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Can you become a web developer if you are 40

After receiving this question plenty of times, I decided to write an article about it.
I would like you to know that this is just my story and hopefully, you’ll find it of help or at least you can grasp the good things out of it. So, can you become a web developer if you are 40
?

Background

I was born in a ex-communist country, one of the poorest in Europe. Living in a communist country you’d imagine the mentality and lack of resources to outside informations.

My parents couldn’t offer me a good education as they were just simple workers, so around 11 years when the communist party fell down, I saw an opportunity to make small winnings. I went to a Fruits Store so that I will offer my services and work for them, the packages were so big that I couldn’t even move them an inch. I was so skinny due to lack of food that I used to get a stone around 5 kilos and place it in the elevator so that I would used it when I wanted to get inside my flat as I lived to the 8th floor. I was a shy guy and later became an introvert but like most of boys I didn’t want it to show it, so I was faking the brave. 
Nobody wanted to give me any job, as they were probably afraid so that I wouldn’t die. All the jobs were heavy jobs, in constructions or brewery where physical efforts was needed and I couldn’t do it.

From poverty to robbery is just one step!

Close to my 14’s I met a bigger guy, he was around 17 and he proposed me to “work” with him. He was a pick pocket. I started to “work” with him and we eventually became friends. I barely used to go home as my parents draw an addiction to alcohol. I was living on the streets with this fella and used to go to his house from time to time. Starting with this episode, my life had a bad turn until it reached the peak when I was 19. In Romania at the beginning of 19 they used to incorporate young men into military, that was required by the Law. It used to be for 12 months. So the year I was doing military clerks, my mind was clear and I started to ask myself where I wanted to go. I had no education, no basics into any profession whatsoever, so I didn’t know where to start. 

Hope arises!

After finishing the military I saw an opportunity into my cousin’s furniture company. I started to work with him but after a year he went back to US as he wasn’t able to be in two places at once, so the furniture company was closed. By the end of 2000 I started a military career and to continue my education. It ended on the end of 2005 when I’ve met my wife in Spain. 

My life begins in Spain

Since then I worked for a year into construction, and then I took an opportunity on an olive oil manufacture, packaging and bottling. I also went to study for three months a milling course of the olives… Been a small factory I used to be the “guy that is good at all things” and I was also repairing the machines and do the logistics when needed. Between 2007 and 2019 I worked for this company and be able to provide for my four kids and my wife.

Beginning To Shape the dream

In 2019 I decided to start working on my dream. 
I still live the feeling when I touched for the first time a PC keyboard. It was in 1999 when I went to a one month introductory MS-DOS course. That feeling and memory had never left me. So, I decided to go into tech industry. 
As I am writing this article I am filled with emotions. There are a mixture of emotions, I can see fear, excitement, and so many of them, positive and negative. But I know something for sure, I will never quit to accomplish my dream, that is to become a software engineer

The Sky is not the limit!

It has been a long journey, with up and downs. I faced my worst enemy: fear! 
I learnt to not listen the voices that come against what I’ve built in my life. I value people, I celebrate life, but I don’t drink my coffee with toxic people as I have a dream to pursue and I need to focus on it.
I choose to listen The Voice that encourages me!
I aim high for a guy that used to be insecure, self doubted and introvert.
But one thing I know: if I shoot at nothing I will hit every time, but if I shoot at the Moon it’s impossible not to hit at least one star!

This is part of my story!
Be encouraged and be brave!

you can find me on Twitter here

How to add a shadow to an images using CSS

Recently I needed a shadow around the image of my portfolio. So I asked around on how to do it, of course I google it as well. I found two options that I see them fit to every needs. One is on Canva and the other one is in native CSS. As Niall suggests. I chose the CSS option and I want to quickly go with you how to do it if you are a newbie like me. Here we go:

Create a transparent background.

If you like to have the shadow around the image, not on the box you should create a background to that image so that it’ll be ..well, nicer. You can do that by using Remove BG website which it’s free for a certain quality, you can access the website and upload your photo here

Before we begin I want to tell you that I also created a video tutorial that is under 2 minutes and it explains the below steps accordingly and I also added the code source on codepen here.

add a shadow to an image using CSS

Breaking points:

As usual I will break the process in points so that it will be easier to follow.

  1. create a folder on your desktop, (or whatever place you see convenient) to stock your project
  2. open your IDE (I am using VS Code)
  3. open “new file”
  4. choose the folder you created (the one in the desktop from number 1 in this list) and open it
  5. create a new file ended in .(as of dot) html
  6. write this code inside of the .html file<!DOCTYPE html><html lang=”en”><head><meta charset=”UTF-8″><meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0″><link rel=”stylesheet” href=”styles.css”><title>shadow in css</title></head><body><img class=”drop-shadow” src=”YOUR PHOTO NAME” alt=”your photo name “></body></html>
  7. Create a file ended in.(as of dot) css, in the code above titled styles.css
  8. Back to our .html file make sure you hooked up the stylesheet from the css file
  9. link the photo you want in the html file, I am referring to this line in our .html file:  <img class=”drop-shadow” src=”YOUR PHOTO NAME” alt=”your photo name “>
  10. At this point we should check the project in our local host by opening the “live Preview option” on our IDE. If you haven’t already downloaded the extension you should, the complete documentation on extension for VS Code you can find it here.
  11. inside our .css file write the following code:.drop-shadow {filter: drop-shadow(2px 4px 10px #222);}Of course you can play with pixels so that you have your desire shadow.
  12. At this point, after you saved all the project in your IDE, you could see the final image having shadow around it.

Conclusion.

Having this in our hand we can use it for our project(s) and we also learned a new thing. I hope this small tutorial will help you in your future projects.

4 Reasons to build your own Portfolio

4 Reasons why you should build your own Portfolio

Hey, long time no see. It’s been almost three weeks since I haven’t wrote, so it’s good to be back.

As usual, I don’t make long introductions, so here we go.

1. You get exposure!

creating your portfolio you get to be known. Whether is for job hunting, connecting with other developers, or practice, people will get to know what you do and what you are passionate about. A portfolio can help you also to bring new customers if you plan to freelance, in fact, a portfolio nowadays stands almost like a Resume, and it’s a must if you ask me.

2. Is a method of self-discovery and confidence building 

A portfolio can also help you in the future see the you develop your skills. You can look back and see what skills you knew, for instance, a year ago and add the skill you learn meanwhile. Having a portfolio you can ask for feedback from other devs and they can give you advice so that you’ll improve it.

3. It keeps you organized

For many of us, self – taught or students, time is important when it comes to programming. A portfolio can help you organize your accomplishments, can help you set goals and categorize your aspirations and it shows who you are and your personality.

4. It helps you implement what you are learning.

Building your portfolio helps you practice what you are learning and gives the feeling like in real life. It also helps you find a new way of working and you discover new things while you carry out the work.

These 4 reasons I discovered them by myself while I was building my Portfolio. It took me around 10 hours and I’ve created it during 10 days. It was a small personal challenge that I wanted to accomplish. You can see the work I’ve done here and the source code here.

If you’d like to know the methods and the way I created it let me know and I will write a full tutorial about it.

Until next time, keep building great things.

Three ways to build your Portfolio.

While there are plenty of tools to create a portfolio, you can develop your own.

I always thought that creating a portfolio it’s a difficult task and with a difficult task I tend to procrastinate, but this is another topic that I might tackle in a future article. Nevertheless, in time I learned that breaking difficult tasks into small steps will be easier to accomplish.

In this week’s article, I will give you three tools based on my experience to create your portfolio.

Why do you need a portfolio?

Nowadays a portfolio is more like a resume, for quite lots of companies it is imperative when you want to be hired, to present a portfolio. If you are interested in only what I used, and are in a hurry, you can skip reading the article and go at the end of it and see just the resources.

Hi, I am Luc, a web developer that struggles to beat his own results. 

WordPress

While this option is at hand, fast, pre-built, and easy to use up to a certain point, it brings a certain limitation as of what you can do and what you can not do with your portfolio, that is unless of course, you don’t have a particular theme installed.

You can use plug-ins that will help you to ease your work and gain time. But in a long run, you will encounter difficulties and your website will diminish speed and performance. I did my best to improve my WordPress website, but Lighthouse from Google always gave me under 70%, I hope you can do better than this and you’ll share the results. 

Customised portfolio

If you ask me, I would go with this option as you can build it from scratch. You can just let your imagination flow and you can always insert new things and implement whatever you are learning whenever you want.

The downside of this option is that it requires plenty of time to do it, and if you are like me that need jobs to bring food to the table then this option it’s not the best.

But, if you are willing to learn and give time then you can opt-in for this way of building your portfolio. 

Customised Theme

One of the first portfolios I created was a customized simple one-page website theme hosted on GitHub. The second one it’s also hosted on GitHub.

This option is the best that I found at the moment.

A customized theme is a free downloaded theme into your local machine and customized at your taste. 

The positive side of this option is that you see someone else’s code, you learn how to implement your code, you have access 100% to modify the content, you save time, and you learn by practicing. 

One of the downsides is that you need to have at least a basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, to modify the theme itself. If you don’t know where to start I wrote an article about my path that could help you, you can check it out here. 

Conclusion

Build with the tool you feel more comfortable and it’s easy for you to get the thing done.

I prefer the customized theme as this is a way for me to improve my own knowledge of programming and as well to practice what I have already learned. 

Use the right tools according to your portfolio project, what I mean by this is to not try to reinvent the wheel and keep things simple.

Keep in mind that there is no easy path to learn, so if the time allows you, build your portfolio from scratch.

Resources:
  • For WordPress, I use The Divi Theme. You can have a look here to see how it is. This link goes to my WordPress version portfolio built with Divi.
  • For a Customised Portfolio that you want to build from scratch, I don’t have a certain link, but you can find inspiration on these sites: Behance and Dribble
  • Customised Theme:
  • For my first theme portfolio, I used a Bootstrap Theme you can see here and my customised portfolio is here.
  • The second one I used is also a pre-made theme I downloaded and then customised it almost 90% and you can see various themes here. My actual Portfolio is hosted on GitHub and you can see the result here.

That’s it for this week, wishing you a productive week ahead, I hope you find this article helpful.

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4 Reasons why you should set goals.

Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. By setting clearly defined goals, you can measure the achievement of those goals, seeing forward progress in what you think might be a long projects.

Hello, I am Luc, a web developer in his 40’s and I document my journey into web development career.

Seeing the big picture. 

When it comes to a career both web development and financial goals go hand in hand. Make a step back, sometimes this helps to see the bigger picture and arrange by priority your goals. A Romanian artist by the name of Constantin Brancusi said that “the higher you go, the wider you see”, so stopping and focusing by writing down my goals helped me to get closer to them step by step.

  1. Setting goals is effective.

Working towards a goal is a major source of motivation which improves performance. I give you four goal-setting principles that can help improve your chances of success, according to Locke and Latham article “Toward a Theory of Task Motivation” :

  • Clarity
  • Challenge
  • Commitment
  • Feedback

Clarity and specific goals eliminate the confusion.

Challenging goals helps you accomplish more.

Commitment helps you achieve the goals.

Feedback helps you improve it.

  1. Setting a goal keeps you focused.

Setting a goal helps your mental boundaries, what I mean by this is that when you have a certain endpoint in your mind you’ll automatically stay away from distractions. It’s like preparing for your trip with the bus and you know that at 10:30 you’ll have to be at the bus station and you’ll organize your time in such a manner that you’ll be there to get the bus.

  1. Goals help you measure your progress.

I tend to look at other developers’ progress and see if I can do that as well. I have to be real when it comes to reality check as I can’t compare to anyone and I don’t allow myself this luxury as each of every one of us have different circumstances and lives. I compare my own progress. I don’t see myself “arriving” until I am not there, thus avoiding discouragements. Nevertheless, measuring progress helps me see the advance that I’ve made and brings me closer to the end goal moving me in the right direction.

  1. Goals help you overcome procrastination.

I’ve let this one the last on purpose as it’s the most important for me.

When it comes to procrastinating, I am a Jedi Procrastinator.

When you set a goal you make yourself accountableOn the other hand, this is going to do things not according to your mood and it brings a Reminder because they tend to stick in your mind. Learning to not succumb to my mood took me time, I am still fighting with it but I see over the years a great improvement.

A briefly personal view on Goals:

Setting goals can help us move forward in life and give us a roadmap to follow. Goals are a great way to hold ourselves accountable, even if we fail. Setting goals and working to accomplish them helps us define what we truly want from life.

Goals also helps us prioritize things.

We can definitely choose to wander in life without any goals, but setting goals can help us live the life we want and brings happiness.

Of course, we don’t have to live every moment of our lives planned out because we all need those days when we have nothing to accomplish, but having goals gives us also a purpose when we think everything else is falling apart.

Hopefully, this week’s article brought to you value and you enjoyed reading it. Until next time, keep your focus on your goals.