Stressful, isolation, poor hygiene, questionable living circumstances and dietary habits, cold, basement tan. These are the thoughts that came to mind when I thought about coders or software engineers. It did not sound appealing at all.
But over the last few years, I have found myself replacing some of those initial thoughts with things like: determination, focus, pizza, alcohol, problem solving, useful, community, likeminded individuals, and a career.
These were all things that related to what I want in my life! The focus, the career, the alcohol, community, and usefulness. These were all things I went searching for almost 8 years ago when I stepped foot into my first year of college. But you know what I got after 5 years, 2 out of the 8 things on my list and some extra things I didn’t even ask for!!! I don’t regret my choice of spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on 2 pieces of card stock that have never seen the light of day. But I do wish I had known that I could find the same level of education and even more fulfillment by taking a course in a fraction of the time.
When my partner made the decision to go to a coding bootcamp all I could think were those initial thoughts. But after 7 months at the coding bootcamp he came out a better man, maybe a better man who ate a lot of pizza and drank a lot of beer, but he was so determined to build all the things, and be among likeminded individuals who wanted to better themselves, he wanted to solve all the problems, and most importantly he had a career.
As I watched him casually apply to the plethora of jobs available and do interviews with just a certification — I will admit — the little green monster was super annoyed that I was working on my second degree and not getting half that attention in the job market. So I went on convincing myself that coding is not my thing and I didn’t need a basement tan and so on with the lies we tell ourselves to help us sleep at night.
When my partner got his first real job, we were ecstatic, even though it meant moving to another state. A few months in we realized we would be fine on just his income and I decided to move with him to Texas and look for a job. Well you know what, let me tell you something, just because you have 2 degrees and a whole page of Times New Roman 8 worth of experience doesn’t mean you will get a job!
After seeing my partner getting an even better job just a year and half later, and me and my 2 degrees still not having found a job, it finally clicked, it really did work, you really didn’t have to go to school for years and years to have a fulfilling career!
Yes I did things on the side, but it wasn’t a fulfilling career! I NEEDED MORE. So like the many before me who have had it drilled into them by very expensive professors, I needed to research, research, research, and google. So I did, and after collecting several points of data, listening to all the success stories (bitterly at times) I began considering it and recommending it to others. The final piece that convinced me to take the leap from corporate social worker to learning to be a software engineer was watching my mother-in-law flourish at Flatiron. It was like someone had given her the learning bug, and now I want it too.