JDBC, Hibernate (again, not as deep as now). In general, not a bad skill set for a resume. He sent me a Telegram message that said something like this (it may have been edited for content and brevity): "Hey, a recruiter from Company X contacted me. They're looking for a junior developer. I already work at Company Y, so I recommended you. They will contact you. Here's a link to the job listing. Get your resume ready. Don't forget to describe some of your projects in the 'Work experience' section." "Hi, that's a full technology stack. What if I can't cut it? What if my skills aren't enough?" "Yeah..." // The conversation ends Subsequently, they contacted me, sent me test No. 1, then No. 2, then a quick check over Skype that I could put together at least a few words in English (I like listening to music in English, and I also picked up some English from games, so I passed). They invited me to an interview, at which they said, "we have a clear delineation between the backend and the frontend, you're backend." This made me happy because the job listing mentioned "AngularJS" for the frontend, which I just happened to study for the past two days. In the end, after answering the question "How will you combine study and work?" with "Somehow", I took a chance and prioritized work above my university studies and entered the IT industry. This was in February of this year, and this month I marked six months here as a junior developer. Let me tell you a little about my job. Our schedule is as follows: Eight hours a day. You can arrive at any time you want between 9 and 11. You get one hour for lunch. The office has a small kitchen where managers put free delicious things (cookies, apples, juice, veggies, etc.). It has a coffee machine along with free tea/coffee/cocoa/milk and, of course, water :) At 11:15, we have a daily meeting where we say what we've done and what we will do that day. Our company is productive and from the very beginning, I was actively involved in a project. Without providing details, I'll say that I've already had the opportunity to learn a lot about the backend, and to get my hands on Docker, protocol buffers, a microservice architecture, and more. The team is a blend of explosives, peace, and harmony. There are frequent jokes, a fun atmosphere. Not strict. Loyal. Maybe I've omitted something that would be worth mentioning, but I feel like this topic was already dragging on, and I wanted to give some other advice, so... My story. Java developer at 18 - 2

Tips based on my experience

  1. Don't rely on the education system. Your path to success is only through self-education. At a university or other institution of higher education, you most likely be another cog in the system. You'll also likely fall into the hands of teachers whose experience is lacking or outdated. Your learning style won't be taken into account in the educational process. Do you like to learn by reading books, watching videos, reading short articles, through hands-on experience? There are lots of ways to learn and believe me, it's unlikely that your preferences will be taken into account).

  2. Don't go to work for state-owned companies or companies closely connected to them. Someone recently wrote this in a post on this website. I recently got "a few comments" from my friend about the place where he works, a company connected to state companies. According to him, the place is a real den of procrastination. It's hard to get valuable experience.

  3. Know how to prioritize. Calmly finish your university studies in a couple of years and get your diploma or take a chance and leave to conquer the IT world — what would you choose? Add pressure from parents, fear of making a mistake, and other negative emotions. But if you feel the risk is justified, then roll the dice. I'm no fan of pointless risks, where the chance of success is extremely small, but if you see that the opportunity is quite realistic and you can somehow grab it, even if half-assed, then grab it.

  4. Don't forget about your personal life and yourself. This tip is for folks who often experience stress even if their lives are apparently stress-free. Listen to your inner self. Pay attention to what you're missing and what you want. After all, immersing yourself in your career and work, you risk not getting what you really want, not fulfilling some of your dreams and desires, e.g. finally whipping your body into shape or learning something new, and the list goes on forever. Leave room for yourself. I'll end with this. I hope you found it interesting to read my thoughts, which I decided to lay bare at this time, giving free rein to everything buzzing around in my head. I'm 18 years old now (as of the 31st of this month) and I'm happy that I found this website when I did and that everything has turned out so very well. Good luck and love to all! :) P.S. The image the Twenty One Pilots logo. I love that band!