Road to be part of Top 3%

not being at the top won't make me feel bad, not trying will

Posted by riel on Apr 26, 2019

I never imagined that I will be a software developer, in fact I only knew about Microsoft Word when I was already in 10th grade. I grew up in a rural area in our province, where the only computer I can think of that time is a calculator, I didn't even know that it is considered a computer aside from the fact that it computes :).

Ever since I was in High School, I have set my goal to be an Engineer, maybe an Electrical Engineer. The reason is that I really love solving problems and I love Mathematics and the closest course I can think of that time is engineering. I did not expect that a few weeks before college admission, that long goal of mine was changed. I passed a scholarship program by Department of Science and Technology, and they only offer B.S. in Information Technology in the university that I am planning to enroll to. Knowing that the scholarship is really a big help for me and my family in financial aspect, I took the offer, and that's when my journey of becoming a software developer started.

It has been a very challenging journey for me since I grew up without any knowledge about computers. I can't even type 30 words per minute. I do not have my own computer so what I did was to wait until 12 midnight and go to computer shops because they have a promo rate (less hourly rate) from midnight to 5am. Most of the people there are playing games, but not me, I am practicing touch typing since our teacher said 60 words per minute is the minimum requirement to pass her subject. Fortunately, my hardships paid off and passed the subject and even got high grades. I learned to love the field especially programming, we used to study C, C++ and java during the early years. Despite not having any computer knowledge and background before, I studied and practiced hard at computer shops, and yes, I became one of the top performer in our class. Not to boast, I even became part of the programming team that represents our school and participate in national programming competitions (ACM ICPC).

Fast forward after 3 years, web development was introduced to us. I was immediately hooked to it. Without so much experience, me and my friend went to a mall and asked the management that we will make a website for their cinema for free. We told them we just want to practice our skills in real world scenario. That was my first production project and it was built with php, without any framework. Imagining what we did before makes me smile, what have I done? :D

A year after, I am already a graduating college student, I got my first job. I worked in an outsourcing company specializing in Django development. That is where my skills really started to grow. I have worked with several projects and all of our clients are from abroad (U.S.). I worked for an office based company for almost 3 years.

After working in an office for 3 years, I realized I need to try another setup. That is where I started freelancing. My first freelance work is from Singaporean startup company, All deals leak. It was a website that crawls several deal sites for 5 countries, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Philippines. We scrape the deals using scrapy and give to the clients the statistics of the data. I was the one responsible for the business logic implementation and maintaining several servers. My client wanted me to move to Singapore and that is where we parted ways.

I worked as a freelancer in a company called Lionbridge. I was a Django developer and part of DevOps for more than 4 years. We were responsible for adding new features and maintaining their servers. Our job was to process the documents needed for translation and forward it to another company employee. The company was purchased by another company and replaced the management and employees with their own. Now, I am a full stack developer in Upwork.

To sum it up, I have been a professional web developer for more than 7 years now building business websites with Django and also RESTful API. I have also worked professionally as a frontend developer using VueJS for almost 2 years already.

Currently I have several part time clients from Upwork. It is a good platform for me since I got several jobs there and I have built my reputation already in the platform, but now I want to deal with something more, and that is when I found out about Toptal.

At first glance, they already got my attention because it is said that they only hire the top 3% of developers. As a web developer, I always seek challenging projects and learn more. I believe trying to be at the top, not even just 3% is not wrong, so long as you enjoy your journey to achieving it.

I checked some of the Toptal's django developer profiles and I think it is so good to be one of them and share my knowledge to more companies and develop my skills further at the same time. This is where I decided that I need to do this, this blog post is my first step in taking the road to Top 3% of web developers.