“Not yet old, but already tired of returning from weddings at six in the morning”: how to move to IT after 30

IT is not always love at first sight. Sometimes it’s love by design. Valery Kostinsky, the hero of an interview with the IT-addiction YouTube channel, told how studying at the university discouraged the desire to become a developer, but ten years later he made a second attempt to enter the industry. This time successfully: today he is a Junior Flutter Developer.

I studied to be a programmer at the Transcarpathian State University. And if during my studies at the bursa I was interested in computer science, then university programming was not. It was heavy and not fully understood, the examples were shown in Turbo Pascal, where you just see a blue screen. Some curiosity returned only in the third year, where they studied Web programming and 3D modeling. I am restless, it is important for me to immediately see the result of the work, and here it was. However, there were still difficulties, I did not see ways to earn money with this knowledge – then there were very few IT companies in Ukraine.

Almost half of the 60 classmates dropped out, others barely made it to the bachelor’s degree and went to work in the Czech Republic. In my senior years, I transferred to a correspondence course and went to KVN, and then I began to earn money as a wedding host.
All my IT friends began to earn many times more than me

In 2018, even before the coronavirus, I realized that I was already 30 – not yet old, but already tired of returning from weddings at six in the morning, because my health was not the same. It’s already hard, you can’t rake, you’re tired. Moreover, I began to notice that at some point all my IT friends began to earn many times more than I did. IT has become a prestigious field with a bunch of professional areas. Friends encouraged me to study. I could not imagine how I study from YouTube videos, but for a lot of money you can force yourself to sit.

I went to Yevgeny Andrikanich’s website layout course with a friend, but he did not last long at school – a stable permanent job brought good money, for him it was a higher priority. I immediately asked him why he would make up websites, but he really wanted to try.

Due to the fact that there was only one lesson a week, the study took six months. The layout went to me. The main thing is to have two monitors: on one you write the code, click “save”, and on the other you look at what has changed. Class, cool!

We finished our studies in January 2020, and then the coronavirus epidemic began, and all weddings began to be canceled. I thought that I retrained just in time, especially when the lockdown hit, all my friends began to think about moving to IT – to sit at a computer at home and earn money in dollars.
The first order was completed for about $30

I started freelancing – the first order was completed for about $30. It was the first money earned in IT, and I was very happy about it. Then there was an order for $50, then for $100, and then a very big project, when I earned about $2200 in two months of work. It was super money, considering that before that I was earning 500 UAH per landing page. Designed one-page sites, like a conveyor. It was a very good practice, and in the end I began to typeset 6-7 pages a day, I really enjoyed the process.

Then a friend offered me a permanent job as his layout assistant – so that we rented an office and worked nearby as a small IT company. I said: “Great, let’s start.” We then agreed on a salary of $500 a month. I came to the finished project, I had to debug it and make everything work. Was engaged in clean imposition. The amount of work was significantly less than freelancing.

“What, jQuery is still alive?”

My friend-colleague taught me a lot, showed additional programs that an IT specialist can work with – GitLab, GitHub, Jira, etc., helped to deepen my knowledge in JavaScript, namely the jQuery library – how logic works, what are variables. However, when I told IT people what I do, they asked: “Is jQuery still alive?”. I’ve been told that technology is limiting my ability to find work. Subsequently, I realized that I don’t get high from JS at all like I do from layout. But a stable salary took its toll.

Flutter is already more programming

Once at a party, a friend told how she was lured to Flutter: “I tried it – it’s really cool stuff. It’s simple: you take and write, and she does everything herself. Magic!”. At first I brushed it off, but after the second party, where she again talked about Flutter, salary, working in a remote company, I already thought … If I don’t enjoy my job, why not try something else? He called her “for a beer” and asked her to tell more about the technology.

Flutter is already more programming, the Dart language. And I was only engaged in layout, so I didn’t understand much here. She sent me a paid course – short English-language videos of 6 minutes each. And my English is not very good. I looked and realized that I did not understand anything. But on YouTube I found the same videos in translation that had just been published, watched about 15 lessons somewhere, and began to do the assignments at home. It was difficult, but also cool: you have a mobile phone emulator on the side of the screen, where you can see the result. It’s cooler than in Google Chrome!
Illustration, source – Honeypot.io

Illustration, source – Honeypot.io

But one day I came home after work and realized that I no longer had the strength to study. When you are over 30 years old, work takes 8 hours, and your wife and children are still waiting at home, it is very difficult to study effectively – you can read something and not understand anything. Head does not work.
The first time I worked on a friend’s project as a junior

I thought about quitting and moving to Flutter. A friend (the one who told me about the technology) says: “Great, I told my boss about you, and if you learn this, we are ready to take you for a few days and try to work.” I come home, I tell my wife: “I have a stable salary, but there is an option to live without this salary for some time in order to retrain and do what is more promising.” My wife was argumentatively against it, but I decided for myself that if I get more pleasure from work, I will earn more.

I studied on my own, sometimes I asked a friend something. At first, I worked on her project as a junior – she gave me an elementary job, praised that everything worked out for me, put in a word to her boss that I was not the dumbest programmer in the world. The owner of the company called me and offered me a job on a new project. So little by little I got into this topic.
I was lucky that I was familiar with the IT community

Flutter is developing very fast right now. There are fans of this framework, there are those who have a negative attitude towards it, but there is work on it on the market, including part-time positions. How easy it is for a junior to get a job here depends on how well you sell yourself and what knowledge you have.

In general, Flutter is not difficult to learn on its own, if you only deal with layout (without logic). Courses are now easy to find – there are many of them on the Internet in the public domain. The hardest thing is to find the first job and stay there for about six months to gain experience. I was lucky that I was familiar with the IT community and got to work everywhere “through beer”.

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