My journey into the IT industry is no different than many. I have learnt my part of Quality assurance and testing, but somehow my interests align more with constructing software than testing them. I started learning python almost two years ago, it's been a rocky ride since then, I have jumped several things and started working on some random projects leading nowhere, now I have arrived here and I have accelerated the process by learning & revising Data Structures & Algorithms every now and then, learning fundamentals of software construction via cs50 course (ongoing), many articles, many readings and road-maps on the way. The only thing that remains unanswered is where am I going with this? Is this even a valid choice after spending several years into Quality Assurance? Do companies even want to hire such individuals compared to freshers with much more speed and comparatively less afraid of messing up?

There is no direct way to transition from one role to other, learning is one thing, but now I feel stuck. I don't know how I will crack interviews beyond DS & Algo rounds. I wonder, what else do I need to learn to be able to do the job of a developer or of a programmer down the road.

Edit: To give you a little background of my technical knowledge, I have completed the following as part of my learning:

  1. Python Programming - Think Python along with exercises and continuous practice on various coding problems' websites (hackerrack, codewars, interviewbit etc.)
  2. VCS using Git
  3. Django basics (have developed a small personal project, available on my github page)
  4. Basics of MySQL and MongoDB
  5. Basics of Docker and Apache Tomcat
  6. Have been using Linux OS from past one year to get hold of basics command line and memory & file system management, have completed "The Linux Foundation" course too.
  7. Basics of HTML and CSS
  8. Basics of Rest API
  9. Fair amount of understand of Data Structures and basic Algorithms (sorting, searching, recursion etc.)
  10. Basics of C and Java

I rephrase my question to ask, how should I put this all together and am I going in the right direction with learning all this? My question simply focuses on my next step to finally land a job as a software developer. I would also like some suggestions on learning something else besides these technologies.

There are no part-time boot camps in the area where I live, believe me I have looked. All I have are online courses and a huge pile of books to read through. I'm to start FCC's Web Development course next.

PS: Please be specific in your answers and provide suggestions to help me improve my question. Also, I have scavenged through the internet to find answer to this but nothing concrete so far, that's why I have turned to Stack Exchange.

  • 5
    Just to confirm; have you actually tried applying to any entry-level developer roles? If so, what feedback are they giving you that makes you think there is still something you are missing? – user34587 Sep 4 '18 at 9:32
  • I have applied several places, but no success so far, haven't received a single interview call, hence the question. No one is ready to provide any responsible feedback, I have consulted friends who are working as full time developers to guide me, which is seldom help. – Swati Goyal Sep 5 '18 at 10:16
  • In a day, I've been able to identify two modes in which I can steer my relevance as a developer: 1. Contributing to open source projects 2. Apply to entry level developer roles by highlighting existing skills and attaching cover letter explaining the situation career-wise. – Swati Goyal Sep 5 '18 at 12:26
  • I switched from a tester role to a development role at 32, I did take an initial pay hit when I switched. However I did do some programming as part of my tester role and had been programming in various language since my teens. The easiest is probably to try and switch at your current employer. – Mark Rotteveel Sep 6 '18 at 16:43

The important thing when applying to any role, is that you can display the skills and experience required to do the job proficiently.

Realistically, it doesn't matter much what your background is or where you learned the skills - so long as you can prove you have them.

The main difference between being university educated, and being self-taught - is the ability to prove you have the skills. While a university education does not in itself mean you would be a good developer - it does require you to have studied and passed a number of exams and projects, which act as evidence for your skills.

As a self-taught developer, you should look at ways to provide evidence for your skills. This could include personal projects, open source applications and possibly certification from the course you are studying. There is nothing inherintly limiting in your lack of formal education - but it does make it potentially harder to find evidence for the skills you need to show.

As a side note, one of my (developer) colleagues came from a QA background. While their QA experience was not the factor in landing them the developer job (they were able to demonstrate their ability to develop code separately); it has allowed them to give our team much better insights into the QA process and how we can improve our developer processes to work closely with QA.

Coming from QA is not going to stop you getting a developer role. But you must be able to separately demonstrate you have the skills to take a developer role - the QA experience will then be a benefit that helps differentiate you against otherwise equally proficient developers.


One of the largest questions at this point should be "How financially motivated are you?"

Can you afford a year or six months at startup company on junior position for low pay and high utilization?

Cause for me it was a crossroad moment to see how i fair at 3 possible carrier routes

Found out, i didn`t like any of them and switched my study focus. But that was a university years, was a bit younger then.

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