Today marks my third wedding anniversary.
This time of year, in recent history at least, has been important for more reasons than the one I just mentioned. My son, our first child, was born a month before our first wedding anniversary. A few months later I was laid off of work.
I spent a lot of time back then contemplating returning to school and studying computer science. It abruptly became a necessity. The career progress I had made over the prior two years went from a rapid river to a slowed stream, and a dried-up bed in a matter of months.
I was back at square one.
I spent years in restaurants, working my way up into management positions where I was fortunate to be mentored by many great leaders. Everything I learned about leadership came from those people.
When my wife and I moved to New York City, I sought out new opportunities. I ended up in electronics manufacturing making accessories for bass guitars. We were a well-known and respected boutique shop. Our equipment looked good and as far as I knew, not being a musician myself, sounded good.
Though my time there didn’t lead to a career elsewhere like I imagined it would, I appreciated it. I enjoyed working alongside our engineers and wished I was doing their work more than I was mine. Returning to school to be an electrical engineer didn’t seem realistic, however.
With a push from my brother who was applying to master’s programs to study computer science, I reflected on when I was in high school and I was learning programming as a hobby. I wasn’t very good but it was something I enjoyed. It also was similar enough to the problem-solving and creating that I was daydreaming about.
So while I was just contemplating about returning to school and studying computer science, being laid off forced my hand. I had researched some programs beforehand. Oregon State University offered a post-bacc program that seemed like a great fit for me.
I immediately signed up for a Udemy course in Python. If I was going to apply and enroll in school again, I wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting myself into. I wanted to make sure I would enjoy it.
I loved it.
Now, here I am two years later. I’m about to begin working on my capstone project. It’s the last course that I have before I graduate. This wouldn’t be possible without the support of my wife. I owe her a great deal and attribute most of my success to her. I know that she is excited for this chapter to almost be over.
As I reflect back over the last two years, I think about them fondly. I’ve non-stop been learning about something that I’ve grown to love and excel at. The future looks bright.
For those of you that are aspiring or current software engineers, you know that now is also a heavy recruitment period in the industry. I’ve been fortunate to go to OSU. The knowledgeable community of current students and alumni has been paramount in preparing for this moment.
So as I look forward to completing this capstone, I hope to create something I am proud of. I hope to refine the skills I have, and I hope to learn many more along the way. And as I continue my job hunt, I hope to learn from my mistakes and relish in many successes but know that I will cherish even just one.