Wesley L. Handy
Full Stack Web Developer
Origins—Academic to 2nd Career Dev: Birth–Jul 2016
Arch-Nemesis: Lack of Marketable Skills
In Summer of 2016 I was at my wits end. I had an earned doctorate, I was teaching adjunctively at three different schools with a load greater than a full-time professor, I had seven years experience in academic administration, and I couldn’t find full-time employment as an academic nor an academic administrator in a geographic area saturated with schools and universities. I was at a cross-roads—either double-down on Academia, go for a second PhD at a prestigious European institution, go into loads of debt, and perhaps still be where I started, or switch careers into something I would love and was good at doing.
I chose the latter.
I took two years of computer science courses in High School, many moons ago, and my first major in college, which due to a series of life situations was not my final major, was computer engineering. I had built simple programs in Basic, Pascal, and Fortran. I had played around with AutoCAD. But then dropped the subject altogether to get four degrees in the humanites—in philosophy, bible, intercultural studies and theology to be exact.
But I loved how computers worked. I love how they think. I love the GIGO principle (ya know, Garbage in -> Garbage Out). It means that crap software is that way because of what goes in, which also means if you can control what goes in, you might get something beautiful coming out. I love logic (formal and informal). I even taught logic to Middle Schoolers for a couple of years.
After getting some wise counsel from friends, parents, my pastor, I decided to go all-in on coding.
Discovering My Powers—Bootcamp + Self-Study: Aug 2016–May 2017
Arch-Nemesis: Time & Money
I won’t go into too much detail here. I will publish a blog that highlights the rationale behind my choices. Here’s what I accomplished in 8 months of intense training:
Completed FreeCodeCamp’s Front End Certification and most of their Back End Certification—particularly helpful was their section on algorithms and their project-focused curriculum (just try to beat my tic-tac-toe game).
Completed 3 Mongo University courses on MongoDB
Completed Rutgers Full-Stack Coding Bootcamp through Rutgers University—a 24-week intensive bootcamp teaching the MERN stack—MongoDB/MySql Express React Node
I started applying for positions in March of 2017, failed some interviews, which always helped me know what I didn’t know. But in June of 2017 I received my first three offers back in my hometown of Virginia Beach, VA. So I took one and relocated.
Hero’s Journey Begun—Professional Developer: Apr 2017–Present
Arch-Nemesis: IE11 & Imposter Syndrome
Internet Developer I -> Internet Developer II
Web Development Business Owner
On the side, I have founded Creativ, LLC for building and developing sites and ecommerce sites for local small businesses. I am currently building an online store for a Medical Supply Company.
Open Source Contributor
I have also begun making Open Source contributions to Gatsby.js—the framework with which this site is built.
What Comes Next?
Great question! I want to continue to grow as a developer. I am always looking for new things to learn (even if they are legacy to most), but I really want to continue working in Gatsby, even if only within my side-business, but definitely more in React, MongoDB, and Node.js, if possible.
Contact Wesley L. Handy with any remote opportunities as a Full-Stack MongoDB/React/Node developer. You should follow him on Twitter