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I was once in a similar situation. I was a first generation college student and I moved away from home right around the time my mom started having grand Mal seizures from a brain tumor. She also was having problems and into meth. She also was getting foreclosed on and she wasn't filling her taxes.

During that time I took it on myself to get into a college and find some scholarships. I had to do multiple years of back taxes for her to complete the fafsa.

When I finally moved away I had about 2 garbage bags full of clothes to my name. I wish I would have done great at school, but a wave of depression hit me and I stopped going to classes. I eventually got evicted and was homeless. My scholarship was put on hold and I couldn't register for classes.

I was still a curious person and I guess not very practical. So rather than fix my problems I just read books at the library and used their computers to learn things. I worked my way through Feynman lectures on physics and TAOCP.

Eventually I did get a job at a electronics factory so I wasn't homeless anymore. I bought some library surplus books for 0.50 (including "the c programming language" and a book on XHTML). I used that to get a part time web dev job for $10/hr. It was actually a higher rate but less hours. I was on food stamps for a couple months. I still feel kind of bad about that.

I learned alot, worked my way up to $14/hr. I used that knowledge to get a "real" full time dev job for $50k/year around 2008.

After that my story isn't really affected much by how I started. I switched jobs every few years. I'm now pretty highly paid and work remote for a bay area company.

I'm not sure if this is helpful. The fact that I was just starting out helped me get that stepping stone student job. If you already have the experience I'd say it's like riding a bike. Just build a couple projects on your own and you'll get up to speed pretty fast.

I hope it's helpful knowing that you can go from homeless and learning in the library to highly paid engineer.

Yes it does. Thank you for the comment. I am currently at the library. On weekends it is a little harder to get started early as the library does not open till 10a, but I am working with what I have. :)

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