Not sure how anyone does it

a slight departure

This blog will be a slight departure from previous blog formats. Usually provide a recap of work done the previous week, along with a reflection on what went well and what didn’t. This week I want to focus my attention on school and work. Specifically, working as an engineer while taking classes in Computer Science and how on Earth anyone manages both throughout the program

background

I started pursuing a second degree in Computer Science in the spring of 2019. Well, if you count the time I applied to the program and was denied in 2017, I suppose even longer. But spring of 2019 is when I decided to take a class or two at a local community college and apply to the program again.

My efforts paid off and I was accepted to begin the program in the fall of 2019. At the time I was working as a software analyst for a tech company. The role was a hybrid of system implementation, consulting, support, and data analyst. The job did not require much program outside of writing SQL and the occasional utility to automate work.

Because what I was doing in school and work was different enough, I did not experience much burnout, aside from the long hours. I was staring at a computer monitor all day, but that is a life I am used to, having spent most of my free time in my early twenties staring at computers screens playing PC games.

That all changed this past June. I started an internship as a software engineer with a company based out of Portland. Along with my internship I began putting more time into interview prep and started a summer course. So with the necessary setup…

text editor all day everyday

I felt the pain of writing code all day within a few weeks of my summer course. Between work, interview prep, and coursework I was staring at a text editor between 6-12 hours a day. Luckily my job and my coursework used different languages and were slightly different areas. I wrote Angular and C#/.NET Core during the day, Python/C# for interview prep, and Python for my class. I was able to manage all three for the summer and the month+ break before fall term was much needed.

Fast forward to week 5 into my final term and I am FEELING IT. I contribute more at work and have more responsibility. I’ve been hired on as a full-time engineer and am deep in implementing a brand new HRIS platform, building the backend services, frontend, and data transformation pipelines that allow us to interface with external ERP systems. In school I am working on a full-stack web application with two teammates as well as writing web APIs in C#/.NET for my cloud application course.

It is rough. Luckily my boss has been understanding and there are days I just cannot contribute much at work. He knows there is only a few weeks left and has allowed me to take more time throughout the day to not stare at a text editor.

no idea

…how students who were already engineers before this program did it. How did they manage staring at a text editor and writing code all day every day for years? How did they manage multiple projects and problems in their head day in and day out? It has been rough going. I only have a few weeks left of school. I will make it but wow I would not have been able to do both for 2+ years and I commend anyone who has.

I’ll end this blog with another quote that I hope will inspire me to get through these final weeks.

Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.

– Dwayne Johnson
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