The Secret to a Meaningful Portfolio: Solve a Real-world Problem, with Scrimba Student Kevin

Meet Kevin Tanzyl! Originally from New Zealand, Kevin moved to Japan to become an English teacher. But after a while, he felt like he hit a plateau. Kevin then tried coding, and after a sting in the infamous tutorial hell, he discovered Scrimba. While learning to code, he made a React app for English teachers, which is still used in Japanese schools! This game-changing portfolio project for Kevin caught the eye of employers and recruiters alike.

Within a couple of months, Kevin got his first developer job, but several months later, he realized that it wasn't a good fit after all. In this episode, you'll find out all about Kevin's career change, learning path, and hurdles along the way. You'll learn how to pick your portfolio projects and why you should focus on basic programming principles while maintaining a technology-agnostic approach. Kevin also shares his approach to dealing with stubborn bugs, why "no pain, no gain" applies to coding, and how learning to code compares to learning a new language. Plus, how's the work culture in Japan different from the Western one?

🔗 Connect with Kevin
⏰ Timestamps
  • "Software development involves a lot of math, so I avoided that" (01:13)
  • How Kevin started teaching English in Japan (02:51)
  • Why Kevin wanted a career change from teaching: the tech world doesn't stop! (03:51)
  • How did learning programming compare to learning languages? (04:56)
  • Why Kevin struggled to learn to code - and how he solved that (05:43)
  • Do you need to go to university to become a software developer? (07:25)
  • What are the differences between a software developer and a web developer? (08:06)
  • Community break with Jan the Producer (09:37)
  • Kevin learned on Udemy, freeCodeCamp, and,  ultimately, Scrimba (12:17)
  • Tutorial hell (14:02)
  • The path of least resistance is not the right one for coding (14:57)
  • How to fix very stubborn bugs (15:53)
  • How Kevin made his number one portfolio app (16:44)
  • Picking a portfolio app: ask your friends and family and solve a real problem they have! (18:56)
  • Killing three birds with one stone (I mean, feeding three birds with one scone!) (21:05)
  • How Kevin landed his first dev job... and didn't like it (23:20)
  • How Kevin landed his second dev job (24:24)
  • "They just wanted to see the willingness to learn" (26:05)
  • Quick-fire questions! (26:43)
  • Did Kevin have a tech interview? (28:13)
  • Your portfolio helps an interviewer help you (28:50)
  • "What are the things you think are lacking?" (30:01)
  • The working culture in Japan (33:13)
🧰 Resources Mentioned
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The Secret to a Meaningful Portfolio: Solve a Real-world Problem, with Scrimba Student Kevin
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