The “Why” For a New Direction

I’ve posted a lot of status updates on my blog, but haven’t really gone into the “why” of my recent decision to become a software developer. I can’t really get into that without also talking about my coding history.

My earliest exposure to coding came in 2000~2001 when I was playing around with Geocities. At the time, CSS didn’t have wide adoption & was pretty buggy, and javascript was about 5 years away from seeing any kind of traction. It was all HTML, which was created for academics to share essays & research papers, so the pages I created weren’t really worth showing to anybody.

Fast-forward to 2013, I’m back in school for Electronics & Computer Technology (Associates level of Electrical Engineering). I was re-introduced to Linux, which ended up being the impetus for my foray into software development. Linux’s growth curve had reached a level that made in much more approachable for the average user, and starting with Ubuntu 14.04, Linux became my daily driver. At that point, my computer turned from this difficult-to-maintain black box that I was allowed to use because I paid Microsoft, to a set of microprocessors that I had total control over.

Towards the end of my associates program, I was introduced to Python as a way to abstract away the complex equations I utilized to understand what was happening at certain points in a circuit board. I also realized that I was groking the software aspect much more than hardware. A side benefit was making a mistake in software cost a LOT less than making a mistake in hardware (both in terms of money & time).

From there, I dipped in & out of learning about Python. I even setup a little CLI application that parsed CSV files & created a graph as a png file. There were many potholes & hangups along the way, but when I finally got it to work, I jumped out of my chair. That was my first indication that I was onto something.

Coding definitely tickles both sides of my brain in ways I never thought possible. When I was hacking away in Geocities, I had no end-goal in mind, I was doing it for the same reason I splashed in the bathtub. I definitely feel that I’m pulling from the same energy that motivated me to try out HTML, only I now have 18 years of life experience to bring some context into it. My overall goal is to be self-employed and have more granular control over when & how I choose to work. I’ve been laid-off enough times to know that being an employee at is not the “safe route” that other people insist upon.

To me, being a software developer means having more sovereignty over the direction of my life, who I work with, and what I choose to work on.

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