You Already Have 10 Years Of Experience

One thing that always intimidates me on job descriptions is when companies are looking for someone with “10 years of experience”. It’s one requirement that no matter how good you are at whatever you do, you can’t fill without 10 years of experience.

This week at Dev Bootcamp, we had Code Academy Learning Architect Adam LupuΒ come talk about how to learn. His talk made me realize that we all already have 10 years of experience, even when we’re just starting to learn to code.

Unlike a young child with no concept of the world, adults are trained by experience in all kinds of disciplines and previous life experiences. Therefore, when we’re just starting to learn to code, we’re not starting with a completely blank slate like a child does. We can apply our previous experience from whatever we’ve done to help us frame coding into something we can easily pick up and understand. In fact, as Adam Lupu pointed out, we learn the best when we apply our previous knowledge to understand the current new thing we’re learning.

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  • But the adds are saying “10 years of experience in programming”, not general life experience… I dont really get it… can you explain?

    • I guess I just don’t see the “10 years of experience” for any profession as very intimidating any more. I know that no matter what I do, I’m not starting from scratch. I probably still won’t get the job that requires “10 years of programming experience” right now, but I don’t really care b/c I know I can learn stuff much faster because of my previous experience.

      Also, having “10 years of programming experience” is not a good metric to put in a job application in general. I think people who have other experience and some programming experience can really bring in an amazing point of view that can bring serious innovation to a company. For example, some of the students I work with in Dev Bootcamp are so creative from their previous experience, that I know once they pick up coding basic, they will be making the most innovative and amazing stuff that people with 10 years of experience wouldn’t even think of.

      Not sure if this answers your question. This is more of an observation than a practical thing.

      • Yes, now I get what you mean. I agree with you. Although for some jobs experience is also important.

  • Marcus

    Sounds an interesting course Natasha. Will you be writing a Bootcamp Diary?

    • Hi Marcus,

      All my recent posts from the past 4 weeks have been stuff I learned at Dev Bootcamp. If you want more diary-like experiences, check out the blogs from other students at

  • Marcus

    Out of interest, how long did CS106A take you? Did you then progress to learning Ruby immediately afterwards? What drew you to Ruby? What is the best way to learn Ruby? (I’ve signed up for Satish’s course. )

    I’m in a quandary. I want to start a blogalogue about my code journey, (like you), but want to use Nanoc. Trouble is, Nanoc requires Ruby.

    (It’s one of those vicious circle problems like the employee problem. The employer requires experience, but the new employee can’t get experience unless someone employs them…)

    I want to start a blog on the process of learning to code….but to set the blog I need some code knowledge. I’ll probably just have to stick to flaming WP 😐

    • Hi Marcus,

      I recently wrote a pretty detailed post about how I learned to code here:

      I’m not familiar with Nanoc, but I’m sure you can figure out how to set it up. I’m personally really happy with WordPress, even though I’m now at a point where I can build a blog from scratch. However, I’d rather spend my time building other things.

      Let me know if you have more questions,

      • I got really inspired by you, and will also take this course you mentioned in the article. Right now I am taking course in C#, but my journey started with html, than css, than javascript. And the more I learn, the more exciting all becomes. Makes me feel like I have a superpower πŸ˜‰

      • Hi Agnes,

        If you really like JavaScript, you might want to continue learning it πŸ™‚ It is becoming more and more important for the web. You can now even build a back-end using node.js. The only issues is that it’s hard to learn JavaScript online. Ruby or Python have much better documentation and cleaner code.

        It’s awesome that you get so excited about this stuff!! Can’t wait to see what you make.

  • Marcus

    It’s a great article Natasha. You are a bit of a trailblazer I think. (Well done πŸ™‚ )

    It seems serendipitous that you chose Ruby. It seems to be a highly rated language.

    • Haha… Well, I head Ruby is one of the hottest languages to know right now, so I just went with it, and I’m glad I did. It’s a pleasure to work with it, especially after Java and JavaScript.