The Road to Code

Posted by camneu37 on January 5, 2018

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been searching tirelessly for my passion in life, for that one thing that really makes me tick. As a child I tried almost every sport, instrument, and club there was, most of which I enjoyed but none that I really loved. This routine continued throughout college as I switched majors 9 times before finally settling on Psychology…mostly because it was the only one of interest which would allow me to graduate on time. I toyed with the idea of pursuing advanced degrees in Psychology, but just couldn’t justify spending that much time and money on something I wasn’t truly passionate about. Not really sure what to do next, I decided to move from my small hometown in Florida to NYC, without a job and with a months notice. I figured everything would work itself out once I got there and by some stroke of luck, it did. I found a job within the first week of moving there (and on Craigslist, if you can believe it) and within another few weeks found the perfect apartment. I had a real, salaried job and was living in one of the world’s greatest cities - my adult life was off to a great start!

Fast forward 5 years and I’m still with that same company, but feeling more and more burnt out with each passing day. I’ve made a lot of changes in my personal life, one being a move to the West Coast (with a pit stop in Cleveland along the way), but it feels like my work life has been in a standstill. In my first few years I quickly advanced through multiple positions in the company - going from analyst to coordinator to one of the top producing project managers. While I’ve continued to excel in my role as a project manager, I have been feeling disengaged and dissatisfied with the work for quite some time. I don’t want to discount my time with the company - it’s been an incredible experience and I wouldn’t trade it if I could - I’ve just had this feeling I’d be happier if I found something I could be truly passionate about.

So I decided to go back to the habits of my younger years and explore any and every area of interest. Over the past year or so, I’ve spent countless hours researching various potential careers. I’ve researched the fields of psychology, finance, accounting, law, and many others. All seeming at least slightly interesting to me, but not enough to push me to put in the work necessary to pursue careers in them. That is, until I stumbled upon the world of coding.

I had never considered computer science in the past…I had just always assumed I’d find it boring. However, as I researched other topics, I kept seeing ads pop up on facebook and other sites about learning to code for free, and thought why not give it a try? I’ll admit I was also watching Mr. Robot at the time which made the idea of coding seem even cooler to me. Anyways, I decided to sign up for some free courses online. I started with HTML (mostly because that was the only programming language I had actually heard of at the time) and immediately fell in love with coding. I found the process of writing code to be really fun and it was so rewarding to be able to see the immediate effect of that code. For the first time I found something I truly enjoyed that could also be a career!

After a few weeks of working through free courses, I decided it was time to do some further research so I could start working to turn this new dream into a reality. The biggest push came after talking to a close family friend who happens to be a software engineering manager at IBM. He was very helpful and encouraging, and convinced me I should take a serious look at investing in more advanced education for programming. I came away from the call feeling excited about all of the possibilities and ready to take action. Within a couple weeks I had applied and been accepted (and even offered a scholarship) to Flatiron School’s Online Web Developer Program and with that I was finally on the road to a new and exciting career!