I'm a software developer in my mid-twenties. I attended a fairly prestigious college for math and computer science, but never graduated.
After I dropped out of college, I got a development job at a prestigious software company, but was laid off after 10 months. Since then, I've been having trouble getting back on my feet. Six months later, I got hired at a startup as a sole developer, but was fired shortly afterwards because I couldn't handle the workload. Another 6 months later, I took on 3 jobs with early-stage startups. All three of these are equity-only, unpaid positions. So, right now, I'm juggling 3 unpaid jobs and I hate it.
I've been looking for jobs throughout this ordeal. I find the hiring process in software development to be painfully difficult. I typically do poorly on technical interviews. I do study for them, but I just get so many hard puzzles and esoteric trivia questions thrown at me. I also don't have a very strong grasp on data structures and algorithms. Since I don't have a degree, I typically rule out applying for jobs that mention college anywhere in the ad, which usually translates into having to pass a hard technical interview.
I'm tired of being chronically broke and unemployed or underemployed. I'm starting to wonder if there's something wrong with me or if I'm even in the right career. My personality is a good fit for programming. I'm nerdy, introverted, inquisitive, and unafraid to teach myself new things. I can't imagine myself in a profession where I had to rely on soft skills instead of hard skills. I don't want to go back to school, take a pay cut, or start all over again in a different field. I already have work experience, solid references, a strong online presence, and a good portfolio.
Everywhere I've been, the developers had zero work-life balance. We all did nothing but eat, sleep, and code and after a while, I become burned out and miserable. In all honesty, if money wasn't an issue, I wouldn't code. My real passion is music, but I doubt I could pay the bills with it.
I'm just so lost and unhappy in my current situation. Does anyone have any ideas as to how to improve my current situation?