My Journey of How I Went From Teaching English in Japan to a Career in Tech With The Coolest Company in the World

Learn To Code The Hard Way

Since I was coming in during the last half of the summer vacation, there were a couple weeks of downtime at my school before lessons officially began again.

I immediately got started with a search on how I could break into the tech industry.

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Okay, lots of advice and resources, but where to start…

I quickly learned there were so many different avenues to get started and it was totally overwhelming. So I decided to start out with the basics and thought I’d go back to revisiting my HTML & CSS skills first. My first encounter with these markup languages goes back to when I had a Xanga account. Using it’s “Weblog”, I’d often mess around with the HTML formatting when writing posts and I’d always be fascinated with what kind of changes were made when using different tags.

Anyways, I started to get my feet wet by taking some free courses on Codeacademy. I took it’s HTML, CSS, & JavaScript courses, but I didn’t feel like I was making any progress towards anything. I think most of it had to do with the fact that everything I was learning was contained on & restricted to the platform. Additionally, there was a lot of “handholding” involved while going through each coding exercise. Eventually, I moved away from the platform to try others.

It’s also worth mentioning that during this time, I wasn’t immediately sure as to which area in the industry I wanted to get into, or rather, which area would suit me best. So, I ended up trying a lot of languages and taking many different courses on various platforms. Some of those platforms that really excelled my learning were:

The first programming language I really spent time studying was Python. The book I used for learning it was Learn Python The Hard Way by Zed Shaw. A lot of my fundamental programming knowledge came from this language and book. Other programming languages & frameworks I learned/tried out included:

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Some web development frameworks I learned and worked with were:

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During this time, I also became comfortable using my Mac Terminal, setting up test environments, different CLI tools, and version control tools like Git & GitHub. I even got into web design for a bit, explored the Adobe Suite, and learned the business side of freelancing and entrepreneurship.

I was all over the place for the first couple of years trying to find my niche.

But it was from my newfound knowledge from a freelancing course I took that convinced me that I should start a personal brand, or at least invest in a personal website. It made sense. I was planning on creating an online portfolio anyway, so I decided to finally invest in web hosting and a domain.

I got all setup within a day. I had my hosting. I had my domain. But now what? Where’s my site, and how do I use this? It just so happens from the very same freelancing course, I was also introduced to and taught how to use an open source software that now powers over 30% of all websites on the web β€” WordPress.

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And from that point on, the rest was history…


Jump to a Section

  1. Oh So Bittersweet
  2. Post-University Life
  3. Sapporo: My Second New Home
  4. My ALT Experience
  5. Living On The Poverty Line
  6. #NotAboutThatLife Part One
  7. #NotAboutThatLife Part Deux
  8. Learn To Code The Hard Way
  9. Democratize Publishing Part One
  10. Democratize Publishing Part Deux
  11. Welcome To The Chaos

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Movement. Growth. Ambition. Everything Builds.

12 thoughts on “My Journey of How I Went From Teaching English in Japan to a Career in Tech With The Coolest Company in the World

  1. Thanks for sharing your story, Paulo. Even though I knew the outcome I still held my breath a little there at the end, nervous for you! The GIFs were perfect too. Congrats on finding a career you love and on your beautiful family as well!

  2. I believe they’re always hiring. Lol. How long did it take you to do all those self-taught courses? I’m planning to apply, and I’m pretty glad I ran into your blog. I think I might do the same thing you did – take a lot of courses to prepare myself for the application.

    1. I’m pretty glad I ran into your blog.

      Thanks for stopping by! And I’m glad you were also able find something useful πŸ™‚

      How long did it take you to do all those self-taught courses?

      In total, give or take 3 years β€” a bit long, but this was on top of a full-time job, parenting, and not having any background in web development. And I literally dipped my hand into everything i.e. programming, digital marketing, design, etc.

      I might do the same thing you did – take a lot of courses to prepare myself for the application

      Yeah, that would definitely help! If I were to look back on what I could have done to prepare more effectively, maybe I would’ve considered focusing more on CSS proficiency, WooCommerce, and making sure I know how to work & navigate the WordPress.com platform like the back of my hand πŸ˜„

      I’d be glad to answer any other questions, so feel free to shoot an email anytime: https://peaeb.blog/contact/

  3. What a journey! I recently applied to become a Happiness Engineer, and I’m very anxious. This would be my dream job and I can’t wait for my first interview.
    I’m currently learning JavaScript with TreeHouse and Codecademy at the same time, using the second to practice rather than as the primary source of learning tool. I’ve also learned CSS, HTML and Python from Codecademy but I might need to practice and start working on some websites of my own, to experiment and stuff.
    While the degree I’m pursuing at university is not related to tech at all, I really want to be a developer and I think the best way to do it debt free is through self-teaching.

    1. I recently applied to become a Happiness Engineer, and I’m very anxious. This would be my dream job and I can’t wait for my first interview.

      Nice, and best of luck! If you haven’t already, check out the Happiness Engineer blog:

      https://happinessengineer.blog/

      I really want to be a developer and I think the best way to do it debt free is through self-teaching.

      Absolutely. Being self-motivated to continuously learn is an invaluable quality to have. Keep at it, and you’ll eventually find that many opportunities start opening up for you πŸ™‚

  4. Hey,
    This is the very first time, I read any post for word by word without any break. Most of the time, I read few sentences and just get the overview.

    But your post and the journey to Automatic keep me curious to read what will happen in the next line.
    It will really awesome.
    It also encouraging me to do my preparations for Automatic.

    Thank you for inspiring. πŸ™‚

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