Hey, Tom 👋 Nice to meet you - do you want to give a quick introduction to yourself?
Hi, my name is Tom Shaw, I’m a self-taught software developer and content creator from Nottingham, UK. I first started learning to code in April 2020 (apart from the odd attempt at HTML and CSS when I was younger). Since then I have worked on many projects as a freelancer and even worked on some of my own projects as a part of my “entrepreneurial” journey.
You didn’t break into tech through the traditional routes like University or a coding Bootcamp. How has your journey differed?
Like many developers, I started learning to code because I had an idea for a software product. I just found a Udemy course and ran with it. Pretty soon after closing my startup (interesting story), I started getting requests to build software for other companies. Next thing I know, I’m working as a full-time freelance software developer.
What would be your three top tips for anyone else looking to start out as a self-taught dev?
- Make it fun. You’ll find it so much easier to keep going when things get tough.
- Take your own initiative to learn. Just following someone else's roadmap might not be the best way for you to reach your goals.
- Build real projects. Copying code from YouTube tutorials all day isn’t going to get you anywhere. Pick a problem that you want to solve and then figure it out along the way.
As a freelance developer, what are the biggest challenges that you face and how do you overcome them?
Managing myself is something I’ve never been good at. I find it very easy to take a lot on, which is great when you’re having a productive and focused day, but we all have days where things don’t go our way. Having lots of commitments on those days is very difficult, but that’s part of life, I guess.
Like most people, I overcome challenges and difficult times by thinking about my goals and how much they mean to me. Then it just takes willpower to come up with a solution to overcome whatever obstacle is in front of me.
Congratulations on hitting 100k on socials recently 👏what motivates you to stay active on social media and how does it help you in your professional life?
Social media has always been the driving force for my career. Since I was 17, I have been using it to promote various projects and ventures. I’m definitely motivated by the positive feedback that I get from my audience, as well as the progression opportunities that come from having an audience.
Lastly, most developers have goals to move up through the ranks. Do you have any big goals that you’d like to achieve if you’re able to share them with us?
Like every other person, my goals change all the time. Currently, I’m working on Code Planner (https://codeplanner.co/), which is a SaaS product that enables developers to plan their coding projects. My focus is on building a more autonomous business that can help to fund my passion for building projects and creating content. As long as I can do that, I’m a happy guy.