How I Went from Technical Analyst to Front-End Engineer in 6 Months

How I Went from Technical Analyst to Front-End Engineer in 6 Months

03/21/2023
6 minutes

Learning to code so that you can land a job in tech can feel daunting. That’s why we’re sharing inspiring stories from Codecademy’s community — to show how people like you (yes, you!) can embark on a learning journey and end up with a totally new career. We hope these stories serve as a reminder that there’s no single path to a more fulfilling work life.

Today’s story is from Cristian Terán, a 29-year-old Front-End Engineer at Grid Dynamics, living in Guadalajara, Mexico. Read more stories from Codecademy learners here — and be sure to share your story here.

Why I chose to learn how to code

“I have a bachelor of science degree in genomic biotechnology, but I realized I didn’t want to work in science. There’s an area of biotechnology that I really love called bioinformatics, which is basically data science and biology. For some time, I thought that I really liked data science, but it’s not the same when you’re working with bioinformatics versus business intelligence data

One of my best friends is a developer and data scientist, and she was willing to take the Full-Stack Engineer path on Codecademy with me, because she wanted to learn how to do front-end and back-end. So I decided to do it with her.” 

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How I made time to learn

“I tried to do the Full-Stack Engineer path along with my work as a Technical Analyst at a call center. I would study in the afternoons after work, but I couldn’t concentrate on coding and I couldn’t see any progress. I was struggling with working and studying at the same time, and not everything that I learned got into my head. I thought, Maybe a self-learning program doesn’t work for me? Maybe I need help in some other way, like with a boot camp? 

So I quit my job. I applied for this front-end bootcamp, but I didn’t get accepted for some reason. I cried a lot because I didn’t get accepted. I was like, I already quit my job. What am I going to do now? In January 2022, my best friend — another developer — convinced me to take the Computer Science path. The way I started was studying 7 to 8 hours every single day except Sunday, which was my relaxing day. By the end of February, I finished the Computer Science path, and I went on to the Front-End Engineer path because I realized back-end engineering is not my thing.” 

How I saved up money to switch careers

“I saved a lot of money before quitting my job. I had a good backup for 6 months to survive, and I had the help of my parents as well. My mom was like, ‘Why did you quit your job? Why did you leave it? You’re not going to be able to change your career just by studying and not getting a degree!’ But I was like, ‘Mom, you have to believe in me.’ I wish that everyone could have the same opportunity as me, because I know not everyone can quit their jobs that easily to focus on studying.” 

How long it took me to land a job

“I wanted to study for one year, and then try to apply to some jobs that will take on new developers or maybe a startup or something. I was really lucky that I found these two internship opportunities in June.”

How I got in the door

“There was a free boot camp offered by my state in Chihuahua, Mexico. They were going to let me try my front-end skills and create a project from zero with other people and students. They offer a job at the end of the bootcamp if you stick to it and do well. I would have stayed on the unpaid internship, but three weeks in, I found another paid boot camp opportunity at a software consulting company called Grid Dynamics. When they said it was a paid internship, I was like, Whoa.”

How I nailed the interview

“They gave me a coding test, and I did great on both boot camp interviews. I had to present a portfolio website* to my mentor when he interviewed me. The content that Codecademy offers is really great. I really thank Codecademy a lot for getting me to this job.” 

* Need to make a portfolio website for job applications? In the Portfolio Website practice project, we’ll walk you through how to build an eye-catching portfolio website using HTML/CSS, JavaScript, and more.

How I evaluated the offer

“I had an offer for an unpaid internship and a paid internship — and I went for the paid internship. The other bootcamp and internship was offered by a Mexican company, and even if I got a job offer with them, they weren’t going to pay as much as an American company.” 

How day one and beyond went

“Since it was an internship, they were really patient and understanding whenever we had an issue. Every single time people ask me here on my new job, ‘Hey, did you study software engineering at school or something?’ And I’m like, ‘No, I have a bachelors in biotechnology and this is my first coding job. I learned by myself on Codecademy and other platforms.’ There are people that ask me, like, ‘Where did you learn React? And I’m like, ‘You can go to Codecademy and React is one of the free courses that are offered!’ 

All this time throughout the internship, Codecademy has still been there for me. I always try to look back at what I learned on Codecademy. For example, they gave us a lot of JavaScript exercises that included many data structure concepts. I had to go and look up everything I learned on Codecademy and try to remember. I even paid for another year of Pro* because I knew I would use it.” 

* Even people with full-time jobs can benefit from a Codecademy membership. The new Codecademy Plus plan, for example, is specifically for people interested in learning a specialized skill or getting a promotion.

What I wish I knew before I started learning

“Some people pick JavaScript up easily, and some people don’t. I think that I didn’t pick it up easily because I didn’t have the basics of computer science and logic, which is needed for everything you do. I wish I had started with the Computer Science path, because when I was learning JavaScript syntax, I didn’t understand what I was doing. But then everything was clearer for me after taking the Computer Science path.”

Learn like Cristian

6 courses

Not sure where to start? Check out our personality quiz! We’ll help you find the best programming language to learn based on your strengths and interests. 

Want to share your Codecademy learner story? Drop us a line here. And don’t forget to join the discussions in our community.

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