A love of tech from the start
My first computer was a Macintosh SE II, I’m not really sure why we had it at home at a time when personal computers weren’t really all that prevalent, but we did. It didn’t really do much either, but I loved playing on it; I always longed to learn more about how to use it, but there wasn’t really anyone around to teach me, so I relegated myself to playing brick and messing around with random programs. My love of technology, however, strengthened throughout the years.
My first experiences programming–unless we’re counting creating crappy fan sites on GeoCities in elementary school–was in high school, when I took Intro to Programming. We used Visual Basic and created widgets that performed basic tasks such as calculation. I really enjoyed it, but for some reason came to the conclusion that it wasn’t for me. I’m not sure if it was a combination of trying to not appear to be a computer nerd in high school or if the class I was in was too rowdy, but I decided to drop computer science–besides, my goal at the time was to become a veterinarian and I would never need programming for that.
A Poor First Taste of Programming of Leads Me Astray
My degree 1.0 was in biology and there was no programming involved. As a biology degree is really nothing but a springboard to some other health sciences degree, I decided that pharmacy would be a rewarding career with a 100k+ guaranteed salary. Though, I knew that retail pharmacy wasn’t exactly what I wanted to pursue. During pharmacy school, I was introduced to programming again.
Pre 2010-ish pharmacy was the it career. Having recently required a doctoral degree, there was a national shortage and companies were throwing money at new grads. It was at the top of US News World Report best professions. It was the “most trusted profession”. In response, pharmacy schools began opening up across the country. Enrollment skyrocketed. The trend quickly reversed. Gloom and doom set in. Reddit and the Student Doctor Network forum filled with “the sky is falling” type posts. Would I be able to find a job after graduating?
A Love of Coding and Technology Reignited
This fear, a desire to learn something new, a public push that “everyone should know how to program” led me to try programming again. This time with a focus on web development. I’m not sure where I started. It might’ve been Stanford Open Courses or Codeschool.com but I started learning and building things in my spare time and really fell in love with programming again.
Shortly into my career as a pharmacist, it was evident that the profession is slowly being suffocated by corporate greed, PBMs, and poor public perception. Eventually, the only thing getting me through some days was a mantra of “one day I’m going to be out of here and working in tech.” I thought that I could self-study my way to a job but no luck. I racked up online certifications but that didn’t help either. I even attended an online bootcamp, but still wasn’t able to find a job.
All of this frustration eventually brought me to do the one thing I swore I wasn’t going to do, which was enroll in school again. But I’m glad I did, because OSU Post-Bacc program, and the community that it provides, gave me the tools I needed to finally break into a career in tech as a Software Engineer.