Let me start with a little bit of background to make you understand the problem better:

I am currently working as a freelance web designer. It is going okay right now but I would prefer working full time for couple of reasons, mostly for having some free time. The finances are another factor.

I have 4 years of coding experience but not much of actually working in the industry. I have worked as a freelancer before and had a short term job in digital agency before moving abroad.

I have no degree on computer science or equivalent, I am fully self taught.I had couple of years break in coding because I ended up working as a journalist. Now I have gotten back to coding, I feel my skills are rapidly growing and I have a strong feeling I have enough talent to work in the industry. So my professional background is a mess but the direction where I want to go is very, very clear for me.

I am heading to another city in couple of months and I would like to have my job situation sorted out before the summer comes. I have sent applications to the digital agencies etc. but also for other jobs.

Now I am wondering: if I take other than web dev job at this point, will it destroy my changes to break through to tech industry? Or is it a reasonable plan to get an easy job, send web dev applications meanwhile and work on some personal projects to expand the CV and maintain coding skills?

I dunno if it matters, but I am a EU citizen, if you wonder.


And in this case other than web dev job would mean something like customer support or call center because of the language barrier. I am native Finnish speaker and I wouldn't be able to land a job as a journalist with my English. That doesn't even matter, because the target country is Spain.

  • Comments removed. Please don't use comments to answer the questions. Also, please remember our rule to be nice. – jmort253 Mar 18 '15 at 10:33

Do you have an over-all picture of what the diverse elements of your skills set add up to? I am guessing "no", because you state that your "professional background is a mess" Rethink your work experience and your skills in terms of what relevance they have to what you can offer a prospective employer as a web designer. I sat at a presentation given by a BBC reporter on how he used Twitter and data analytics to get a jump on events in progress. He also showed map visualizations of trends he was tracking. It's up to you to make sense of what you went through and make your own argument as to why your background makes you a good fit for a particular web position.

I don't have a background as a journalist. This means that if I were to compete with you for a web developer position at say the BBC or at Conde Nast, the only thing I can really say in my favor is that I am a better code monkey than you, and hope that the argument sticks. If they ask you why do you want to work for them, it wouldn't hurt for you to trot out your background as a journalist. Technology is important. So is content. If you can show how your grasp of the content domain makes you more useful to the org as a web programmer, then you have an edge over me. But you definitely need to apply your own ingenuity and you have to make the effort to make that argument :)

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  • I know my strengths but as you said, I'm not sure how to use them as an advantage. Thank you for the tips. My CV will pop out because of the peculiar background, but experience in TV hosting doesn't help much for example in understanding web design patterns or writing clean code. I should have been more clear about my question. The background is not the biggest problem but the possible future short term job. I can't be a journalist in anywhere else than Finland because I'm not a native English speaker. So the short term job would be something like a customer support or call center work etc. – Jaakko Karhu Mar 14 '15 at 14:13
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    I'd say that working on your English will do nothing but good for your career as a web designer (and other professions that you might want to get into) - You'll just have to bite the bullet and continue improving on your English : – Vietnhi Phuvan Mar 14 '15 at 16:24
  • I agree. I have no problem with spoken english, the skill level is high enough for any job. But still I could never work ie. as a writing journalist, where flawless written language is required. – Jaakko Karhu Mar 14 '15 at 17:23
  • @JaakkoKarhu depends isn't that what sub editors do check the grammar – Pepone Mar 16 '15 at 1:56
  • @Pepone Correct. But however, I was a broadcast journalist so I didn't write (much) even in Finnish media. It would be a huge leap to start writing in English. But now we are getting a bit off the track from my original question. – Jaakko Karhu Mar 16 '15 at 9:47

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