I’ve been learning programming for 2 years now. I can’t call it “learning” any longer, it’s just “coding” almost every day, coding for my work, coding for my side projects, coding for my university projects. And reading: books, others’ code, blogs, anything that I find useful for improving my programming style.

However, coding itself did not make a programmer out of me. I am still a Manager, a Scrum Master: very close to programming, but not close enough. As we say in Russia “blizok lokot’, da ne ukusish’” - literally means “Your elbow is close, yet you can’t bite it”.

Recently I decided that if I keep going with the flow, I will probably never become a programmer at all. So I told myself: Natasha, you need to take a step. But as I am not a very brave person (not at all), my step was very small: to find a part-time freelance job, not more than 10-15 hours per week, so that I can do it on weekends. The idea was to feel the taste of money made by coding, and to see how do I like it.

Although I touched many different technologies over the past 2 years (Java, Ruby, Python, JS, ReactJS/NextJS, a bit of Devops, this and that), but still the most confident I am in my Python skills. So my plan was to find some Python-related part-time projects, ideally writing web scrapers, processing data, etc.

My brother recommended me Upwork, where I registered yesterday, filled in my profile and passed the Python & English tests there. This is what I wrote in my self-description:

Hi, I am a part-time Python developer, specialized in Web scraping. I have a full time office job (Product Manager in Mobile development team). The reason I am here is to have fun (as I love programming) and at the same time to help you with your Python-related tasks:

  • Build web scrapers
  • Optimise your existing scrapers

I do not like messy code, so I write clean and maintainable code in timely manner.

Technologies I use for scraping: Python, Selenium, BeautifulSoup and Pandas.

I did not put anything into “Employment history”, as I think my employment history is not very relevant.

The answer I received today was “We have reviewed your application to join, and regret to inform you that we are unable to accept your Upwork freelancer registration at this time.”.

I was really angry at first. I thought, how can you judge my ability to code if you never even saw my code? There was no real coding test, just multiple choice theory test which I passed. My colleague laughed at me, said I should have written some made-up employment history, and also should have mentioned more technologies in self-description.

So the whole evening I felt some bitterness inside, but now calmed down. First of all, there are already too many freelance programmers in Upwork much more skillful than me, why would Upwork want even more programmers? Secondly, it was only a single attempt, still can try again. Lastly, I remembered stories of my talented friends/colleages who were rejected for jobs. Even thought of Jack Ma who did not get waiter’s job in KFC. After that completely calmed down, no reason to be upset at all :)