What Got Me Started In Software

Everyone who is working toward a career in technology has an origin story about how they came to this endeavor. All of those stories must be interesting because they’re all about a path — an important path, in the scheme of things.

I’ll tell you about how I ended up studying for a tech job. Maybe your path has some similarities. If you reflect on your path so far, you may find some new inspiration for your future path.

My Tech Path

I took a programming class in high school, but didn’t begin actively seeking coding training until late adulthood.

I kinda wish I had pursued tech and software a long time ago. As a youth, I think I showed some aptitude for it and it interested me. Later, in a career in the stodgy banking industry, I had an interest in technological solutions to workday challenges. I wonder — what would things be like now for me if I had gone into coding at a young age.

On the one hand, we didn’t really have an internet when I was young. Home connections were still dial-up even after I graduated from college. Learning tech must have been much harder then than it is now, what with no search engines or Stack Exchange, etcetera.

On the other hand, If I had started young, I would potentially be a very experienced veteran software engineer by now. Oh well, I’m currently excited for the path ahead, so that’s a win.

I Took A Class

In High School, I took an Intro To Computing class. I think it was the only computer class they had. The language used was Basic. I enjoyed it and I really got deep into the final project.

I spent lots of extra time making several extra features for my project that weren’t required. I made a music theory teaching program that played two musical notes and asked the student to identify the interval. It displayed the notes on a music staff on the screen as it played the notes. I also figured out how to make some cool sound effects as the animated notes flew onto the screen. All of this was way beyond any functionality that was required of the final assignment. I ran out of time though and had to turn it in without testing it much. It had worked for me at home, but apparently when the teacher tried it at school, the program didn’t boot up, or compile or whatever.

Because of that, I automatically got a D or an F on the final project. I really think that if the teacher had looked into the code. He would have been shocked at the richness of the features. Even though I didn’t get a good grade, I was confident that I had done some cool stuff with my project.

Later in life…

Later in life, I was working in a banking career as a Commercial Loan Underwriter. Generally, I found the work a little dry but, unlike a lot of my colleagues, I was enthused about Excel and using Excel to automate monotonous tasks. This interest in automation — and the early life experience of coding a little in Basic — made programming seem like a good discipline for me, if I should ever switch careers.

Then, my fiancée, Beth, made a switch of her own. While working as a laboratory scientist in a Virology lab, She enrolled in the OSU Post-bacc CS program, got her CS degree, and began her coding career. She liked it, and I had an example right there in front of me, of a successful career transition to software development.

Meanwhile, I took a job at a new bank and the work environment was confusing and ill-suited to my experience. It didn’t work out, so you can probably guess my next move.

I Made The Change

With my fiancée’s path for inspiration, I Enrolled in the OSU Post-bacc CS program and I will complete it this term. If you have a job in software — or have one lined-up — congratulations! I don’t yet, but I’m excited to continue learning and to make a career in software development. I’m proud of us all — Beth, myself, and you for making the choices that we did. Our paths have been different, but we have something big in common — our desire to learn and grow and produce good technology.

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