I am a largely self-taught millennial, and I have been experiencing the hardest time getting a technology job right now. Almost every job I apply to, when I do get a response, I get a form letter: "Blah blah blah, we're impressed by your skills and experience, but we're going to concentrate on other candidates who match our needs more closely right now. kthxbye."
Never apply online. You are lucky enough to be getting a form letter for your trouble; most people just never hear anything, if they go that route.
A few of the companies make me jump through hoops, the coding challenges, before sending me the same form letter.
OK, here's the reality of things. As an autodidact, you are probably not very qualified to work on a team, because you lack the proper vocabulary to communicate with your team members. This will come through in an in-person interview (really, the only kind anyone should consider, unless they are about to graduate, and take a phone interview instead).
The way it will come through is that you will perhaps know how to solve a problem using the computer, and you might even write the correct code on the whiteboard, but you won't talk about "Big 'O' notation" (algorithmic time order complexity) correctly, you'll probably think "everything is a linked list" or "everything is a btree", and you won't be able to name algorithms, and you won't be able to answer questions like "Why did you use a bubble sort, rather than a quicksort? Why didn't you do an insertion sort when you were building your data structure?".
These may seem like trivial things to you, but on a 50 person team, you are going to drag communications to a stand-still, as people "Plain English" answers for you, or you give them plain English answers that they have to translate in their heads to the correct terminology.
At best, you will find yourself stuck in a junior or devops position as a result of this (and you will be lucky if it's devops, because that requires a lot more skill than just coding, and they will have to see those attributes in you).
If you insist on this (non-degreed) route as an autodidact, my advice is to get the Knuth Algoriths books, and Sedgewick C++ algorithms book, and several other books that include discussions on "Big O", and learn the vocabulary so that you'll be prepared for your next interview.
It also wouldn't hurt if you were to start an exemplary Open Source project in a compile language utilizing Linux or BSD style(9) throughout, so that you have a base of pretty code that they can look at before they talk to you, where they know that your code is at least readable, and not spaghetti.
This is in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, where you can supposedly just walk across Market Street and get a new job.
You can, for the most part, if you've already got experience, and you already have the cred -- either via a degree, or via Open Source, or via work history.
But contrary to what Mark Cuban is currently telling everyone, we are not in another tech bubble. If we were, companies would be hiring 3rd year CS students out of college for outrageous salaries so that they could demonstrate growth by the number of cubicle warmers hthey have sitting in their cube farm. Or, I guess, these days, sitting in their Open Plan office space.
Tech companies are not (yet) back to the days of hiring cubicle/seat warmers.
All these Learn to Code, Hour of Code, Computer Science for Everyone are doing is giving false hope. You learn to code, but you got no qualifications.
You don't learn to code from those things.
You have to pay one of Dice's commercial partners out of your own pocket to get the qualifications
Certs are BS, with a few exceptions (Cisco Network engineer, Oracle DBM, etc.) and are really narrow scope, when they are of value. If I see a bunch of 1-2 week certs on a resume, I tend to put it at the bottom of the pile. Many companies, in fact, say that their initial offer to someone will go down, all other things being equal, if they *have* an MSCE cert.
. That's what every employer is holding out for: Qualifications that they're not paying for.
I suspect that I will have to start my own company, just to create my own qualifications. This job market sucks.
Starting your own company will solve your employment problem. It won't solve your vocabulary/communication problem, and unless you end up as an aquihire because your company itself is seen as valuable, and is aquired by a big player, don't ever expect experience at your own company, without a degree, to get you into places that have those requirements. If you had 10 years experience as a consultant, you're still going to face the same "jump through hoops to prove you would be a good team member" style interview.
The only difference that starting a company will make is that with a large block of work on your resume, you're more likely to make it past the online applications/recruiters who tend to grade on resume. Which takes us back to rule #1: Never apply online.