How I taught myself to code again (and got a job at Google)



oh hey I didn't see you there my name is the tech lead and today I'll be the tech lead I wanted to talk today about how I got into Google and the path is a lot less straightforward than you might imagine I essentially had to teach myself a completely new programming language to do it now several years ago I was doing a lot of web development like I was what you would call a full stack lamp developer I was you know that's Linux Apache MySQL PHP that was a very popular tech stack at the time and it was all web development essentially creating various apps and games for websites like I was working on the Groupon comm website in Ruby on Rails and CoffeeScript any time I searched for a job I would look for something along the lines of lamp full stack general web developer something like that and that was essentially who I was that was my skill set now I would try to plan to these top tech companies but it was very difficult to get in with my skill set like a lot of companies aren't necessarily looking for a full stack engineer like they're looking for maybe say specifically a database engineer and I'm not really a fantastic database engineer my friend and JavaScript skills were okay but they weren't up to date with the newest latest frameworks that a lot of other people knew and looking at back-end skills my strength was in PHP but not all companies were looking for a PHP developer that language was in decline not at the time I took some time off and decided to just go travel for a while and I was in Japan and iPhone development was starting to get hot so it really took me a long time to get into iPhone development I would say like I avoided it for a long time and by the time I started looking into it it felt like a lot of people were saying that the boom was over and that it wasn't worth getting into iPhone development anymore it took me like a year to get all my supplies like I first had to buy an iPhone and learn to use it and then over time I decided to get a MacBook but even when I had the MacBook and iPhone I still wasn't really sure if I wanted to get into it all I remember when I got the MacBook I was thinking yeah I kind of want to get into iPhone development maybe I wasn't really sure if I was going to do it and it took me a lot of convincing myself to really push myself into it and there were no classes on iOS development I wouldn't take a class I generally wouldn't pay to take a class anyway but like what I did was I just decided to sit down and and start to try to learn the language objective-c and you know these days a lot of people are using Swift but at the time I was using objective-c and you know the funny thing is everybody who knew iOS at the time had to teach themselves the language it's not like there was no other way to learn it basically now I remember in Japan my girlfriend would always be asking me to go out shopping go out to take a walk she didn't want to just be cooped up in the room all day and I would be like okay let me take the MacBook to a cafe and we just sit at the cafe for a few hours and I would sit there and try to learn my programming so for me it took like one to two months of solid work for me to push an app out to the App Store now this app was pretty simple it was essentially a webview so that I could leverage my web development skills and then over time I would layer on additional native components like I would add integration with the camera I might add integration with maybe some native gestures like I would just slowly add a new feature every day and just layer it on top and on top until maybe I have to say ten days I had 10 native features in there and you know that all adds up over time and a lot of my learning was driven by the project that I was doing like if I wanted to integrate with some social media site or something I would look up what the API for that would be and then just add that feature after I finished the app I marketed it as well as I could and I got several thousand users and I put it on my resume after a while I left Japan and I came back stateside and I began applying for jobs again because I needed the job I needed my health insurance you know and there was some mobile developer positions open for Google and I was like okay let me just try applying to this because I didn't feel that my web development skills were necessarily strong enough to land like a front-end position or back-end position or database position the generalist full-stack stuff is really good for startups I would say but this was like a complete career switch and I'm not sure if many programmers do this that often in their careers actually but for me I basically had to teach myself this new language at the time there's a shortage for iOS engineers generally everywhere so I did my interview with Google they needed iOS engineers and I had some understandings of it along with some other web full-stack engineering work and stuff like that and so I was able to land a role there and for me I really credit my landing a row at Google to a good timing of learning a new language when very few other people knew that language and you know it was and then I guess it was just a really good investment for me to have decided to teach myself objective-c you know like and it was only like 1 to 2 months of my time to do that and you know it always sounds like it's so much work but once you sit down and get into it you find that you're really making progress really quickly and I think for me that's one reason why I didn't want to go out all the time I knew like if I could just have one full day I could get another complete feature in and adding an additional feature to an app is really quite noticeable I would say so I wanted to continue pushing progress on that each day I'd add a new feature and you know I was learning a lot I was teaching myself new skills and so overall I would say it was just a really good learning investment for me to have decided to teach myself objective-c and this kind of relates to another similar story I have which is when I finished grad school I was really into game programming like my emphasis was on computer graphics and I knew nothing about web development but at the time the Facebook app platform opened up and it was like this huge opportunity for developers to start building apps for the Facebook platform and get a lot of exposure and it just sounded really fun to me and that was the first time that I decided to just pick up a PHP book and read through the whole thing and start developing PHP apps again this was a very good investment for me because a lot of my apps became very popular and allowed me to actually quit my job in computer graphics that I was working on and just get into web development and so it was a very strange career switch for me where I remember when I was leaving my company I told my co-workers hey I might become a web developer now you know and everyone thought oh that's kind of strange for a computer graphics developer to just switch into web development and so I hope you can take away from this story is that even computer programmers have to continue to teach themselves new languages and by teaching themselves new languages a lot of new opportunities open up now it's true that I got a computer science degree and I think that these computer science fundamentals are very important and you can learn that by reading like algorithms and data structures textbook but for me right out of college I was going in a certain direction towards computer graphics programming and if I didn't do anything I would still be doing that today but my course changed drastically when I got into web development and then changed again when I got into iOS development so what I'm saying is if you're an experienced developer you can yourself a new technology and start going into another direction and I would say that even if you're not doing computer programming now you can still pick up the fundamentals and teach yourself a language and get into it and this would probably be especially worthwhile in newer fields where there's less people who understand the language like I would say that these days react native Kathleen Swift and there may be others that are pretty up-and-coming technologies with brand new languages there's essentially no courses on these languages and people just have to teach themselves the language and get going and overall for me I've seen that investing in my own learning and teaching myself new things has almost always been a very good payoff for me iOS development took a long time to convince myself to get into I watch the iPhone blow up I watched other developers making tons of money I would just sit there and keep thinking like I wonder if I should do this I wonder if I should get into it once I sat down and got into it it really wasn't that bad you know like like the progress I was making was pretty quick and within like one to two months I had already finished my apps so when I see people asking like they want to get into programming should they teach themselves how to code you know the answer is like well I had to teach myself how to code and it wasn't much easier for me like you basically do it the same way I did it and the same way everybody else does it you just sit down and you teach yourself if there's courses great and you know maybe that can be helpful but I think a lot of people just kind of sit down and get into it and you know there's not a lot if you're looking for a shortcut there's not that many I would say so don't be afraid of learning a little something think about where you want to be in six months and then just set up a plan for you to get there like if you think you want to be able to know JavaScript or Python within six months I think that's a very realistic thing and you know you can just craft yourself a plan and just learn a little every day and by the end of that six months or even less time probably you'd have satisfied your own curiosity and you will probably be in a better place and it'd probably be pretty fun too I think like learning is pretty fun in general anyway that would do it for me give it a like and subscribe and I'll see you next time bye

21 Comments

  1. Machin396 said:

    Fun intro and nice theme music, it's like a proper song for a long and not easy but successful road.

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  2. Kelvin said:

    +1 for the dramatic emotional background music

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  3. Jon Snow said:

    The background music makes it more sadder ๐Ÿ˜‚

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  4. Thomas Harrison said:

    Love the music

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  5. Rajab's Tube said:

    Who's getting Spanish ads even though not speak it and don't live in Spanish speaking country…??

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  6. Mamunur Rashid said:

    I jumped from game development to web development. Maybe I'll do mobile app next too.

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  7. marambiosisimo said:

    Tech lead that is so true, ive also learnt and accomplished a lot more coding by trying to get a project done, courses doesnt motivate you the same as when you want to see working something you did and understand yourself.. im 33 and still trying to dominate coding skills, its my dream but sometimes i think i dont have talent

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  8. Darkstar Dream said:

    Tech lead I am curious to know that what you used to do when you get stuck on any problem

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  9. Armando said:

    Im gonna start learning java first i believe then add python at somepoint. Ive been watching video after video ty man for the content

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  10. Fringe Fringe said:

    Your talks are very valuable. Thanks!

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  11. ajeet baruah said:

    Soothing background music

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  12. Ama D said:

    Your videos are encouraging. People constantly demonize me when I choose to spend time working on myself instead of hanging out with them. But I can't move forward if I never work on myself.

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  13. dymek said:

    The music in the background is like in a confessions of a raped person movie.

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  14. ่ฅฟไพ said:

    Motive
    Game play fun

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  15. ่ฅฟไพ said:

    Update
    Reinvent- avoid hesitate – discouraged-unsure
    learn
    Language
    Linguistics

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  16. karolgr8est said:

    Great vid! Thanks ๐Ÿ˜‰

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  17. Mr. Suhaib said:

    "I am the Tech Lead, and today… I will be the Tech Lead"
    Cant stop binging this channel

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  18. Jw N said:

    people need to be as smart as you are to make some progress ! not everyone has the talent to learn something new quickly

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  19. Oleg B said:

    Nice apartment, man

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  20. Fahmi Eshaq said:

    Loved it. You are true to yourself.

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  21. Peter Kim said:

    Are adding apps to your resume worth it these days? How do explain or evaluate the value of your app?

    June 29, 2019
    Reply

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