Portrait of Loreleï, apprentice web developer

Today we're talking to Loreleï, a work-study developer, who tells us about her career path.

··7 min. read
Share on TwitterShare on Linkedin
Cover Image for Portrait of Loreleï, apprentice web developer

Loreleï is a web developer in an apprenticeship program, coming from a career change. Her journey has been filled with obstacles, but she possesses incredible determination.

Hello, Loreleï, could you introduce yourself briefly?

  • Hey there 👋, I'm Loreleï, soon to be 35 years old (I'm in denial), and I'm a newcomer to the world of web development. I embarked on my career change journey in 2022. The beginnings were a bit chaotic, but things started looking up afterwards.

What's your background? (Education/previous job)

  • Listening to my parents, who constantly reminded me that having a high school diploma was the "gateway" to all other paths, I managed to get through the Literary version, with an Arts option (we like drawing around here). However, once I had the diploma, I didn't know which door to walk through next.

    • So, I tried various things. From a Jewelry-Making CAP to an English degree, and through odd jobs to pay for my MANAA (Applied Arts Foundation Year), I often felt emotionally drained by paths that seemed great on paper but perhaps weren't where I could see myself growing and staying for life.
  • Between multiple burnouts and numerous periods (more than a few, in reality) of unemployment and no income, I eventually accepted a job in a Hotel Training Center. This job later turned into a cooking internship, then a CAP (Vocational Training Certificate), then an HND (Higher National Diploma) in hotel and restaurant management...

  • I thought I had found my place, even though I hadn't fully chosen it. I thought I would spend my life in the kitchen, doing prep work in the morning and afternoon. No more holidays, no life beyond cooking. After all, if I could make a living from it, I owed that much to the world of hospitality. That's what I thought. I thought I had to sacrifice everything for this world and that life had nothing else in store for me, and that this was my last chance.

  • Of course, I pushed myself too far. I slowly built up another burnout, bit by bit. But the day the rope snapped, I lost interest in everything, as I thought I had already exhausted all my chances of finding something that could truly suit me.

  • So, I took up odd jobs again. Call centers, in particular. I was good at it, staying calm in the face of rude people. A gentle descent into hell—my "before" can be summed up like that. No goals, no self-esteem, the "special" child of the family. The one who can do a lot of things but can't find her place. Until recently.

What education allowed you to learn development?

  • In early 2022, I started a Pôle Emploi (French Public Employment Service) training program for a CDA (Application Developer Designer) title, without really knowing what it entailed. My main motivation was to learn programming, because that's what interested me in the end—to learn languages and "communicate with computers." The idea fascinated me.

  • The training turned out to be a total disaster. The training center in question ended up in an article exposing fake courses. Great atmosphere.

  • I was "rejected" by OpenClassrooms in March because I had no programming knowledge, and for an apprenticeship, I needed some minimum skills.

  • But when my phantom training began to collapse and after a few months of self-learning through Codecademy, I applied again and got accepted.

  • All that was left was to find a company. Hundreds of applications, a handful of interviews, some setbacks, and then an incredible stroke of luck.

  • To answer your question, I started my contract while following the OpenClassrooms Web Dev course in November 2022.

What do you enjoy the most about your job as a web developer?

  • One of the things that strikes me is the ocean of information available, the knowledge in documentation, on YouTube, on social networks, etc.

  • For someone who enjoys learning and getting to the root of things, it's amazing.

  • And I think that's what I enjoy the most in this field—this infinite wealth of knowledge, and the fact that you can gather bits of knowledge along the way, leading you to other things, like a branching tree.

What bothers you the most about this profession?

  • What "bothers" me, and what I haven't experienced elsewhere, is how every day I question myself and tell myself to appreciate what I have now, and every day I have to prove to myself that I belong.

  • And it's strange (or not), but as I write these lines, it's been quite a few days now where I can't convince myself that I'll succeed.

  • Because every day, I feel like I know less than the day before. So, at the moment, I'm struggling with myself, and I think that's the worst part. But at the same time, I'm writing all this thinking, "It will be funny when you read this in the future," so there's still a part of me that believes I have a future in this field. We'll keep hoping!

What does a typical day with Loreleï look like?

  • It all starts with coffee.

  • Whether I'm at the company or in training, I work remotely. An incredible luxury (and a show of trust from my company).

  • During training, it's simple: I start the project I'm working on, play my playlist, and I'm off, finding my rhythm.

  • On the company side, I'm currently exploring Headless CMSs and trying out a few. This part can sometimes be a bit confusing, so I keep the documentation open. If I'm uncertain, I search, search, and search again for answers online. In case of extreme urgency, I ask for help on the work Discord (even though, yes, I agree, I don't have to wait for an urgent case to ask for help; it's always something I need to work on).

  • My day goes by, and right after, I spend some time on Codecademy. Currently, I'm learning Python, SQL, and Data Visualization (because these are things I want to include in the next phase of my career change).

  • But I rarely spend the entire evening in front of the computer. First, because at a certain point, my brain just stops functioning, and second, because I like the idea of not completely losing myself in this job, as I wanted to do with cooking. That's why I also do a lot of other things on the side that aren't always related to web development.

What technologies do you use on a daily basis?

  • JavaScript (my first love), React—I've been getting more into it lately. Recently, I've also encountered Tailwind, Next, Svelte, and Three.js—a bit, just for fun.

Do you have any advice for those who want to pursue the same career as you?

  • Have fun.

  • Even if it's not every day, even if it's not with every technology. To start, find some cool tutorials or get started on Codecademy or FreeCodeCamp. Just have a bit of fun at least. That's what keeps me going.

  • Eventually, if you feel up to it, try making a mini-game, like Snake or something. Or better yet, do something that resonates with you and that you'll be proud of, even if it's a project that won't be finished, even if it's not perfect, even if this, even if that.

  • You can even have fun creating a CV-like website. Anything is possible.

In truth, there are tons of resources, and part of the game is finding the ones that resonate with you. May the odds be in your favor.

Where can we find you on social media?

  • I'm primarily on Twitter @taisezmoi,
  • I'm also present on LinkedIn, and I launched the Code Nautilus podcast (@codeNautilus on Twitter) a few months ago.
  • Currently, it's on pause because I need to focus on other things, but I have several ideas for the future.
Share on TwitterShare on Linkedin