Hi there! I’m Daniel, student, career changer, software developer, father. This blog will document my journey through my final course through Oregon State University’s Post-Baccalaureate Computer Science program.
My origin story is simultaneously typical and unique. When I was younger I was always interested in technology, which I think started with video games and progressively moved to computers and general computer literacy. Once I began working (in finance) I found that all the work was handled on computers. My job was effectively to talk to people, and use some piece of software, in some way, to manage that interaction — whether to demonstrate some set of figures (e.g. balance) or display some complex piece of data (charts) or simply document an interaction, everything to be done, was done verbally and with software. Eventually I would leave that career and go back to school to pursue technology full time.
School is a wide open space, in a sense. Yes, the courses are laid out and everyone follows (generally) the same path from beginning to end (give or take some elective differences), but what you do as a student can vary dramatically. Career was on my mind from day 1, so every minute I had was spent trying to figure out how to maximize my employability in the moments outside coursework. It paid off, I got two internships at top tech firms, and now I find myself at the end of this journey, about to enter my final student hiring season of this transition into technology. I’ve learned there is a lot of unspoken knowledge regarding transitioning into employability and having impact — and this knowledge simply isn’t easy to find or freely available. I’ve learned that 99.9% of YouTube and Medium conversations on the topic are too shallow to be useful, plain wrong, or (surprise) clearly made for views more than making a meaningful change. I’ve met people who had this knowledge (which I didn’t) and created my own mental map of this tech world. That mental map is probably still very incomplete but lightyears better than where I started, and it’s nice to start to develop a lay of the land.
My future career is something I prefer not to pigeonhole. On one hand, as students it is understood that you have little experience, and most of your value is in your learning ability and your potential. On the other hand even early on, it seems you are picked based on the work you have done before, primarily in the form of tech stack familiarity. In that sense all my experience has been full-stack, web-based so far. And I don’t want to pigeonhole myself as a web-developer but that seems to be where it’s going. I wouldn’t be against working on embedded software, or “smart” technology, infrastructure, or other fields, however, because I’m mostly looking to cast a broad net in my experiences at this stage in my career. Time will tell!