I am disabled and unemployed. Is it possible to learn coding well enough to be able to secure a job and work from home?

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Hey Fernando,

the whole community welcomes you! I'm really glad to see you as one of us - the awesome people of Hashnode. :)

Promise me one thing - please don't allow your condition to dictate your life. You are much, much stronger than you think. If you are passionate about programming and loves to do it, no matter your current status, you can get the job you want. It will be hard, it will be time consuming and exhausting, but it will totally worth it.

First of all, find what you really like - web development, mobile development, desktop development and start learning. Find resources (there are plenty of topics and links here), learn and practice. Build toy projects, ask questions, answer questions, find a place to share your knowledge and experience (Hashnode is a great place for that) and enjoy the whole journey.

You will have many difficulties, problems you can't solve, code you can't understand and that is absolutely normal. Don't get discouraged by that! You will eventually find all the answers you need. Programming is a never-ending adventure, full of new discoveries and struggles.

Your disability shouldn't worry or scare you, quite the contrary - it should motivate you! From my early years I've been stuttering. At some point I wasn't able to speak a whole sentence without stopping. Do you know how I tackled this problem - I started working in a call-center, where I had to talk for 5-6 hours a day. I was scared, not knowing how everything will go, but I did it anyway. Still one of the best decisions in my life.

The moral takeout of the story is, that you should chase your dreams, no matter what! Your persistence and hard work will be rewarded eventually.

We've discussed different learning roadmaps and plans in the past here at Hashnode, so you can search for them. If you can't find a particular answer, feel free to ask it.

Good luck!

Thanks for those encouraging words, @Kleo 😊 Nice to meet you.

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Yes, it's very possible. It's also quite difficult. If you have an economical support system, you should be able to make it work, but if it's something you have to do before date X, it might be a problem, both since everyone learns at a different pace, and because quite honestly you might find out that it's not for you.

I would suggest Javascript for a beginner. Start at the front-end, that's an area where there is tons of work being done, tons of new work created all the time, and (last but not least) tons of tutorials and free courses available.

After that, you can (if you want to) work on a back-end language, but I would suggest trying to find paying work in the front-end first. Many jobs require full stack experience (front and back-end), but being good at front-end development should be good enough for tons of jobs. Then, when you've got a few paying jobs behind you and want to expand your job opportunities, you can select a back-end language. Which is up to you, and you'll be much better able to make that decision when you come to it.

You COULD actually become a very experienced full stack developer without spending a penny on anything but your computer and power and internet bills. But there are also tons of resources that are very valuable and worth what they cost. You'll decide which those are as you go along. Pro tip: try before you buy.

Finally: The good news is that working from home is very common in the business, the bad news is that many people will require weekly/monthly or even just random face-to-face meetings/group sessions and stuff like that. Honestly, if travelling isn't too much of a bother for you, that shouldn't be a problem for you depending on your disability. It's either one of those "remember we're all in this together" things, or a "let's get everyone in a room so we know everyone is on the same page" things. That's usually quite social, and generally considered a good thing. You could also manage to just work from home, but chances are you will find that that excludes you from a lot of good work, and there are some really nice people in this business that you could really benefit from meeting and talking to face to face, even if you have a disability. IT is an extremely inclusive field, and I think you'll be surprised how little disabilities matter when you're deep into a discussion about which framework is the best representation of MVC, or which state library is "best". :)

Tom, your answer is by far the most practical one. I was at an Audiology office recently and it said on the monitor, something to the effect, your hearing impairment will often cause people to think you are either "rude or witless." I was impressed that you noticed the fact that, sooner or later, people are going to want to meet you in person if you're going to make any growth progress in your career.

I've been self-employed almost all of my life beginning in high school when a local trader from EF Hutton/Dean Witter Reynolds needed some software written so he contacted the computer teacher at my HS (I was the teacher's assistant for a year by that time).I've done some decent things, wrote a book that was published (still on Amazon after many years), created some novel technology (Microsoft patented it; funny, they invited me to "Partners in Innovation" - thanks Partner).

Long story short, when I did finally try a Fortune 500 firm (Panasonic) at their urgent request to turn down all other offers, when the boss discovered it, it was a rude awakening. He tried here and there, but in the end, people have little patience.

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as someone with a physical disability who's been in web development for 15 years, I can tell you from personal experience, your disability and the ability to land a job are totally irrelevant from one another. Your ability to code and develop applications is what will land you a job.

My current job, which I've been at for 2 1/2 years, is only somewhat accessible. I say somewhat because there is a flight of stairs that are the only way up to the office. On my interview, it was clear they were going to offer me a job, and when they did, they asked me if I needed any accommodations. The first one I asked for was a railing on the stairs, which would make it that much easier for me. The second was the ability to work from home when my body was having an "off" day. I explained what I meant and they had no problem whatsoever allowing me to work from home when needed.

I tell you this because other jobs have offered me the same thing, as it's common. They knew in order to get the skill set I bring, they would need to provide me with "reasonable" accommodations, which is actually a legal requirement if you live in the US.

As for resources to what to learn and how to learn it, others have provided excellent answers. Don't forget Q&A sites like StackOverflow and ExpertsExchange are great tools as well for learning.

Don't look as your disability as a hindrance, but rather just another part of who you are. If people don't like it, their loss, not yours :) If you have any specific questions, feel free to post here or message me privately!

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Everything is possible if you believe and take action!

There's a saying that goes something like this: You are what you think

If someone else did it, you can do it too!

As for programming, what you need to know as a beginner is that, this profession is hard and you have to work hard to stay motivated through the tough times. In order to understand a particular concept, don't be afraid to repeat what you already know or you think you know, because it will help you to understand the concept better and better every time you learn the same thing.

If you are interested in Web Development, I'd suggest starting with HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript (also known as Front-End) before moving on to the server side (also known as Back-End) and Databases.

As mentioned in other posts, there are a ton of free resources, ranging from youtube video tutorials, conference talks, books, podcasts, blog posts/articles etc. which you can learn from.

Remember that the only hard part of finding the resources is figuring out the quality of the resources you are learning from.

Some of the content is not free, but it's worth investing money in your new career if the quality of the content is high.

Some blogs and websites I recommend:

(I'll add more blogs later if they come to mind)

Paid Content Websites

  • Pluralsight (General Courses surrounding web development and the areas connected to it)
  • Team Treehouse (General Programming courses)
  • Laracasts (Modern PHP+JS Development, if you choose PHP as your language of choice)
  • Code School (General Programming courses)
  • TutsPlus Courses (General courses ranging from Code, Web Design, Business, Visual Design etc.)

The most important thing that you need to know is, before moving on to another language, make sure to build a few projects, spend a few months working with it without using any of the advanced stuff like frameworks or libraries that help you build apps faster. I am saying this, because you'll need to learn the basics of the language(s) first, before moving on the modern tools, frameworks and libraries.

Follow along with the course practical projects and you'll have a few projects to refer back when needed. Also, they could serve as your practical portfolio that you at least learned something. It is better than nothing!

The web development communities will help you if you need help, don't be afraid to ask! I am part of a few Slack communities like:

Before I forget, The Awesome List of Resources will help you find stuff where to learn from.

I am sorry if I overwhelmed you with resources but you have a choice what you will learn and where you will learn from.

Good luck with your new career as a web developer (if you choose that path) and have fun!

Ruffles

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Hi Fernando!

NextBillion.org runs a free 12-week mentorship program in the field of technology – by connecting people with disabilities with industry leaders as mentors. The first cohort is almost complete with 30 mentorships around the world, and the second cohort is launching soon. It would be a great opportunity for you (and anyone else on this thread who is interested in being a mentor or mentee) to apply and be a part of the program.

(Full disclosure: I'm the co-founder of NextBillion.org; feel free to message me naitik at nextbillion.org and I'd be happy to help)

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