How I became a full-stack web developer and won the Hashnode Hackathon as a student: Dev Retro 2022
What is this blog about?
This blog is all about my last one year of work and experiences that helped me become a full-stack web developer, become an active technical content writer with more than 50k blog reads, win hackathons and land freelance jobs in some well-known companies in tech.
How it all started?
Soon, after I came to know about dynamic web apps and that's where web frameworks and libraries like React and Vue came in. I started learning about React soon after (around January end) from Scrimba and created my first React project which was a basic [truth or dare generator](https://github.com/asrvd/tod-app). And then there was no going back.
Learning Frontend and Content Writing
Once I got into React, my first aim was to master Frontend Development and also start writing blogs. As I kept on learning about new things, I started writing about them in my blogs which would also help me research the topic better and get a better understanding of it. Once I was confident enough with JSX, CSS Frameworks, and React Hooks, I started exploring more Frontend Frameworks and writing about them. Most of the time, I would make a simple app and add it as a tutorial section in my blog posts.
By this time, I had already made some nice projects using React, one of which was a [Terminal Styled Portfolio Website](github.com/asrvd/ashterm) which was my first ever project to cross 50+ stars on GitHub naturally. The next thing on my bucket list was mastering Next.js and becoming a full-stack web developer.
The Full-Stack Tag
Learning Next.js was one of the best decisions as it helped me get into full-stack development without getting into some complex setup. It also helped me get a better understanding of APIs and Databases. I also made some more cool projects like a lyrics API with frontend, a GitHub stats generator, An app to create polls and share them and a few others. While building and sharing the projects on GitHub, more people started finding my projects and my GitHub stars and followers increased a lot. I gained around 120 followers and more than 350 stars in the last 11 months on GitHub. Apart from that [my blogs](dev.to/asheeshh) also started performing well. By July 2022 I had already become a full-stack web developer and content writer.
Winning my first Hackathon
Hashnode launched the [Planetscale x Hashnode Hackathon](https://townhall.hashnode.com/planetscale-hackathon) in July and it was the perfect way for me to test my Web Dev skills! It took around 2 weeks to find a great idea which was basically an app to create widgets where you can add all your sponsor links. I spent the remaining 2 weeks building the app. Here is the [repository](github.com/asrvd/ponsor) for the app and it's live [here](ponsor.vercel.app). To be honest, I didn't even expect my project to win because there were literally hundreds of projects and most of them were from seasoned Web Developers.
But but but-I made it! My project was in the [top 5](https://townhall.hashnode.com/planetscale-x-hashnode-hackathon-winners) in the Hackathon and that was literally an unbelievable moment for me. Winning the first-ever hackathon I participated in was like a dream come true for me. And I still can't thank Hashnode enough for bringing out this amazing opportunity. This helped me get a lot more confident with my skills.
Landing freelance jobs in tech
By August 2022, I was confident enough to apply for freelance or part-time job positions in tech, most of which were for content writing positions. My first freelance position was at [Kinsta](kinsta.com) as a technical content writer. And the second was at [Scrimba](scrimba.com} as a technical content writer.
Getting these opportunities would never have been possible if I didn't start blogging. Blogging really played a major role in my tech career as a beginner.
Open Source was the next big thing that helped me a lot in 2022. Being on GitHub and actively contributing to other Open-Source projects helped me a lot to get to know what production scale apps look like and how they are maintained. I also became a maintainer for the [create-t3-app](github.com/t3-oss/create-t3-app) project which is a CLI tool to scaffold a t3 app based on the [t3 stack](create.t3.gg).
Also, a big shoutout to [Anthony Campolo](https://twitter.com/ajcwebdev) for being my first-ever GitHub Sponsor, it motivated me a lot to keep working on Open Source projects.
Looking back at 2022, I think it has been one of the best years of my life and I was able to achieve a lot. Most of which was achieved just by working consistently. Believe me, when I say, you only need to work consistently to become a successful developer. YouTube Tutorials and Blogs are all good but there's no point in watching/reading them if you don't actually put the knowledge to practical use. Let others know that you actually know what you have learned. And to do that, you just need to do one thing - make more projects.
This blog wasn't meant to provide guidance or anything. I just wanted to share my experience of 2022 but maybe it would motivate some of you, I hope so! So, here's to yet another year of accomplishments and learnings, cheers!! 🥂
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